Monday, 13 August 2012

Ten or "Kawaii, ne"

One of my favourite subjects to bore people with is the time I spent living and working in Japan.  I was there for three years during the ‘Noughties’ and of course absolutely LOVED it… I wouldn’t have stayed that long, otherwise!  Before I went I thought my time would be well spent researching my constant quest of fashion for short people, where better than going to the source?!  However, it didn’t quite go that way.  Yes, I am indeed the same height as your average Japanese woman, however I had failed to realize that my body shape would be completely at odds with what would be the norm over there… also the regular fashions in the shops just didn’t do it for me – the conservative styles and pastel colour palettes of that time completely jarred with my personal indie-girl (then) style of skinny jeans / retro T-shirts / Converse.

Now a LOT of people have analysed Japanese fashion and culture far better and more in depth than me (as well as a lot more recently!).  However, my main observation at the time were lots of different ‘tribes’:

  • the school girls in their crazily-short skirts and white leg warmers; 
  • the office ladies in their black or navy ultra-conservative suits; 
  • the surfer girls with their bleached blonde hair, fake tan and reverse-panda painted-on white circles round the eyes; 
  • the Victorian-style goths in black or pink frills and lace; 
  • the Manga girls... amongst others. 

Despite the wildly varying sartorial offerings, all these girls seemed to be united in the overriding common theme of Japanese style - KAWAII!!  (That's 'cute' if you didn't already know... by this I mean cute like a kitten, not cute like American for 'attractive').  'Cute' I can work with, it's one of my Japanese hangovers.  Now I LOVE cute... show me an outfit that looks like it belongs on a 5-year old and I'll be wearing it!

Take this outfit below, for instance.  This Primark shirt has My Little Ponies on it, surely it was made for me.

Shirt: Primark (Size 8)
Skirt: American Apparel (Size XS)
Ankle Socks: Topshop
Boots: Primark (Size 4)

Necklace: Topshop

In case you're interested, I've found a couple of examples of the fashion 'tribes' I was talking about..

Manga Mania

Victorian Goth... that's what I call this look, anyways


  1. I think I saw a semi-victorian goth today in soho.

  2. The Victorian Goth is called Lolita! It's a huge thing. Authentic high-end Lolita brands are pretty expensive, like high-end ready-to-wear designers. There are also lots of subgenres. The one in your picture is Sweet. But if she were in all black she'd be Gothic. There's also Punk Lolita which is heavily influenced by your fellow Brit, Vivienne Westwood! And I know because I'm Lolita myself — not full-on like the picture, but I take elements of it and mix it up with other stuff (and even mix up Lolita genres, a big no-no among purists) to come up with my own take. Like you and your kawaii-office lady hybrid look with the ponies shirt! Cuuuuuuute!


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