In the modern world, fashion primarily moves from east to west, and nowhere can as many strikingly different looks be found as in Tokyo.
If you are looking for a truly unusual way to express yourself, this is the place to find inspiration.
Tokyo Street Fashion
Although the city has been generating occasionally interesting fashion ideas since the mid-20th century, Tokyo street fashion really took off in 1997 with the Fruits movement, popularized by the photo magazine of that name.
It developed when the number of young people experimenting with bright colors and unusual prints reached critical mass and began to influence even those normally shy about how they dressed, having changed perceptions of what was normal.
Since that time, numerous distinct fashion trends have emerged, sometimes influenced by western styles such as Goth or glam rock but also drawing on style elements from computer games and manga.
The passage of time has also seen these styles cease to be worn exclusively in teen subcultures and start to influence fashion for people of all ages, at least outside the boardroom.
Shibuya and Harajuku
The two most influential areas of Tokyo when it comes to fashion are Shibuya and Harajuku.
It is in Harajuku that the influential Laforet fashion mall was founded and Fruits began, and it is still a creative center, with a focus on daring and fun.
Shibuya, by contrast, has made its name by melding modern fashion ideas with traditional items like the kimono and the fan, recreating classic style with a contemporary twist.
Both areas draw on a strong punk influence.
Spice Up Your Style
At present, the hottest look on Tokyo streets is oshare kei.
It begins with bold colors mixed in a way people might not expect, like pink or orange paired with red.
Patterns like stripes, polka dots and plaid are mixed together in multi-layered clothing. Try picking up cupless lingerie and bras for cheap and wearing them underneath a fishnet top with a contrasting crop top over the top.
Pair this with patterned tights and a multi-layered tutu or rara skirt with a wide belt or several narrow ones. Add knee high socks or leg warmers and wear Mary Janes or boots with neon laces. Multiple, colorful bangles and beaded necklaces complete the look.
To complement the street style look, there are several hairstyles available to choose from.
Make it big with lots of crimping, streak it with bright colors and add large bows and ribbons, or go with neat braids with bows at the ends and add a hat.
Make-up should focus on the eyes, with strong eyeliner in black, blue or purple with vivid, shiny eye shadow in multiple colors sweeping all the way up to the brows.
It’s hard to stand out in Tokyo itself because so many people dress in this striking way, but back home, a look like this is guaranteed to make an impression—and make you totally unique.