Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Japanese Subcultures and Fashion

I first heard about Japanese Subcultures from my friend about 4 years ago now. Mr Jan was mainly into the goth scene, but so much more than goth was apparent in Nippon. A lot of the Japanese Subcultural fashion was similiar to Goth, but others were true home grown separate subcultures.... and others were somewhere in between.

More recently, I was helping out organise a shoot for goth fashion for a newspaper in Melbourne town, and I noticed how little the Japanese Sub cultures were understood. All the goths (inlcuding me) in the shoot had assumed that one outfit was Goth lolita. And I thought we knew our stuff. It was only later that someone was commenting on the photo and pointed out that it wasn't goth loli at all (it was Sweet Lolita... I think!) Anyways, in terms of me trying to understand the world of the new goth-like Japanese sub cultures, I thought I would jot a few down here.

Goth Lolita

19th century style, cutesy, young dress. Lots of lace. Think victorian childrens dresses/ clothing, with short skirts worn by young girls. Elements as well from the Rococo period, and elements of trad goth. Very unique, a sophisticated look

Visual Kei

Androgogenous dress, glam, glitz, often soft focus photos. Heralded by the band Malice Mizer
Quite sophisticated, very aesthetic. Colourful, and 80's influence.


Seemingly a parody of westerners, white eyeshadow, dark tans, and blonde or light hair, died. Hmmm......

Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) or Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL)

A subset of Goth Loli fashion. I really like this stuff, the sort of thing I could/should wear.
Very stylish, Victorian possibly androgenous. EGAs wear long skirts, tailored and streamlined jackets, as well as tight-fitting long shirts and sleeves. Looks like the period when goth was doing a lot of Victorian, and reminds me of the Viona Lellagems Belgian/German current fascination with elegance and historical influence... possibly related?

The term was coined by Mana (singer from Malice Mizer), and was used to describe his own brand of clothing carried in his store Moi-même-Moitié.