Kawaii. Everyone of us has already heard this word at least once in our life! Cute, adorable, sweet, girly… many translations as many ways to use it.
This “too cute” part of the Tokyo fashion is a strong image coming from Japan. As the kimono, the school uniforms, or the loose socks, we can’t ignore the wicked style of those Harajuku girls! True, they are cute. On my first visit to Tokyo as a tourist, I met all the gothic lolitas, pinky punkies and so on in the streets of Harajuku. And I was fascinated by this “too cute” style that we always consider as a costume. But here is the truth, IT IS a costume. Even for the Japanese. The real Tokyo style is very far from that in every street of Tokyo, and a lot richer in variety.
The question is then, what makes Japanese fashion so special ?
I’m afraid the answer is not that simple. Many factors make Japanese society so unique. Japanese fashion is like a tightrope walker, always under tension between two extremes.
The kawaii part of the Japanese society is, for me, one of the main points that make the fashion so special here. It is like being cute is actually the best way to be. More than being beautiful, pretty and even being sexy. For any kind of girl, in any kind of style and also for any kind of age, kawaii is the way to be.
In Europe the most important thing is of course to be pretty and recently, I could even say, sexy. But in Japan the sexy outfits of the shibuya girls wearing mini shorts, garters and very high heels, still are punctuated with some cute accessories and attitudes.
When you stay in Japan for long, you can’t ignore this fact as you can’t fight against it. You anyway become cute! Why? Because the magazines, the shops and the advertisements repeat this message to you again and again. And God knows how advertisement is everywhere in Japan…
So of course some girls, as a resistance, will fight against this kawaii wave and create some new trends. But that is another chapter in a different story.