The Quirky yet Lovable Fashion Trends the Japanese People Love

All about Japanese Fashion Trends

Japan is home to a multitude of unique and quirky fashion trends that is sure to turn some heads in the streets. From their traditional clothing of kimonos, Japan modernized into one of the largest fashion capital in the world. They cater to the needs of millions of men and women in different parts of the globe, providing clothing and other fashion items.

What is great about the Japanese is that they all love and patronize local fashion lines over international brands. Simple, ordinary people can become trendsetters. The craziest thing about it is that fashion trends change fast locally. This has provided an opportunity for a number of aspiring designers to start building their image.

This has also provided a steady foundation to many well-known names in the fashion industry not only locally but also abroad. In fact, many fashion lines of Japanese origin have made its name in the international market. Their rate of popularity has seen growth through the years and there are forecasts that show Japan’s fashion trends to peak in the coming years. There are also a number of Japanese fashion designers which are well-known go-to brands and lines of Hollywood superstars. A tradition infused style is one of the favorites.


Over the decades billion of women, not just in Japan, are affected and influenced by the Japanese fashion trends. The local consumer market has seen some growth in the rates of expenditure in fashion items and there are forecasts that Japanese brands are to see billions in profit.

Fashion is a big part of many locals’ everyday lives to the point that a number of Tokyo locals quietly compete in the everyday fashion battles in the streets. A concept called “Street Fashion”, locals go out of their homes looking their utmost best every day. Many tourists and locals enjoy the fashion runway on top of asphalt and concrete in Tokyo, especially Hstreet, Harajuku, and Shibuya.

In fact, many designers get their ideas from local street fashion. Take out your calendars and mark out the Japanese fashion week and you will surely see a variety of streetwear influences in modern designs.

State-of-the-art Fashion Trends in Japan

Fashion for the Japanese does not just involve styles and trends in clothing, they are subcultures for which individuals live by and for. Fashion in the country is not only about clothing, but also about the Japanese fashionista’s way of life. No matter the price, some people are known to incorporate fashion into their everyday lives.

Fashion is intertwined in their everyday things like their furniture, utensils, cars and much more. Some of these trends include slimming gadgets, new gadgets, beauty products and even makeup styles. This gives them an opportunity to become fashionable in every aspect of their life. Here are some of the popular fashion trends that have become a “way of life” for many, especially the younger generation.

Traditional Clothing Trend

Although no one wears traditional clothing on a daily basis in the modern times, this trend is still one of the most powerful in the entire country. Influences of tradition are still evident in many important events such as weddings, funerals, and holidays. With Japan as one of the most traditional cultures in the world, it is without a doubt that traditional clothing is still very influential in all aspects.

There is more than one kind of traditional clothing in the Country. For instance, kimono is a formal wear that can be used for important events such as weddings and funerals. One complete set of kimono can be quite expensive especially since most of these are made of silk, with extravagant ornate sashes and bows known as the Obi. Kimonos can come in a variety of design and color and a variety of layers can be used during the cold fall and winter seasons.

Another kind of traditional clothing in Japan is the Yukata. Although it is quite similar to a Kimono, Yukatas are made from lighter fabric and are much less expensive when it comes to price. They are usually worn during festivals, birthdays, viewing events. Although wearing a Yukata gives a similar feel to a kimono, they are much less formal.

To add to clothing, there are also traditional accessories that are worn in important events. For instance, the Kanzashi are elaborate hair pieces that provide color and design to women’s hair when they wear kimonos. There are also special platforms or sandals which are worn with traditional clothing.

Lolita-Style Fashion

As one of the craziest and most popular styles in Japan, the Lolita fashion has been on the market since the year 1990. It is a popular subculture in Japan which is believed to have Victorian influences. The Lolita fashion is evident in the way that women wear costume-like clothes with petticoats and long socks. Lolita-styled clothes are quite doll-like and are demonstrated by an extravagant amount of lace and bows.

The Lolita fashion is so popular that there are a variety of sub-styles made famous through the decades. There is the Gothic Lolita exemplified by darker colors of black and navy blue. There is the sweet Lolita which is exemplified by lighter and cuter colors like yellow and pink. There is also the punk Lolita, which is often confused with gothic Lolita style.

It is believed to be based on Vladmir Nabakov’s Lolita which tackles very controversial issues on pedophilia. The Lolita trend is very popular with young women and teenagers and the possibility of its perverse origin has led to growing concerns among critics. However, despite its possible origin, it is important to note that the style was made popular without much thought on its representation or societal implications.

Kawaii Boys

When reading blogs and magazines, it is noticeable that more attention is given to female trends than male trends. This is also the reason why the international community is more familiar with the kogals, ganguro, and Lolitas. However, the increasing popularity of k-pop and j-wave has given rise to newer trends for men. One interesting trend whose popularity rate has been increasing in growth is the kawaii boy fashion style.

Dressing up “cutely” is not just a stereotype for women anymore. There are more and more boys that embrace dressing up cutely and are now known as kawaii boys. More than fashion style, kawaii style for boys is a characterization of their personality as well.

They wear lighter colors, light makeup and even outrageous hair colors. However, they must not be confused as cross dressers. Instead, they are leaning towards what is known as the “genderless style”, where they incorporate more feminine styles into their look. These boys are not trying to pass or look like cute girls. Instead, they are dressing up to look more vulnerable and childlike.


Although a number of Japanese designers infuse tradition into their clothing, there are still a specific set of women in Japan that believe that foreign trends are much more fashionable. The Kogal, which directly translates to small girl or woman, is quite a popular subculture in Japan, particularly in Tokyo.

These women are highly modernized and urbanized and portray an image of “a California Valley Girl”. They sport summer clothing and artificially tanned skin. A blonde hair color is also quite trendy for the Kogals. Linguistically, they have also derived their own slang terminologies for certain speech and words.

Their popular hangouts in Tokyo include the Shibuya and Harajuku district where they spend their time and money shopping for the new trends. Many people comment as well that these Kogals usually explicitly display their wealth and income in their lifestyles. They sport skimpy clothing, unique tastes in music and luxurious social lifestyles. They are also known to be the first in line for the latest released gadgets and technology.

Their luxuriousness, however, has invited numerous negative comments and critics. Experts and criticizers believe that many Kogals have a “parasitic” lifestyle where they rely on their parents’ wealth for their material needs. Some are even reported to engage in pornography and what is known as “compensated dating” to financially fuel their lifestyle.


Just like the Lolita and Kogal trend, the Ganguro style started in the year 1990 and has persisted its popularity for decades. Girls that observe the ganguro style feature faces thick with dark makeup that makes it look like they have darkly tanned skin. This is why it is also known as the “black face” trend.

Ganguro girls also have high bleached hair, of orange, blonde or silver. They have thick black eyeliners of both black and white colors. The interesting thing is that they use white concealers as lipsticks and eyeshadow to give a “popping” look for their eyes. This gives contrast to their very dark skin. These girls wear brightly colored clothing made even quirkier by bangles and necklaces of outrageous colors. Sometimes, they also put stickers on their faces to add a kawaii look.

Make-up Trends in Japan

On top of the clothing styles and trends, as well as the accessories and hair, make-up will surely complete any fashionable look. More and more makeup products have started to increase in popularity not only locally but abroad. Although the Japanese are not too big on makeup because of their very simplistic and minimalistic styles, many people in Japan still feature interesting make-up trends in looks. Here are a few of them:

Momoko look

What is interesting about the Momoko look is the unusual method of applying blush to the face. Instead of the normal way of placing it, Momoko style subtly applies it very high on the cheekbone and almost right under the creases of the eyes. This helps in making the eyes get more attention. Furthermore, the Momoko style features pink eyeshadow and very pale pink lipstick.

What is interesting about this look is that it is pretty common in many girls in Japan because of its simplicity and ease in application. It could give the face a very fresh, yet simple, look which is perfect for summer and spring.

Doll Face Look

Just in the same way that many Japanese girls love the Lolita look, it is also very common to see young girls sporting the cute and pretty doll face look. It does not feature any form of contouring, making its application easy and fast. It usually just features a pale or light pink lip that gives an innocent look to the face. The doll face look also features both pastel eyeliners and shimmery eye shadows.

Ganguro and Kogal Look

A woman with bleached blonde hair and deeply tanned skin is common in Japan. They usually feature long, false lashes, whitish lipsticks, and light colored eyeshadows as their everyday look. Although their look is a bit unusual, seeing these girls in Japan, especially Tokyo, are a common sight.

Fashion Items Every Girl Must Have

What many people should remember is that not all girls and boys in Japan have an outrageous and deep desire to satisfy just one quirky trend. There are much simpler styles that are popular in Japan. Sometimes, just a single accessory can turn a simple look into an entirely different style. 

Through the years, there had been numerous trendy items that were made popular to young girls in Japan. This is especially true for young girls who still have to wear a uniform to school. For instance, young girls in Japan go big over ribbons in their hair. This gives them a chance to become outrageously fashionable while staying conservative for school.

Another popular must have in Japan are high socks of varying colors that could be worn with short dresses and skirts especially during the winter time and fall. One other very popular trend in Japan would be denim. Both girls and boys love wearing denim of different kinds – from bags, tops, pants and jackets. This is because of the fact that they never go out of style no matter the season or the decade.

For many young girls, magazines are their fashion bibles. One of the most popular, Vivi, features global fashion trends that could give any young girl that cool, chic, urban style. This magazine features young women wearing fashion-forward clothing that could bring out the confident and sexy prowess they have hidden within. This particular magazine can be compared to popular international brands like Vogue as they provide their readers almost the same kind of information.

For girls who like trendy yet casual outfits, they can flip through the CanCam and Non-no magazines. These are magazines well-loved by young university students as it gives them cool ideas in putting together clothing that could surely wow their peers. These magazines also give out the new, trendy places to hang out. Also, it gives them ideas on what activities they can do to spend their free time.