You can read Part 1 here.
Before I get into my thoughts on this past year’s trends in J-fashion, I would like to mention how Japan and America are influencing each other more and more each year. Lady Gaga and Lil’ Mama have worn Angelic Pretty while Hayley Williams of Paramore has been spotted in Bodyline. Japanese brands are trying to make themselves more available by selling merchandise at anime cons and putting on overseas fashion shows. American stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Forever 21 have already experienced success in Japan, and we’re seeing our fashion icons in their magazines a lot more (there was even a Gossip Girl-inspired editorial a couple years back).
It seems like Japan is having to play catch-up, but Lolita and gyaru have had supporters in the U.S. for a while. Not to mention the mainstream exposure provided by Gwen Stefani (good or bad, it put Harajuku on the map). Although this may be coincidence, the military-inspired look was popular both in the U.S. and in Japan. Are the two aesthetics converging? I never thought it would happen, but maybe that’s what you get after you start influencing one another long enough.
Anyway, that was just something to think about. Another thing to think about are the J-fashion trends of 2010 – should they stay or should they go? Here’s my two cents.
What should stay
Card print – Anything channeling Alice in Wonderland works for Lolita, and now it can ride on the mainstream popularity of the Tim Burton film. This print offers some versatility, as it can be tailored for both whimsical and more mature looks. Also, Alice and the Pirates deserves some props for not following the crowd completely and using Tarot cards as inspiration.
Dolly Kei – Even though Dolly Kei is its own subculture, I like to think of it as an alternative for Lolis that don’t want to freeze in winter. I appreciate the thinking that it’s okay if your clothes are faded or torn as long as they fit the antique aesthetic. Why throw out something just because it’s old?
Military – Not only do I like fatigues and camo, I enjoy the dichotomy of the masculine military garments with more feminine pieces. Hopefully the military inspiration will venture beyond the gyaru scene. (The Dec. 2010 issue of Kera is trying to make this happen.)
What needs to go
Native American-inspired designs – Let’s not commit cultural appropriation. It might be okay if your turquoise jewelry and Navajo prints came from actual Native Americans, but chances are they didn’t get imported to Japan. Designers are taking things too far with the Pocahontas looks.
Nordic fashion – I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this trend because Nordic print makes me think Scandinavia or Aspen. The little knit dresses look like over-sized sweaters and become more ridiculous when paired with the furry leg warmers.
What remains to be determined
Hair bows, head scarves, and headbands – I like headwear. However, it seems like the bows are getting bigger and the patterns bolder, which is fine IF you know how to pull it off. The problem is that many don’t.
School girl chic – While I love blazers and plaid skirts, there comes a point where you can’t pretend you’re a high school girl anymore (thankfully we Asians can milk this for several years). Also, I find that this is promoting drab looks. We’re stuck with uniforms and dress codes on the weekdays; why not experiment with other looks on the weekends?
Yama Girl – When I’m doing outdoorsy stuff, the last thing I’m thinking about is how I look. More power to those who combine fashion and function. I spotted some hiking stilettos, and I am now wary of where this trend will go.
Hibari-sensei’s Style in 2010
Biggest hot mess – I did this weird experiment with steampunk, Lolita, and goth pieces one night. It truly was a hot mess. There was no blending, and it didn’t help that I had thrown on my vinyl jacket over it because of the cold weather. Thankfully there were no pictures.
Best outfit – Military punk Lolita v.2
Now I hate repeating outfits, but who was wearing military-inspired items before the style took off? Yep, me. It looked so much better with the adjustments—more poofy skirt and less gaudy stockings, plus camouflage-inspired make-up—and I even won the Crow Collection Next Top Model contest with it (though that probably had more to do with getting all my friends to vote).
Most influential style – steampunk
The second half of 2010 saw me getting heavily into steampunk because I had found a community. Steampunk was the perfect way for me to combine my literary and scientific interests with fashion. Being rooted in the Victorian Era, I managed to utilize several Lolita, goth, and ouji pieces for steampunk outfits. I’m not giving up J-fashion any time soon though, and it’s not like steampunk doesn’t exist in Japan.
What was your personal style like in 2010?
Listening to: “Dearest” by Ayumi Hamasaki