Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Japanese Fashion Subcultures: What Will You Wear to JapanTown this Year?

Lolita girl (Photo by Mike Watts)

While last year’s JapanTown was home to a plethora of foods and activities, it also presented the public with a glimpse of the vastly different world of Japanese fashion. Unlike the fashion of Western culture, Japanese fashion has developed several new subcultures over the past thirty years.
One of the most popular prevailing fashion subcultures of today is Lolita, a style characterized by Victorian-influenced clothing in the form of knee-length skirts with petticoats, over-the-knee socks, blouses and various other accessories. This distinct style of dress has developed to accommodate different modes of self-expression and is open to various interpretations. Ranging from Sweet Lolita, which focuses on bright colors and child fantasy themes, to the opposite end of the spectrum typified by the dark makeup and clothing of the Gothic Lolita, every individual can find a style suited towards his or her own personality.

Furthermore, Japanese fashion extends to the realm of cosplay. Participants of the cosplay subculture wear different costumes in an effort to represent a popular fictional character (such as from video games, television series or film). In the world of cosplay, cross-dressing is not uncommon and the only limit is your imagination. At last year’s JapanTown, we witnessed these examples of cosplay that both men and women readily took part in:

Because of the elaborate nature of these cosplay and Lolita costumes, full costumes can be quite expensive. Therefore, many individuals use their own ingenuity to create their costumes, adding a level of creativity to their style that allows them to take real pride in their finished work.

This year’s JapanTown Cool Japan festival invites you to express yourselves in a Japanese street fashion contest. Be it Sailor Lolita or Sailor Moon, we want you to come dressed in your most creative outfit. Participants will be voted on by the public. More details to come!