Japan is known for a lot of things. They have some of the politest people, hard-working people, and delicious cuisine. However, you might not know that Japan also has a vibrant fashion subculture where some trends are weirder than usual. Here are some weird Japanese fashion trends that will make you rethink what you know about Japan. Some are cute, some weird, and some are just straight crazy.
Reminiscing our childhood is something we all have done at some point. The times felt simpler. Everything was easier and fun. We had our toys and playtime with friends. Let us introduce you to a fashion trend that you might think takes that nostalgia factor up a notch.
People try to look like a child or a doll as much as possible. Cute or absolutely weird? You decide. This trend is all about skirts, hoops, and all nine yards. There are even subcultures too, like punk Lolita or even gothic Lolita.
Most people will probably feel quite insecure if they had twisty teeth or teeth that stick out a bit too much – not the Japanese, though. Yaeba is the fashion trend that extends the canine tooth and makes it pointier.
It requires some surgical implants, of course. The dentist will make a ceramic tooth extension to put on top of the canine to make it stick out. You can even choose it to be fixed or removable.
Here is a style that takes an old fashion trend and gives it a modern Japanese twist. The trend started around the 1950s in Japan and is still popular to this day.
Men adorning the fashion trend wear clothes that resemble that of Elvis very closely. The women may be seen wearing poodle skirts. There are a lot of dark shades of clothing and a ton of leather happening in this style.
A little spooky, a little unsettling, and a lot of weird – the Shironuri fashion trend seems to be obsessed with ghost-like looks achieved with heavy pale makeup and clothing.
The clothing style for this trend consists of a lot of flowy fabrics and, more often than not, white hair dye. The name “Shironuri” literally translates to “painted white.” One thing is for sure: the trend definitely stays true to its name.
Put together tons of accessories with very brightly colored clothing – layers and layers of clothing – that do not always seem to go together, and you have the Decora fashion trend.
The style is meant to turn heads and catch the eyes, and we must say that the loud colors and crazy accessories do a very good job of that. The style started during the 1990s, but it was not until the 2000s that it really started catching on.
Cosplay may be a more familiar trend for the western audience. Have a favorite game or manga character? Why not be them? Cosplay has most definitely crept its way into the mainstream culture of America. Cosplayers dress up exactly like their favorite characters.
The outfit is not the end of it, though. It is trying to be the characters. This includes embodying the character’s demeanor, actions, speech, and the way a character moves. All these play a role in cosplaying.
Kigurumi is a well-known Japanese street fashion that is related to costumes featuring cartoon animals. The “Kiru” in its name comes from a Japanese verb that means “to wear” and the latter part comes from a noun called “nuigurumi,” which means “stuffed toy.”
Somewhat similar to cosplaying, Kigurumi is, as the name suggests, the trend of dressing up as cartoon characters. If you ever wanted to dress up as your favorite cartoon character and do it without getting any looks, Japan is the place to do it.
Here is another weird Japanese fashion trend that is sure to make you think about what is going on over there. The Kogal fashion trend has girls in Japan dress up as schoolgirls with school outfits and short skirts. Rolled socks are also worn and, sometimes, the girls dye their hair too.
The districts of Tokyo, such as Shibuya and Harajuku, are considered the center for Kogal culture in Japan. You are sure to find some girls embracing the Kogal trend in those parts of the country.
Some fantasy stories romanticize the forest and portray it as home to mystical creatures, which only a few lucky ones get to encounter. If you ever find yourself in Japan, you might not meet any actual mystical girl in the forest, but you might encounter the Mori Kei fashion trend.
A Mori Kei girl is meant to look like a forest girl – one who lives off the Earth. It includes clothes with natural fibers and many layers of clothing. Sometimes ruffled hemlines also make an appearance.
Visual Kei can be described in two words: loud and colorful. This style has gotten really popular with Japanese musicians. Some hallmarks of this trend include very over-the-top makeup, crazy hairdos (although we quite like some), and very playful costumes.
Some Visual Kei bands include Bis (a Japanese rock band), Guruguru Eigakan, and more. The style has actually gotten very popular amongst many genres of music from heavy metal to electronica.
Otaku can be described as the Japanese version of a nerd or geek. The Otaku fashion trend is embraced by people who are huge fans of a particular anime or manga. Most Otakus are something considered as the opposite of fashionable.
However, over recent years, many brands have been offering clothing to help embrace the trend fully. You can love a particular anime and be able to express in its full galore with Otaku.
Some like to read about history while others like to relive it. That is the weird Japanese fashion trend that is Reki-jo. A Reki-jo refers to a girl who loves Japanese history – traditional Japanese history, to be precise.
They would visit historic sites, familiarize themselves with historical texts, and just generally be really deep into Japanese history. The trend actually was considered as a type of Otaku. Over the years, it has grown to be its own thing.
Old school cuteness for the modern world – this fashion trend from Japan is called Fairy Kei. It has little to do with fairies and a lot to do with cutesy clothes and fashion trends from the 1980s.
People who dress according to the Fairy Kei trend may take inspiration from cute cartoon characters from My Little Pony or The Care Bears. For what it’s worth, some Fairy Kei looks are hard not to go ‘aww’ at.
Me No Shita Chiiku/Byojaku
While most girls will apply eye makeup on the upper eyelids, the Me No Shita Chiiku/Byojaku trend does the opposite. The idea of the trend is wearing eye makeup under the eyes to give them a somewhat tired or sickly look.
Think of a damsel in distress, but more Japan! The makeup or fashion trend is meant to make a girl look vulnerable and in need of help. So, if you see someone with flushed eyes in Japan, you don’t need to worry about rushing to her assistance.
The Gyaru trend peaked during the early 2000s in Japan. The style, as some see it, is all about an exaggerated version of the American Party Girl. The name of the fashion trend is the Japanese transliteration for girl or gal.
You can spot Gyaru trend enthusiasts having tanned skins, long hair, large eyelashes, and very boisterous makeup. It is also meant to challenge the traditional beauty ideals in Japan.
Gyar-oh or Gyaruo is a complete subculture in and of itself. This fashion trend from Japan is for the super fashionable guys. The dresses are loud and make a statement, and people who embrace the trend are not afraid to show it.
It consists of tanned skins, shades, and, of course, hairsprays. Some styles will also have very flamboyant hairstyles to go with the whole look as well – quite the interesting trend, if we might add.
This trend was started by a single dance group. The name “Takenokozoku” translates to “bamboo shoot tribe.” It has become more than just a fashion trend – it is now an activity too. The group is also responsible for popularizing Harajuku fashion around Japan.
The style’s iconic elements include jumpsuit-like clothing with lots of colors. We have to say, the suits are not the only things that make this style. You also have to have an attitude.
Deep tans seem to be a common element in some of the Japanese fashion trends. The Manba fashion trend is a very eye-catching look that uses a dark skin foundation to achieve the tanned look. The girls who follow the trend also perform a specific dancing routine called the Para Para dancing.
The name of the look comes from Yamanba, a witch from Japanese folklore. While most girls follow the Manba look, boys who take on the look have developed their own unique signature style.
The Nagumo Gal trend isn’t really that popular; it used to be more of a groupie style. Most people consider a Nagumo gal as an annoying fan. It was born in 1983 because of a record label named Nagomu.
The style consisted of a grunge-rock look – kind of like an-emo-meets-a-book-nerd vibe. They preferred long-sleeved tees, knee socks, pants or fluffy skirts, and thick rubber-soled shoes. The trend ultimately died down with the label itself.
Over-the-top trench coats can be a great edgy look if you can pull it off. The trend itself spread out to many countries – we always see the Kardashians and the Hadids strutting down the street with oversized shirts or coats.
Ariana Grande, who is quite popular in Japan, also popularized the style of oversized clothing. Now, chic fashion in Japan means oversized trench coats, whether it’s denim blue, crème, or vibrant red – pair it with your favorite heeled boots, and your look is served.
Agejo is another one of the trickled down sub-cultures from Gyaru trends. Agejo consists of being more glamorous, with silk slip-in dresses and big hairdos. The trend used to include big stone jewelry, a lot of sparkles, and glitters.
In time, however, it adopted a more subdued look. From hot pink and black lace silk dresses, it went to more pastel-colored soft frocks. The style now includes cascades of curls and soft dewy makeup.
Remember the infamous pair of jeans from Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, where the friends added each little memory in the form of tokens drawn or sewn into their jeans? That’s a type of personalized piece. It’s a trend where you use your creativity to make your clothes your own items.
Japanese people cut up big squares, add big dangling pockets, draw their favorite anime character, write song lyrics, and whatnot – it’s all up to you, but the most important thing is, it’s edgy, and it’s cool under your terms.
Silver Statement Looks
The silver statement looks celebrate the ‘90s flair for fashion. The metallic looks can be served as futuristic, nostalgic ‘90s, disco, and street style hip-hop. Silver look ascends the time/season concept, and Japan is all about it.
Many subcultures have incorporated silver into their style, starting with metallic silver to sparkle to monochrome to silver-white, in various forms as well – pants, skirts, oversized coats, statement pieces, camo pants, and, of course, into thick rubber-soled knee-high boots.
Rasuta was also derived from many sub-cultures of Gyaru fashion. You can even call it a sub-culture of a subculture because it’s an addition to the Ganguro world. The Rasuta Gyaru dawns on looks inspired by reggae music. They are fans of Bob Marley and celebrate the colors of the Jamaican flag, which is green-yellow-red.
They also use accessories made of straw, like handbags, and their clothing is mostly hemp material. They sport stylized weaves to match their reggae spirit too.
Shorts Over Sweatpants
Shorts were mostly worn over pants for exercise or sports back in the 1980s, but now it’s nothing compared to how Harajuku flaunts it. It’s dark and chic. Many Harajuku enthusiasts – both men and women – wear it in various styles.
The shorts itself could be of any material – even faux leather – and the size of the shorts also depends on the wearer. It could be short-shorts or half-pants over tight or oversized pants. Most importantly, it’s never tacky
Sleepy Time Chic
This trend of flaunting in your PJs or homewear has been around for some time now. The outfits aren’t similar to regular PJs. Overused pajama bottoms and oversized tees – these items are mostly incorporated in this style.
It can start from colorful PJs made of cotton or silk accessorized with chic uneven bed hair look and makeup, or the drabby side of well-worn home clothes contrasted with over-sized sneakers or designer glittery Skechers, RayBans, and bracelets.
Who doesn’t love a little fluff? Well, the Japanese street fashion took it up a notch. You’ll see many eye-catching colorful poofy accessories gracefully carried by people. They come in various styles and sizes of bags or earrings of different colors.
People sport fluffy headbands, ankle bracelets to wear with their combat boots, or pretty pastel backpacks. In the world of Japanese fashion, you cannot help but be awed by the extent of creativity. This style is popular amongst tween, teens, and adults.
The whole trend of wearing military jumpsuits or any kind of khaki jumpsuit is one of the most versatile trends out there. There are many different kinds of looks that can be birthed from it.
There’s the laid-back look paired with white sneakers or the strong assertive look with combat boots that looks beautifully intimidating. The most amazing thing is, in Japan, they keep on playing with the two extremes and create wonderful fashion statements.
This style also incorporates a brilliant pairing of items because the final outfit can have so many possibilities! It absolutely depends on the wearer, but generally, oversized hoodies are paired with fishnets and sneakers, and then comes the personalized effects.
Many wear ordinary sneakers, a big bright belt with the end just left dangling, and a cross belt across the chest. Another could be a gothic-inspired look with ripped fishnet, sneakers with spikes, black eyeshadow, and an oversized black hoodie with big blood-red earrings.
Oneegyaru also is part of a Gyaru trend, a subculture which refers to the “graduated” look, such as Agejo, “Onee” in Japan means “older sister,” so Oneegyaru is a more mature fashion from Agejo. It is a kind of grown-up look that still celebrates the original styles of Agejo or Gyaru.
The clothing is a bit more sensual mixed in with a lot of practical items such as a coat. Lacy high heels are replaced with pumps, lace pumps, or knee-high leather boots.
Oshare Kei fashion has been around for quite a while now. It’s a subset from Visual Kei and started gaining popularity around 2001. “Oshare” means “fashionable.” Since it’s the opposite of Visual Kei, which is the popular trend of rock band themes, Oshare Kei encompasses the pop and synthetic style music.
It’s colorful, bright, loud, and portrays a party vibe. There are major bands who follow the Oshare Kei theme, like B’laive, No Gosan, Vivaush, etc., which leads more fans into Oshare Kei themselves.
This is a bit of an antique musical box doll style. Dolly Kei resembles mystical creatures who have lost their way and ended up in this concrete jungle. The clothes consist of vintage summer frocks – long or short – paired with patterned tights, printed pantyhose, etc.
The clothes are always modest and layered. Many of the Dolly Kei enthusiasts also sport muslin frocks with ruffles and laces, wrapped with shawls to create a vintage look.
Spank is another one of the doll-like fashion trends in Tokyo. The spank fashion, however, is a lot more retro and reminiscent of the ‘80s with tie-dyed tees and bleached jeans. In Tokyo, it’s much more than that, tough.
It transcends the level considerably since spank fashion is much louder and brighter. The colors are not necessarily neon. It includes ranges of pastel colors, sweaters with solid colored pom-poms, fringes, shredded hemps, and so on.
“Angura” translates to “underground.” The style itself derives from the dark underground theaters that produced shows back in the 1930s, which went against societal norms and views. It contrasts traditional Japanese garments, but are worn with emo grunge vibes.
Many anime artists are, in fact, heavily influenced by Angura fashion and art when creating their characters. The garments include kimono, old-school uniforms, or attires blended with gothic hairstyles and makeup.
Pastel goth is one of the most intriguing styles out there. It’s terrifyingly beautiful, but instead of dark colors, it’s all bright pastel – doll-like colors – which makes it all the more intimidating. The pastel goths do not abandon black, though.
They adore adding black accessories with the soft pastels – a combination that plays with patterns, big bows, pink glasses, earrings, and pastel hair. The hair colors may include mint green, lilac, pastel pink, and baby blue – not to mention, silver and purple.
Uchuu Kei fashion mixes both fairytale and futuristic styles. The colors of galaxies are the limit. The look is inspired by a number of concepts but mainly focuses on pixies and aliens – futuristic looks.
There’s a lot of use of silver and purple in many as well as white. A true uchuu kei look may involve a silver crop top, purple latex mini skirt with silver fishnet, and smooth white high-heeled knee-high boots with very thick rubber soles.
A look derived from Mori girls, Natural kei enthusiasts pretend like it’s the 1800s. The trend could be traced back to the 1970s, where the girls celebrate the natural, soft femininity.
It includes modest clothes that represent village girls – single pieces of sleeveless frock worn over full-sleeved ruffled pieces inside and petticoats as well. The shoes are buckled shoes, or sneakers of brown suede or brown leather polish paired with striped socks.
Otome Kei can be seen as a kind of look that is related to Lolita. The style is more refined and looks similar to the fashion of upper-class girls back in the 1940s to 1970s. “Otome” translates to “refined lady.”
It is a look that inspires the innocent, good girl looks with plaid skirts, jackets, white knee-length socks, and black buckled shoes. The hairstyle also adds to the refined look with two mature ponytails.
Cult Party Kei
Cult party kei’s main motif is to create looks that use both ‘80s-‘90s characters and religious influences. The looks mostly play with different shades of white – white laces, white muslins, and light pastels as well as bright red contrasts.
Many create doll-like looks with such hairstyles and then keep adding layers of white-silk robes to give a cult vibe. The shoes also stay in ranges of whites. The overall look could also be characterized as doll-like mourning.
If you love bandages and creepy dolls, you will love Guro Lolita. Guro Lolita specializes in broken doll imagery as well as gothy imagery. The creepiness is celebrated here. The Guro Lolita is a subculture under Lolita that is quite popular among mainstream Lolita girls, but it isn’t really a look for Lolita tea-parties.
The most fascinating thing is, a Lolita girl can go from sunny doll-like cutesy daylight Lolita to a dark and gore Lolita simply by adding some dark makeup and corn-syrup splatters.
In English, kawaii translates to cute, adorable, or loveable. It is the overarching trend of cuteness that transcends so many aspects of Japanese culture, including fashion. Beyond clothing, kawaii culture also appears in Japanese toys, food, entertainment, and everyday mannerisms.
Examples of kawaii culture, or “cuteness culture,” include famous animated characters like Hello Kitty and Pokémon’s Pikachu. The myriad of cutesy subcultures that made this list all owe a debt of gratitude to the Kawaii trend.
“Yami” in Japanese can mean both “sick” and “dark.” The aesthetic consists of a gorey look, with practitioners wearing t-shirts adorned with dark messaging. Think the American equivalent of goth fashion.
While it may seem odd to an outsider, those that are a part of the culture dress this way as a means of supporting other people afflicted with the same type of dark feelings and are seen as an important way of supporting one another’s mental health.
Harajuku can best be described as a sort of fusion, combining fashion trends and blending them together in a fun way. For example, one could take elements of lolita fashion and twist it up with punk rock or street style for a unique look.
The key is to have fun with it. Second-hand clothes are popular, along with older, and completely mismatched looks. With Harajuku, the possibilities for an outfit are literally endless; just make sure to go overboard with the accessories.
Okay, sneaker culture definitely isn’t an exclusive thing in Japan, but the Japanese do have a remarkable interest in extremely high-end streetwear, and are known for their own, Japan-inspired limited editions.
Notably, the trend in Japan and Asia in general tends to have a preference for brighter colors than the American and European markets. A nice pair of Nike’s to let the people in the street know that you’re a serious collector, but this colorway is far less popular in North America than it is in Japan.
Traditional Tabi Socks
Here’s a little 2020 fashion secret – slides with socks will be the new 2020 fall and winter look, taking inspiration from the several months that people all over the world have been homebound in their respective quarantines.
In Japan, the tabi sock is a style that dates back to the 15th century. For someone looking for the socks and slides look without having to ditch their thonged sandals, these are the ones to get!
Japanese Wooden Sandals
Sandal wearers worldwide may not know that the sandals on their own feet were designed after the Japanese zōri. Traditionally accompanied by the tabi sock, the style has stood the test of time, remaining trendy for centuries.
After World War II, sandals became popular in Europe and America as soldiers took home zōri to their home countries. In the old days, the shoes were made from a combination of wood and bamboo, but now can be found in cloth and a variety of other materials.
Penny loafers may not be an exclusively Japanese trend, but the fact is that no matter which country you might see someone rocking a pair, there’s just something weird about them. It takes a certain sense of fashion boldness to pull off the look the right way.
For Japanese girls that are attending college or just into the Kogal fashion trend, owning a pair of pennies is a must-have, (although it should be said that in Japan nobody is putting real pennies in their shoe lapels).
Somebody has to say it, it looks like she’s wearing a huge tee-shirt, with no underwear. While the big tees, no pants look is cool when you’re hanging around the house, we strongly do not recommend wearing this style in public.
As far as fashion is concerned, we believe that an article of clothing should remain as it is. Once different cuts of clothing begin to morph into one another, it just creates a strange look that will be here one day and gone the next.
Japan is definitely on the cutting edge of the streetwear scene. More recently, sellers are having success importing new styles from Russia and from Scandanavia, with Japanese consumers often flocking to buy Cyrillic-lettered t-shirts and hoodies before they sell out.
Stores like Bunker Tokyo even advertise in Russian on their website and Instagram. Japan may be ahead of the curve when it comes to streetwear, but as a general rule of thumb, we strongly advise not wearing any article of clothing that displays writing that you cannot read yourself.
Doggy Dress Up
In Japan, eccentric style isn’t limited to just humans. Kawaii, cosplay, and other Japanese fashions have transcended species, becoming popular amongst canines.
Dressing up pets isn’t an exclusively Japanese thing either, but Japan and other countries in Asia were definitely the first to take pet pampering mainstream. Interestingly, the rest of the Japanese society isn’t always as tolerant. Taking a dog on public transportation in Japan is forbidden, and owning one could lessen your chances of renting a nice apartment.
Sukeban is the style for the strong and independent girl that fears no one. The word “Sukeban” translates to “mean, boss girl.” One look at the trend, and you can immediately tell where it got its name from.
The style took shape and formed its own identity around the 1970s. Of course, the trend is mostly adopted by women. It includes brightly colored hair, clothing modifications (mostly to school uniforms), and a whole lot of attitude.
If we know anything about Japan, they are a polite, respectful, and cultured bunch. Yankii, on the other hand, is meant to challenge that exact notion – so far, it seems to be doing a good job. It is more of a lifestyle choice rather than a specific fashion trend.
Yankii, spelled with “I,” consists of tracksuits, drinking, and extravagant demeanors. The Yankii community is close, and some community members have been a part of it from as early as middle school.
The Bagel Head trend must be one of the weirdest ones on this list. This fashion trend uses a saline solution to swell the forehead. Some even push a finger down in the middle of the swollen forehead to give it a more bagel-y look.
The look lasts for a couple of hours. Surprisingly, this weird fashion trend originated in Canada but has gained massive popularity in parts of Japan.
Kegadoru Bandage Fashion
Apparently being injured and bandaged is attractive? Yep, it is in Japan. “Kegadoru,” which translates to “injured idols,” is among one of the weirdest trends, where girls artistically wrap themselves in bandages and patches.
The fashion appeals to a distinct group of people who likes the idea of injured, vulnerable girls. The color of bandages itself acts as a symbol, ranging from white being virginal grace to black being evil and kinky.
Who said fashion trends could be only for people? Certainly not the Japanese. Dekotora is a crazy trend in Japan that includes revamping trucks with bright and colorful neon to give them a flamboyant look.
Trucks tricked out to embody the Dekotora look are very fun and colorful to look at. You certainly won’t miss one at night. The word “Dekotora” is an abbreviation for ‘decorated truck,’ and we must say that it is quite appropriate.
3 Fashion Brands Taking Over TikTok Have People Obsessed
TikTok has taken over social media. Recently, the fashion aesthetic on the platform has also started to grow. While Instagram is full of all kinds of style influencers, shopping experts, and people who know a bit about looking chic at all times, so is TikTok. If you start to immerse yourself in the social media platform for long enough, you’ll start to find yourself trying a couple of viral clothing brands that have been circulating the platform.
TikTok Fashion Is Getting Bigger
You might be an avid TikTok watcher or someone who enjoys creating videos. Whatever it is, many clothing brands will turn your life into a real-life TikTok feed. Everyone loves mastering a good fashion trend and the social media platform is full of different ones.
From the jeans that every influencer has gone viral for wearing to some viral clothing items that you’re not understanding at the moment even though you love them, the brands on TikTok have it all. Here are 3 fashion brands on TikTok that people are obsessing over.
Telfar is a newer brand that many people recognize as the Black-owned brand that went viral over the summer. Their bags are all the rage. They have limited releases, and they typically sell out moments after releasing. It’s almost as hard as trying to get a Birkin.
If you’re someone that’s into cozy vibes with chic neutral colors, Storets is the place for you to shop. No matter what trend you’re loving, whether it’s sweater vests or loose jeans, there’s a big chance that Storets has it. Many TikTok creators are loving this brand.
3. Princess Polly
Another brand that many TikTokers are obsessed with is Princess Polly. The vibes are just what every fashion-forward girl is looking for. They have faux leather, trendy dresses, and more.