Note: Japanese subcultures can be considered vintage, since many of them are inspired by the past. They have distinguishing features from the 1960’s all the way up to the 1990’s. The American Art Culture plays a big part in Japanese subculture fashion till this day.
Considered the rarest amongst Japanese fashion subcultures. This look requires the wearer to apply heavy dark brown makeup to the face, which has also already been tanned along with the entire body. The wearer must then apply white makeup around the eyes and long lashes; some Yamanba actually paint theirs on. The hair is big bright and colorful with large flowers or bows. As for lipstick, any color will do, as long as it’s neon and bold. The overall outfits have to be bright and the shoes are usually boots or platforms. Accessories are also bright and layered on heavily. There are men who dress in this style too.
This Japanese subculture is inspired by the “greasers” of the 1950’s. Black leather, sunglasses, and fingerless gloves are the go to for this look, also denim can be worn. The go to shoes are usually boots, but converse tennis shoes are a fine substitute. The hairstyles are also 1950’s inspired. The makeup look is sexy cat eyeliner with red lips and matte foundation. This subculture is frequently mistaken for biker gangs, but if you look closer, you’ll see a major difference. The Rockabilly look is more “costume-ish” as if they were re-enacting scenes from the movie Grease.
Considered the most “cutesy” of all the looks (aside from Lolita), Fairy Kei is style inspired by the 1980’s kid cartoons. Clothing with Care Bears, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Teddy Bears, kittens, bunnies, and anything else you can think of is the go-to for this look. Light colored denim fabric is popular with this subculture, and so is polka-dots. There is no particular style for shoes, just as long as they’re cute. Makeup looks are simplistic, and choice colors are pastels. Hair for this subculture is usually in pigtails, curls, flipped bobs, or pink colored wigs. Some people who dress Fairy Kei even carry around Care Bear stuffed animals or 80’s cartoon plushies. Pins and buttons with hearts and star shapes are popular with this trend too.
The darker the better; that’s what the Angura Kei Japanese fashion subculture is all about. It’s considered the more “creepier” looks of the Kei fashion family. It incorporates spikes, latch pins, patent leather, chains, and buckles. The shoes for this look can be heels, platforms, or anything patent leather. The hair is Emo inspired with dark or white color tones. Makeup is heavily applied, and in dark tones. Some Angura Kei enthusiast will wear white makeup, and fake scars, but that’s in extreme cases. Usually this fashion subculture looks similar to Gothic Punk, which was popular in the U.S. in the 1980’s.
This style can be easily characterized with tan-skinned girls wearing heavy make ups, dyed hair or wigs, high cut boots, bright neon clothes and doll eye’s contact lenses. Gyaru is a term transliterated for the English word “Gal’’. During the early years of this style trending, there were ‘shiro gyaru’ or white gyaru flooding the streets of Tokyo but recently tanned gyaru became more popular. Gyaru-kei is also associated with sexy clothes and while Harajuku gyaru are considered more “kawaii” with the girls wearing pastel colours complete with colourful hair accessories, eyeliner and coloured doll eye contact lenses the Shibuya gyaru are often seen with extravagant curly blonde dyed hair, super tanned skin and almost face-paint like makeup.
This style is also known as OL or Office Lady kei. Oneegyaru-kei has this concept of a girl who already graduated from high school and thus has become more matured. The concept of the “Onee-san” or big sister is the foundation of this style and it is considered the more sophisticated and classy version of Gyaru-kei. These are just some of the styles people wearing in Japan. Sub-genres vary depending on the target demographic of a certain market. The Japanese fashion style is fast changing and very widely varied. As much as anyone would want to keep a style for a certain season, the trend changes almost every month, pushing everyone’s creativity to the max!