Manual Fashioning Japanese Subcultures

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For readers in search of a basic guide to the dizzying spectrum of charming Tokyo styles, this overview will serve well. Readers unfamiliar with Japan will also benefit by having such an accessible guide to these splendid female-oriented fashion cultures.

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The wild, cartoonish street styles born in the Harajuku district in Tokyo marked a revolution in Japanese style. Lindsay Baker finds out if this spirit has been tamed.

Article excerpt

View image of Credit: Shoichi Aoki. The city has long been known for its expressive and cartoonish styles, and its Harajuku district as the gathering place for the most flamboyant and eclectic youth tribes of all. This cradle of sartorial eccentricity, full of fabulously inventive teen subgroups, boomed in the s.

And it was immortalised in monthly print magazine FRUiTS, a bible of innovative, outrageous personal style, created and published by the much-revered Aoki. The magazine was ground-breaking and hugely influential, in both fashion and photography.

The outrageous street-style tribes of Harajuku

Japanese teen tribes in all their style-conscious variety and dizzying complexity could be found in the pages of FRUiTS. From the girly Dolly Kei and Lolita to Gyaru, Decora and Ura-Hara, along with proponents of all things kawaii cute , each tribe came with its own highly specific and inventive dress codes, concepts and rituals. So why did the Harajuku district cease to be an epicentre of street style?

10 WEIRD Fashion Subcultures You Won't Believe Actually Exist

And what does that mean for the state of Japanese youth culture? The term describes a district of streets that are closed to traffic so that pedestrians can enjoy mingling.


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  7. Harajuku was the most famous Hokoten in Tokyo, and its young people were bravely unorthodox in a traditionally conformist society, although each group undoubtedly conformed to its own codes. It seems that when the decision was made to allow traffic into Harajuku, it was the beginning of the end for its street-style mecca status.

    fashioning japanese subcultures

    Harajuku as a gathering place ceased to be, and opportunities for its young and style-conscious inhabitants to mingle, impress and compare dwindled. View image of Credit: Alamy. I like that.


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    Yuniya Kawamura sees it differently.