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You see a group of girls wearing pink, frilly dresses that make them look like living dolls. Then you turn and see a couple walking down the street. They are both dressed in dark wild clothing and they look like they haven t seen the sun in ages. Then you hear a click clack sound come from behind you. You turn around only to a girl so coved in brightly colored accessories and clothing that it makes your eyes hurt. What street are you on? You are on Harajuku Street. Harajuku is a street in Tokyo, Japan where on the week-end teenagers will gather to show off their crazy over the top outfits known as Japanese street fashion Though fashion may seem inconsequential to some, it is a very important part of our culture and the individual. Through fashion we can identify a certain person, place or time period Also through fashion we can learn a lot about a person like their morals, aesthetics and cultural views
In my speech I will discuss the history of Harajuku street and Japanese street fashion, some of the main sub-styles, how Japanese fashion is becoming more popular in America and finally, why these people dress the way they do.
Though modern Japanese street fashion may look odd to us today, it all began at the end of World War II when the Americans were occupying Japan. Harajuku was the site of many U.S. military residences and shops catering to U.S. military and their families The young people in Japan came from all over to see all the unfamiliar western products and culture. Harajuku continued to develop as an area associated with fashion in the summer of 1964 when the Olympics were held in Tokyo near Harajuku. It was around this time that fashion boutiques began opening in the area After the Tokyo Olympics, teenagers started hanging out in Harajuku and quickly became known as harajuku-zoku or harajuku tribe. They began to develop their own unique sense of style which was unlike anything seen before. Soon clothing designers, hairstylists, makeup , and models flocked to Harajuku to be part of the growing fashion industry. The 1960 s was a time of youth empowerment and Japan was no different. Teenagers and young adults started building businesses from scratch and rebelling against the social norms with fashion. This Japanese street fashion movement was helped along by designers, fashion magazines,
For instance Gothic lolita which uses darker colors and motifs. each with their own unique look and history Now i will be discussing some of the main sub-styles One of the most popular styles is Lolita. Lolita unlike most styles has a specific dress code including a petticoat worn under skirts and dresses to give them extra volume. like Australia. a knee length dress or skirt and blouse. knee socks.Japanese street fashion as a whole has evolved in to many sub-styles. visual kei is not only a kind of fashion but also a music as well. usually but not always in dark colors. Many different kinds of clothing can be used as part of the Visual Kei style but the style generally includes flamboyant.photographers and bands. in Japan it is a style that emphasizes cuteness and modesty. Though the term lolita may have bad connotations in the west. Literally meaning visual style. cutesy style. Lolita is a very popular style in Japan and is becoming more popular in other countries too. Visual Kei is a style of music that began in late 70 s and is characterized by flamboyant costumes and make up. very pale skin with dark dramatic makeup and unusually colored and styled hair Often Visual Kei creates an androgynous look and sometimes incorporates cross dressing as part of the style . The lolita style draws heavily on the Victorian and Rococo eras for influence and aims for the look of young Victorian girls or living porcelain dolls. Sweet lolita which is a younger. costumy clothing. France and America The next style I will talk about is visual kei. Visual kei was later adopted by people to wear on the streets as they tried to copy the style of their favorite bands. it is comparable to a gothic version of glam rock This style of visual kei was worn while the musicians preformed and was pioneered by bands like XJapan. Mary Jane shoes and some form of head wear usually an alice bow or hat Lolita itself also has several sub-styles. Punk lolita which mixes and eastern punk style into the silhouette of lolita and Classic lolita which is a more muted and mature style The lolita movement began in the 1970 s and began as a rebellion to girls wearing immodest clothing and evolved into a whole sub-culture with special clothing lines and magazines.
People who dress in cosplay. doctors face masks. But the main emphasis of Decora is really on the accessories. This style may have started when a photographer called Aoki started photographing the coolest most stylish looking kids he could find. cosplay is not only worn on halloween or other special occasions but just everyday.In response. kids started to wearing the most outrageous crazy clothes in order to be photographed by Aoki Soon it turned in a competition to see how many patterns one could wear at once or how many badges could be attached to one jacket. hair accessories. jewelry. The clothes of Decora are usually brightly colored with many busy prints and patterns The Decora style is all about layering and accessories. glasses and pretty much anything else you could think of. Often times cosplayers will be in groups portraying a collection of characters who go together. Also as cosplay becomes more popular in other countries. which can include anything like Plastic toys. called cosplayers. .Visual has becoming popular in Japan and is becoming better known in other parts of the world as well The next style I will discuss is decora. Decora is easily one of the most over the top of the of the Japanese street styles The last style I will discuss is cosplay. The word Decora is a shortened form the english word decoration which is very appropriate as the decora style is defined as having many many accessories. cosplay will often reflect one s culture for instance people who cosplay in America will often cos play as Star Trek characters or Harry Potter characters. Cosplay is a contraction of the English words costume and play. Unlike our costumes in the western world. are actually dressed in elaborate costumes that usually portray anime or manga characters but also sometimes musicians or celebrities These costumes are often very elaborate with pain-staking attention to detail in order to acurately portray ones character.
Due to the advent of the internet these fashions are becoming better accessible to people outside japan. like a subculture.Japanese fashion is not confined to Harajuku but coming into other parts of the world as well. it is refusing to the wear the uniform of society The Third is Identity these strange costumey clothes can portray how a person really is and show what they like and what they think. it is likely that Harajuku fashion will become better known as well. Decora and Cosplay. how Japanese street fashion is becoming more prevalent in America and why these people dress they way they do.S. you are probably wondering Why? Why do these people dress the way they do? There are 3 main reason these people dress they why they do The 1st is escapism. . Also these clothes can identify them with a group of like-minded people who share their ideas. For some people fashion and dressing up can have the same effect as reading a fantasy book or watching a movie. some of the main sub styles like Lolita. Now celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga have incorporated Japanese street fashion into their looks Also versions of Japanese street fashion magazines like the gothic lolita bible are becoming available in english. it is likely to gain a solid fan base in america. Though it may never go mainstream. People rebel against authority figures by dressing in a direct contrast to the normal or appropriate way of dressing. Even Japanese stores like the lolita store. the girls that dress like dolls. even America. People are can be identified by what they wear and it can tell a lot about them. As other aspects of Japanese pop culture become more popular in America. In fact you may have seen Japanese street and not have even known it. Baby the stars shine bright and the japanese punk store Tokyo Rebel have opened in branches in the U. As far back as the 70 s Japanese street fashion has been seen in America. Fashion can provide a great form of rebellion. For some. Now after seeing all of these crazy outfits and the people that wear them. . Fashion can provide an escape from normality of every day life The 2nd is rebellion. for instance David Bowie has worn the clothes of Japanese fashion designers. Throughout my speech I have reviewed the origins of Japanese Street Fashion. Visual Kei. the crazy musicians.
So if you are ever on the street one day and everyone is looks like they just walked out of a comic book or fairy tale you are probably in Harajuku Japan I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse in to a fascinating subculture of a fascinating country Domo Arigato Thank You .