I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese brands, to be honest there is a certain type of person that wears the clothing readily available on the Tokyo high street. The trends in Japan are suffocated with frills and bows so to find something that feels right for my age is sometimes rather challenging. It’s not only the style that I have taken issue with, but it’s extremely hard to find clothing that compliments my body shape. Hence, I tend to go to places I know best, H&M, Zara and Mango, clothing tailored nicely for different body shapes. I guess, you could also throw in the nostalgia; it’s nice to see styles that I’m familiar with.
Though, I shouldn’t put down all the brands, for every Lowry’s Farm there is a SLY.SLY is one of my favorite Tokyo brands, it’s not afraid to be fun, or to get a little inspiration from European and other Asian trends.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking Japanese brands, they have of course established their own reputation, UNIQLO being one of the best known clothing chains outside of Japan. I think that a lot of people living outside Japan would conclude that it has somewhat originality, look at all those girls dressed in lolita-style dresses, the yankis of Kyushu or the gyaru-types in Shibuya. An image that many who arrive in Japan are hoping to take a photo of or at least see.
The truth is the subcultures of Japanese fashion are rare and once you leave the hub of Harajuku, these trends become less en vogue and far less acceptable Most popular fashion is more like a uniform, not that Japanese ladies and men aren’t fashionable, but they are a little scared of stepping out of the box. I used to be into some of the subcultures of Tokyo’s underbelly, I knew more about “Visual Kei” than I did about “Rock ‘n’ Roll”, but these are just fallacies amplified by certain bands and musicians who are not only selling music, but also a brand (Gackt, Pillers Clothing Line).
You come to realise once you’ve lived in Japan for a while part of being “Japanese” means alienating people who try to be (or are) different. The idea of “us” not “me” is still heavily engrained into Japanese society.
Deviant just isn’t Japanese. Unlike, America and Europe where being unique is something to aspire to be; that sentiment is almost the complete opposite here. Same sentiment could also be said about the fashion, though there are subcultures, it’s hard to decide how they differ from one another.
Just a word of warning for those dead set that “Japanese fashion” equals originality; it doesn’t it means –conforming.