Style Deficit Disorder: Harajuku Street Fashion – Tokyo

style

5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Fashion

Style Deficit Disorder: Harajuku Street Fashion – Tokyo

The main difference between Western fashion movements and Japanese fashion movements, as author Tiffany Godoy tells us, is that whereas the West is caught up in political statements or a quest for identity, Japanese style is simply fashion for fashions sake, playing with materials and colors the way an artists plays with paints and canvas. Individual designers create their scenes, complete with music, magazines, models and hot places to be seen, rather than an organic outgrowth of a social movement.

“Style Deficit Disorder” is a serious history lesson and study of Harajuku fashion, from the Post-war transformation of the district and the influence of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the major changes in style brought by each successive decade. All of the major players are introduced, such as Okawa Hitomi and her shop Milk and the fashion band The Plastics whose look inspired Madonna’s early designs. Magazines, such as Cutie, FRUiTS and TUNE are covered in detail, showing how their fashion editors were able to exert their power and change the decorated face of Japanese fashion.

Of course, as a fashion history “Style Deficit Disorder” is an explosion of colorful images, authentic street photographs and composed professional scenes. There are more than enough visuals here to satisfy anyone’s lust for the sometimes-bizarre world of Japanese design, and a designer looking for influence and ideas would find this a valuable tool. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a coffee table flip book. The accompanying text is heavy enough to be used in a college course, and any serious student of fashion should have this book in their library.

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Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook

inferno

Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook

5.0 out of 5 stars Harajuku Girls

I lived in Japan for a long time, and while I got used to many strange things something that never ceased to turn my head was when a tribe of schoolgirls would come walking by dressed in bizarre outfits that looked more like Halloween costumes than actual clothing. I’ll never forget my first encounter with the kigurumin, groups of girls dressed in full-length pajamas of popular characters like Pikachu and Winnie the Pooh. The nice thing is these girls are always happy to pose for pictures with an astounded foreigner, and I took more than a few over the years.

“Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno” is a fashion-guide to some of the more outrageous outfits to come in and out of popularity over the years. I know from personal experience that these are all real styles, worn by guys and gals who put considerable time, energy and money into creating the perfect effect. As is true in most Japanese culture, it is all about fitting in with the group, and making sure that everyone is matching. They might like to stand out, but individualism is the last thing on anyone’s mind, with choreographed dance moves and coordinated colors declaring your membership in each tribe.

The book starts in the 1970’s, with the Sukeban fashion inspired by and inspiring the Pinky Violence genre. These tough and sexy girls were the devils of Japanese streets, managing to be both cute and dangerous at the same time. The trends continue with the Takenoko Zoku in the 80’s, the schoolgirl prostitutes known as Kogals, and the incredible Panda-women that haunted Shibuya, Tokyo and were known as Gonguro. All of these fashions were supported by the infamous Egg Magazine, which laid out the rules and costumes for each group.

After seeing these fashions live and in person, it was cool to get the run down on the styles and attitudes behind them, as well as the history and inspirations. “Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno” is more than just a photo book, and does a great job showing the culture necessary to spawn these complicated fashions. Of course, there are photos as well, as well as fantastic illustrations by Nonaka Kazumi that give greater details on the costumes, the type of guys favored by each tribe, and the era in which they were popular.

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