Tokyo Street Fashion Gets the Blahs


The youngsters aren’t all right. A cocktail of social uncertainties has provoked young people to subculture fashion in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood to reach a beige fever pitch. Observers say Instagram selfies have made avenues of peacocking and unnecessary pursuit. Cyberbullying has made young, impressionable fashion-boppers hesitant to attempt unstable looks. And Olympic construction — where Tokyo-ites are directed a mile underground to exit primary subway stations once in a while — has made Japanese avant-garde ephemera (platform shoes, diaphanous skirts) untenable for pedestrian life.

Said clothier Mikio Sakabe: “Before the Internet, people felt they could be unique. They may be a punk or Lolita and do as they wish. Nowadays, it isn’t easy to be unique. If they want to be themselves, they can’t. Now they should be with the society.”

Tokyo-primarily based style fashion designer Yoshikazu Yamagata, of the logo Writtenafterwards, has noticed the slowdown. “It’s a little bit quiet proper now. TTen years ago, fashion changed into greater energy,” he stated.

Japanese schoolgirls might at one time enjoy the opportunity to exchange out of their uniforms and into individualized, eccentric appearances. No amount of necklaces too immoderate, no hair coloration too strange, and no dress to complete. But the counterculture-willing have now exchanged their colorful, outlandish possibilities for streamlined seems in impartial tones.

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An after-faculty-hours visit to the Laforet Harajuku children’s mall was observed in this more restrained aesthetic — the largest quirk discovered turned into the Christian rock tunes blaring in every store. Mall-goers were largely wearing pared-down clothes that exhibited a globalized sensibility. Their new blend is K-pop-kind vinyl miniskirts, sweat-shirts purporting Brooklyn roots, and white Adidas footwear.

Trendsetters outdoor mainstream excessive school tradition layer silver-tone workwear, wide-legged darkish denim, and tune merch Ts for a dark, reflective temper. Makeup has grown matte and beige with small red thrives, similarly invoking an attitude of restraint.

So why does Tokyo’s recognition as the world capital for youngsters’ street style grasp within the stability? Here, designers, trendsetters, and stylists speak the basics of the metropolis’s newfound demure style and speculate approximately what could come.


Just 12 months ago, the 16-12 months-antique fashion celebrity Mappy favored brightly colored dirndl skirts, velvet attire, and platform heels and might soar on the opportunity to shop. She now moseys through shops with an air of boredom and is based on denim, simple tops, trench coats, and camouflage cargo pants. “I experience, like many more young humans in Tokyo, have grown to be shy with fashion,” she stated, blaming the new simple fashion on social conformity. “Young fashionable human beings now most effective want to put on the same matters as their pals.”

Tokyo Street Fashion Gets the Blahs 1

Yamagata feels this is the result of cyberbullying: “Because of social media, if you wear something genuinely flashy, they kind of attack you, so humans don’t want to be too flashy anymore. People in standard, that’s one of the things we’ve observed. The Internet bullying.”

A current observer carried out by Osaka University deduced that between 20 and 30 percent of Japanese high college students had been sufferers of cyberbullying, at the same time as every other 8 percent admitted to bullying themselves. Those numbers are fast-growing using double-digit percentiles each year, in step with a couple of research.

Said Sakabe: “Before, humans desired to be private and feature man or woman taste. But now, if you stroll in Shibuya or Shinjuku sporting character clothes, you experience ashamed. There is a feel of what’s accurate or wrong style.”


The present mood in Tokyo is glum. City centers, consisting of Shibuya, had been ripped up for renewal. Dozens of cranes loom high within the town skyline — working in harried tandem to construct towers, teach stations, and branch stores in practice for the town’s 2020 Olympics. The Japanese government initiatives that the wearing event will enhance the USA’s economic system utilizing a complete 32.Three trillion yen, or $284 billion, over a decade.

Government-sponsored advertisements bearing the slogan “Mission for 2020” are plastered in stations along the Tokyu Toyoko line. This subway department connects the city’s greater elegant neighborhoods of Naka-Meguro, Daikanyama, Shibuya, and Harajuku. The line’s stations are underneath substantial creation, jarring habitual-willing Tokyoites. Passengers arriving at Shibuya Station — a major transportation hub utilized by 3-million-plus people each day — are directed almost one mile underground to go out, growing many less-than-perfect situations for uncomfortable, boundary-pushing clothes.

Mappy spoke to the development’s effect on young, stylish Tokyo-ites, explaining: “I experience dark when I visit Shibuya because of the construction. It’s no longer Kawaii now; it’s extra dark hues, a ‘cool flavor’ in black and silver. I suppose it’s one of the reasons why [young people] wear dark clothes and pay attention to cool songs. Hip-hop music is becoming popular, and people are extra inspired through the one’s matters.”


Japan’s exported cute fashion Kawaii, as suggested by way of WWD in Tokyo last year, is dwindling from the metropolis’s style lexicon after a long time of impacting it. The cultural phenomenon has inflamed everything from style to meals and cleaning products. But as Kawaii loses its footing, a new movement has not taken place — leaving the town without a perimeter cultural movement to push its fashion forward.

At a Kenzo event in May, the overall performance of the pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu became proof of this shift. The singer — who in 2012 became anointed Kawaii Ambassador of Harajuku by using the Mayor of Shibuya — has been in rebranding mode as of late, “attempting to find her new component,” in step with a source. At the Kenzo event, Kyary wore a streamlined fuchsia dress to perform her Kawaii-technology songs — as if held in a keeping sample among restraint and her previous emblem of hyper-female expression.