I’ve decided to divide up my report on 2010 J-fashion trends into two parts. The first is a list of my observations while the second focuses on my opinions and own endeavors.
J-fashion experienced many ups and downs this past year. Several alternative brands have either closed their stores in Harajuku or shut down completely. We can bid farewell to Stigmata, Sexy Dynamite London, and Banana Fish. Do not despair though: other alt brands, like h.NAOTO, 6% DokiDoki, and Atelier Pierrot are experiencing increasing popularity in the international realm.
What was left behind in 2009
Acid-wash – Only acid-wash jeans were common, and that was mainly among the oshare kei and gyaru crowds. Both started to leave the bleach in their cabinets later in the year when darker ensembles became popular.
African- and Indian-inspired designs – Although Bohemians still embraced the “ethnic” style, the trendiest individuals looked to other geographical regions for inspiration.
Edgy alternative fashion – I’m talking about goth, punk, and cyber…the styles your mom doesn’t want you wearing. With key labels closing up shop and the whimsical looks of decora and fairy kei staying strong, it suddenly wasn’t so cool to look tough and edgy.
Vests – They didn’t go away completely, but the resurgence of preppy looks made cardigans the outerwear of choice for girls and guys.
What carried over into 2010
Black horned-rimmed glasses – While most guys have gone back to contacts, Riisa Naka in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan continued to make black glasses a very cute accessory.
Hats – The popularity of hats expanded beyond just fedoras and bowlers. Now you see straw hats, berets, and newsboy caps. What became less popular though were the miniature top hats that made their way out of Lolita.
Native American-inspired designs – I saw some Native American-esque accessories in Claire’s when I was in Japan in 2009. A year later, it evolved into entire looks, as seen in the Tokyo Girls Collection autumn/winter show.
School girl chic – Thanks to K-On! and Scandal (the real life Houkago Tea Time), girls are hanging onto their blazers, blouses, and plaid skirts. As I mentioned before, cardigans also became hip.
from Kera, Dec. 2010
What sprouted up in 2010
Card print – Whether it was Alice in Wonderland-inspired, based on Tarot cards, or hearts and spades, almost every Lolita brand had a card print.
Atelier Pierrot’s Playing Cards Frill jumper skirt reveals another Lolita trend, navy blue.
Dolly Kei – Dolly Kei is a new subculture related to Mori Girl and Lolita that has taken off. The key word is antique, and major components include vintage clothing, layers, and floral prints. Fashion photographer/blogger Valerie Fujita provides an excellent explanation of the Dolly Kei aesthetic.
Hair bows, head scarves, and headbands – If you were a Lolita or cute Shibuya gal, you had a giant hair bow. There was the headscarf for a more mature look and the headband for hippie and Native American styles. Finally, if you were daring, you followed hair magazine instructions on how to make your own hair into a bow like Lady Gaga.
Riisa Naka’s character in Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo wore a lot of hair accessories.
Military – Interestingly it was the trendy Shibuya gals who embraced olive green and camo. Of course, they would feminize the style by pairing it with a cute top or dress.
Nordic fashion – Another hot look from Tokyo Girls Collection was Nordic print combined with furry boots (or leg warmers). Knits and fur were big at the end of 2010.
Yama Girl – Leave it to Japan to make hiking and mountain climbing stylish. Being eco-friendly is very trendy now so it makes sense that girls are embracing the outdoors. The colorful mountain gear is both cute and stylish.
2010 seemed to be more about women’s fashion, as male celebrities toned down their looks to simple suits or casual outfits and regular dudes kept mostly the same style. Fashion inspiration came from both Japan and abroad, as Lady Gaga and actress Riisa Naka were among the biggest icons of the year. The former dared women to show more skin or experiment by slashing leggings or using an American flag design. Naka, who released a Gaga-esque video for a movie, helped perpetuate the popularity of the nerdy school girl look and showed off the latest trendy accessories when she played a Shibuya gal. What Naka and Lady Gaga have in common is their versatility, which is key to staying ahead of the ever-changing trends.
Listening to: “Namida ~Kokoro Abaite~” by Zebra Queen