Since Shoichi Aoki's "Fruits" hit mainstream bookshelves in 2001, the exciting hotchpotch of Japanese fashion subcultures has inspired everyone from toddlers to professionals. The JET (Japanese English Teacher) scheme has given a lucky few firsthand experience of the crazy mishmash that is the Japanese clothing and accessory market (so envied by their peers upon returning home with a container full of authentic Harajuku-wear!)
Japanese fashion is all about transient statements. A fifteen-year-old girl who opts for "Futuristic Maid" this weekend isn't tied down by her fashion statement. Next weekend it could be "Old Skool Punk", the one after perhaps "Urban Gangsta" The point as far as Japanese kids are concerned is simple. In a country famed for its stringent social norms, generational expectations and strict career aspirations, the teenage to university years are a valuable time during which to let loose, experiment and go for fashion gold 100%!
One valuable lesson those outside the relatively inaccessible Japanese street fashion market can take away is to add a little colour to your day.
A stealthy way to introduce a little luminosity into a daily wardrobe is to accessorise. A little research turned up Nixon watches as one of the brightest, most stylish, and well-made subtle accessories available outside Japan. Cheap Nixon watches are easily sourced online and range from around the £60 mark. Nixon watches digital styles are extraordinarily reminiscent of the ultramodern anime-trends that permanently weave themselves into Japan's subcultural layers.
Local markets can be fantastic for picking up a few cheap luminous/cartoonish accessory finds, particularly snug winter gloves, scarves and ear-muffs (an absolute Japanese fashion-love) The Japanese look can be hard to pin down 100%, especially for a cultural outsider. Think more along the lines of introducing a few BRIGHT key pieces and accessories into everyday wear and channel that inner Harajuku-kid workably for winter!