Art & Fashion

The Incredibly Bizarre Street Fashion of Tokyo Shows They’re Lightyears Ahead of Us

When thinking of Tokyo, Japan, it’s hard not to bring to mind the off-beat street style of young, fashion-forward individuals. Tokyo is know for its curious subcultures, and it continues to be one of the fashion capitals of the world alongside cities like New York, London, and Paris. But outsiders continue to be alluded by the unique and quirky trends that are seen on the streets.

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Image: Dazed Digital

That’s why we decided to round up three unusual street styles that have popped up around the city. Stemming from a variety of movements, these progressive individuals aren’t waiting around for us. Check out these out-there looks that make up some of the most forward-thinking fashion in the world.

Harajuku Girl’s

Pushed into the mainstream after Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby era circa 2004, the Harajuku fashion movement was naturally prevalent in Tokyo far before. It’s actually been around since the ’80s and is defined by it’ rainbow color palette, a combination of Japanese and western clothing styles, and multiple layers.

The Incredibly Bizarre Street Fashion of Tokyo Shows Theyre Lightyears Ahead of Us2
Image: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences / Shoichi Aoki

Pictured in 2001, these women have fully committed to their Harajuku looks. And Harajuku is actually a place in Tokyo where it’s suspected this style originated. But the truth is, it’s more than just a fashion statement for some. It’s a concept that stands up to societal norms and the pressure to look like everyone else. If you’re thinking that these individuals dress far too silly, that’s entirely the point. Those who adopt the Harajuku style don’t take themselves too seriously.

Gyaru Guys

Those who prescribe to the Gyaru style are pretty hard to miss on the streets of Tokyo. It’s an exaggeration of stereotypical American highschool style of the nineties and noughties… turned up a few notches! Key features include huge blonde hair, excessively long fake eyelashes, a deep orange tan, a ton of makeup, and “girly” accessories.

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Image: Pinterest / pinupandpunx

This style isn’t only adopted by women, either. The male version of this fashion movement is called Gyaruo and features equally exaggerated “American” embellishments, with more of a focus on the “beach boy” look. After all, the aim is to bring to mind the surfer style but with a touch more glam.

Sweet Lolita’s

The Lolita movement actually has a lot of subgenres within it, but we’re looking particularly at the “Sweet Lolita” style. This entails dressing in light and “feminine” colors and layered, frilly dresses. It takes its inspiration from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and particularly the styles that were worn by aristocratic children.

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Image: Pinterest / catbelle95

Pictured here are well-seasoned “Sweet Lolita’s” Ruruzi, Anqi & Boshen on the street of Harajuku. While these pastel garments would be hard to come by in the states, there’s a well-known shopping center in Tokyo that people flock to for the clothes: Shibuya 109. Having been around since the early noughties, it’s a nostalgia-inducing fashion statement that brings to mind the cute and girly styles of many young girls’ childhoods.