--right on nippon--

     Recently I took a trip with my parents to a book/music store called Media Play.  Now, I don't usually buy American fashion mags but, since I was waiting for my Dad, I figured I might as well look at some of them to kill the boredom.  Then, I picked up this one mag called 'NYLON'.  I flipped thru it and thought some of the stuff was pretty cool till I saw it.  What is this 'it', you ask?  It is an article on Japanese street-fashions.  And what did I do?  Bought the whole mag right away.
     The name of the article was called 'right on nippon'.  It's a rather good, positive review of a lot of the more wild sides of Japanese street fashions.  It covers the gyaru (gals), the 'lolitas' and the kosupure ("costume play").  I enjoyed reading the article.  But, since there's copyrights and all that, I'm only going to show you the part of the article that I found most interesting.

'right on nippon'
(taken from NYLON; August 2000)
Reporter: Fiona Wilson

A Mana cosplayer

     Fashion anthropology is nothing new in Tokyo.  In fact, the Japanese have been classifying and analyzing the country's different tribes, or zoku, for 80 years.  Harajuku has long been the focal point for the Tokyo zoku, and it's currently the scene of the city's strangest sartorial circus.  Every Sunday, groups of young girls sit on the ground outside Harajuku Station in a dazzling array of fantasy dress: angels in gingham pantaloons with furry wings; cyber-geishas in PVC kimonos; alarmingly convincing nurses in near-perfect uniforms; and 17-year-old Miss Havershams hidden beneath nylon ringlets and gothic concoctions of lace and velvet.  The inspiration for most of this kosupure ("costume play") is a gaggle of pretty-boy goth bands.  Yuka, 19, and Kiraiya, 17, both die-hard fans of the inexplicably named "Dir en grey," are in identical garb.  Their faces - perched atop black plastic kimonos laden with plastic ivy - are barely visible beneath thick white makeup and ostrich feather stoles.
     "We come down here every Sunday to meet our friends," explains Kiraiya. "I look completely different from week to week, but I always try to buy my clothes where the band does.  It makes me feel closer to them."  What I took to be a fancy homemade dress set her back $500.  "This is about theater as much as fashion," says Yuka, as a pair of Taiwanese tourists record her posterity. "There's a feeling of camaraderie here.  We don't all follow the same bands, but we love the attention."
     To the uninitiated, the iconography is indecipherable, a jumble of pop-cultural references and misunderstood words borrowed from English.  There's the bizarre-looking chamber-maids, complete with mini-crinis and lace caps.  These girls are known a "Lolitas," although what exactly they have in common with Nabokov's heroine is a mystery.  Midori, a trainee dental nurse and part-time Lolita, is 19 going on eight in her black velvet dress with a prim lace collar.  Put on a pair of Mary Janes instead of her clompy wooden clogs and she could be attending a children's tea party."

Some more images from the article:
(Photos by: Shinichi Ito)

   (upper-left) A gal         (right) A Mana cosplayer


All pictures were scanned by myself, Star-chan.
You take them at all, without asking, and I'll find you.
And, yes, I WILL find you.