International Fashion: The streets of Tokyo

Luke Braidwood 30 January 2014

Fashion in Tokyo is eclectic and ever changing. Breathtakingly, trends spread like a virus through the train stations. There

are so many people that even a non- fashionista like myself can pick up what’s in fashion. Most memorable on my trip was a brief but furious craze for black baseball caps with BOY or GIRL printed in white. Initially, they were worn by the correct sex, but after about a week, and seemingly simultaneously, everyone swapped. They must have all been taking the same train!

There are a number of fairly clear groups that make up the “scene”. Most famous are probably the Lolitas. Gothic and sweet (usually called harajuku girls by Gwen Stefani fans), the Lolitas are adorned with doll like clothing, decorative contact lenses, and giggles. The names sum them up fairly well. Interestingly, this strangely infantilising attire was apparently born out of rebellion against the increasingly mature and sexualised fashions imported from North America. 

Next comes the salaryman look: it is the ubiquitous choice of white-collar workers. Then there are the Bosozuku, who dress like gangsters and ride custom made motorcycles. Cosplayers parade in Yoyogi park on a Sunday. Lest we forget the Florence and the machine-esque Mori Kei, the shortened school uniforms of the kogyaru, and of course, for special occasions, the kimono – no matter your fashion fancy, there is a group for you.

Whatever the trend, Japanese fashion makes a statement. Just hop on a train to see for yourself.