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TOKYO STREET FASHION and CULTURE: 1980 - 2017

ACROSS

Explore the fascinating history of fashion and culture in Tokyo, Japan.  This is a documentary of youth fashion and culture in Tokyo for 37 years.

Tokyo Street Fashion and Culture: 1980-2017
"Street Fashion" is the sense of style of creative people who take all sorts of information (from music, sports, fashion, and the like) and express their personal values through their outfits.  The fashion and culture research institute "ACROSS" stood on the streets of Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku on August 9, 1980.  Since then, every first Saturday at the same time, we have been observing each city, people, fashion, and measure the number of passersby and fashion trend items, interview carefully.  Our concept is the “street fashion marketing”, it is based on an approach called “cultural studies” from the academia back ground. And, its method of the observation we named “Teiten Kansoku (Fixed point observation)”.  This is a documentary with a realistic image of Tokyo's 37 years of young people.
1980 - 1989
The 1970s was the first time that young people embraced a sense of communal solidarity as a generation and joined together in opposition to adults. The decade marked the start of street fashion in Japan, and the latter half of the 1970s was a time when young people renounced the values of earlier generations and took a confrontational stance towards them, advocating new styles. In the first half of the 1980s, against the backdrop of the consumer society, admiration of the ‘adult’ lifestyle comes to the fore, as can be seen with nyutora (new traditional), hamatora (Yokohama traditional), and preppy styles and with magazines such as JJ and POPEYE. With the lifestyle of American university students being one of the role models, POPEYE and other magazines emerge to highlight the American way of life. In the middle of the 1980s, youth and change again stand out, with the counterculture (the culture of the children, rather than the culture of the adults) providing the essence of style, much as trends in the first half of the 1980s contradicted those of the latter half of the 1970s. This commences with the DC boom (DC stands for “designer” and “character”), being the first fashion trend to originate from Japan instead of being based on imitations of overseas fashions. The main leaders of this trend are the subsequent shinjinrui generation, attempting to get away from the trad generation (baby boomer generation) that led in the latter half of the 1970s. Both of these generations are adept at making use of symbolism. Thereafter, a series of new cultural influences, such as bodikon (body conscious), Italian casual, and Hip hop style, are imported, commercialized, and consumed by young people.

Yokohama Trad Style/Hama Tora
1980

The elegance fashion that started in Kobe in the latter half of the 1970s comes into vogue in the 1980s as a more casual style, particularly in the Yokohama area. This becomes a widespread trend after being featured as hamatora (Yokohama traditional) in JJ magazine.

Japanese Preppy
1981

As joshi daisei (college girl) fashion takes Japan by storm, trad fashion derived from elite school uniforms becomes popular among male university students, featuring blazers and cardigans adorned with emblems, button-down shirts, and loafers. It becomes widespread as Preppy fashion.

Crow Tribe/Karasu zoku
1982

The karasu-zoku (crow tribe) style, in which women dress all in black from head to toe, comes into fashion. The heyday of the DC brand (DC stands for “designer” and “character”) arrives. Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto debut their Paris collections, and publications by Magazine House, such as anan and POPEYE, become very popular.

Japanese Preppy
1982

The Preppy fashion becomes all the rage mainly among people in their twenties. Numerous related ‘mook’ (half magazine, half book) publications are released, including Cheap Chic (Shoshisha Publishing) and The Official Preppy Handbook (Kodansha), and fashion comes to be seen as a part of people’s daily lifestyle.

Shibuya Koen-dori Ave, Tokyo
1983

In the 1980s, Shibuya Koen-dori (Koen-dori Avenue) gains a reputation as a gathering place for young people. Women working in other areas during the week enjoy strolling around Shibuya on the weekends.

New Generation / Joshidaisei
1983

The joshi daisei fashion becomes the main thing in vogue. Following on the heels of JJ magazine, the first issue of CanCam was published by Shogakukan in 1982.

New Wave
1983

Music and fashion shift to new wave. With the end of the punk boom, music and fashion move into the new wave era. Fashion that expresses the essence of music becomes popular.

Olive Girl by Pinkhouse
1984

The girlish kawaii fashion promoted by Olive magazine, launched by Magazine House in 1982, receives support from junior college students and some high school students, and builds into a major boom. At an early stage in the trend, otome (maiden/young lady) fashion was a hit in1984, characterized by voluminous clothes with details like large collars, frills, and ribbons, and red, pink, and white colors. The PINK HOUSE brand, popular among the wearers of this trend, had also been launched as a separate company in 1982.

Kawaii Pinkhouse
1985

Character Fashion / Chekkers
1985

The 1980s is the heyday for ‘idols.’ Beginning with the Seiko-chan cut, based on the hairstyle of pop star Seiko Matsuda, it becomes all the rage for teenagers to imitate the hairstyles and fashions of singers and entertainers. Around this time, the fashion style of the band The Checkers and the Fumiya hairstyle become all the rage among men.

Olive Girl
1986

Around this time, Olive magazine becomes the teenage fashion bible, Parisienne fashion and lifestyle are admired, and the scope of fashion broadens to incorporate things like handmade and second hand clothing, lifestyle goods and accessories. The photo shows two girls attracted by ribbons sold on the streets of Harajuku. Examples of the Parisienne style at this time include the big silhouette and crushed denim.

Teens in Black
1986

In the latter half of the 1980s, the black with denim fashion of Parisienne street style comes into vogue. The shinjinrui (new breed) generation becomes more mature, and casual, big-silhouette black MA-1 jackets become very popular with the dankai junior (second-generation baby boomer) generation (teens).

One-length cut & body conscious one piece
1987

As a reaction to the DC brand boom, many women adopt a style with a sexy appeal boasting one-length haircuts and body-conscious clothing.

JJ sophis
1988

In the latter half of the 1980s, the joshi daisei fashion nurtured by JJ magazine evolves into an adult women’s fashion. The post-JJ byword was sophisticated DC fashion implying both intelligence and individuality. Popular brands include Junko Shimada, MOGA, Zelda, Ingeborg, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.

Shibuya casual style
1988

Shibuya Casual (shibukaji) comes into vogue at private high schools attended by the dankai junior generation. A casual, elegant style called Shibuya Casual featuring dark blue blazers with Levi's 501 denim jeans comes into vogue mainly among private high school students who hang out in Shibuya. TV show actresses Atsuko Asano and Yuko Asano become very popular.

Sporty Fashion
1989

The dankai junior generation take over the driving role in street fashion, accelerating the trend towards casual dress. Aerobics is introduced into Japan, Olivia Newton-John’s Physical is a hit, and sporty fashions inundate the street.

Shibuya casual style
1990

The era shifts from asking what to wear to asking how to wear it. Simple styles with shirts and denim are favored, together with brand bags and scarves to add a high-quality touch. The idea that fashion is about coordinating becomes widespread on the street.

1990 - 1999
As if counteracting the DC fashion of the first half of the 1980s, the focus toward the end of the 1980s was on maturity and stability, rather than on youth and change. The bodikon (body-conscious) and shibukaji (Shibuya Casual) trends appear. The bodikon fashion symbolizes an era of female ascendancy, a time when ‘Hanako-san’ (a woman like the women depicted in Hanako magazine) puts her energy into both work and play in the same way as men, and Shibuya Casual symbolizes the passing of the torch from the shinjinrui (new breed) generation to the dankai junior generation as the young people who drive street fashion. Around 1990, Shibuya Casual comes into fashion mainly among high school students in the Shibuya area and college students based on the influence of the Yamanote fashion, which began as a Japanese interpretation of BCBG. The dankai junior generation leads this trend, characterized by tastefully-worn casual standards, like striped shirts, imported jeans, large Louis Vuitton bags, and moccasins. This is when the basic approach to fashion of “What should I wear,” that had held sway since the DC brand boom of the 1980s, changes to “How should I wear it.” Thereafter, a late-period Shibuya Casual comes into vogue, in which trad colors become more prominent, and people wear 501 jeans with dark blue blazers with gold buttons by Ralph Lauren. In autumn and winter, this evolves into shibukaji wild, a wild trend incorporating outdoor and sports brands. A style combining Western boots, silver or turquoise accessories, long hair, and sunglasses catches on, frequently appearing in trendy TV programs starring Takuya Kimura, Eisaku Yoshida, and others, and becomes a nation-wide fashion trend. Afterwards, in the winter of 1991, when Shibuya Casual has lost all semblance of its original form, girls, leaving aside boys’ fashions, are swept into the paragal (paradise girl) trend, adopting a typical style of slouch socks with short boots from BCBG (1990). American brands like MCM, LeSportsac, and LA Gear become very popular, later evolving into the colorful West Coast girl style named LA girl. In 1992, this suddenly transforms into the largely monotone French Casual. Typical characteristics include hair put up with a barrette, rib stitch cut and sew knitwear, and leather cord pendants. The basic fashion concept of mixing and matching simple items in an elegant way is actually the same as with Shibuya Casual.

French Casual women
1992

The French Casual boom becomes widespread among men. Mixing-and-matching with monotones is a key point. Popular brands include agnès b.

Paragal
1992

The paragal (paradise girl) trend appears, a precursor to the future kogyaru boom, adopting LA-style resort casual styles as an expression of femininity. JJ magazine coins the term paragal to suggest that “every day is paradise.”

French Casual men

The appeal of the Parisienne fashion and lifestyle takes a new turn, with French Casual—the everyday wear of the French—becoming all the rage. Styles with berets and leather cord neckwear from leading brands like agnès b., NICE CLAUP, KOOKAI, and SHIPS come into vogue.

Femmi o1
1994

Partially influenced by club music, 1970s-style fashions become popular. The number of second hand clothing stores rises throughout Japan, and an increasing number of young people get hooked on accessories like newsboy hats, berets, round-toe odeko shoes, and scarves.

Femmi o2
1994

Tokyo street fashion attracts attention from abroad. There’s a sudden increase in the number of gayish/feminized kamao or femio men expressing their radical distinctiveness by making, or remaking, their own clothes. This garners attention as Tokyo street fashion.

School girl kawaii
1994

Miniskirts become popular throughout the country, and ‘school girl’ fashion becomes popular in street fashion.

Urahara
1995

In 1993, due to the opening of the select shop NOWHERE by GOODENOUGH (Hiroshi Fujiwara), A Bathing Ape (Nigo), and UNDERCOVER (Jun Takahashi) in the quiet, residential backstreets of Harajuku, many young men begin to call this neighborhood “Ura-Harajuku” (meaning the back streets of Harajuku and consisting mainly of the Jingumae 4-chome area).

Shinoler kawaii
1996

Tomoe Shinohara, a celebrity sporting bright colors, details, and a high-strung personality, whose debut album is produced by Denki Groove member Takkyu Ishino, becomes a smash hit among teenagers. Her brand becomes an unconventional kawaii (cute) fashion genre, with her followers being called Shinorer, following the nomenclature used by fashion followers of Namie Amuro, known as amurer.

Joshikosei / school girl
1996

Thanks to the loose socks boom, joshi kosei (high school girls) become a leading influence in development of products such as fashion and makeup items, snacks, and services. Companies direct their efforts towards joshi kosei marketing.

Amrar
1996

The kogyaru boom becomes segmented. Songs by Tetsuya Komuro become big hits, and Namie Amuro’s fashion style—miniskirts, thick-soled boots, and long cardigans—rapidly becomes very popular with girls who gain the name Amurer after Amuro. The trend shifts from Chanelers (girls decked out in Chanel items) to Amurers.

From Joshikosei to Kogyaru
1997

In 1997, joshi kosei style details escalate, with brown chapatsu hair, makeup, and miniskirts. Beautifully arched eyebrows proliferated throughout Shibuya, with drugstore brands vying to produce them. Nevertheless, with some girls starting to switch from loose socks to tight-fitting, dark blue socks, the joshi kosei style is approaching its final days in Shibuya as it spreads outside Tokyo.

Angeler
1997

The Takuya Angel brand becomes very popular with a design concept based on kimono and Japanese motifs. People wearing these clothes, or making their own, similar styles, are called Angelers.

Kawaii kimono
1997

Wasougara
1997

Konsaba joshi
1997

The kogyaru generation grows up, and the number of konsaba (conservative) girls increases rapidly. At the end of the 1990s, the kogyaru generation grows up, and an increasing number of konsaba girls with an element of gyaru style can be seen.

Kawaii: joshikosei
1997

Joshi kosei and Shinorer girls adopt a positive attitude towards accessories with unconventional colors and designs and peculiar motifs, calling them kawaii (cute). This merges with a modified kawaii fashion involving Hello Kitty, Doraemon, and Scream dolls, and large flowers.

Kawaii: joshikosei
1998

In the latter half of the 1990s, joshi kosei (high school girls) are the undisputed trend leaders. High school uniforms throughout Tokyo undergo a redesign, with boys wearing blazers instead of the more traditional gakuran uniform and girls’ sailor outfit uniforms transforming into blazers and pleated skirts. This boosts awareness of fashion as part of everyday life.

Ganguro gal
1999

The ganguro gal style spreads from Shibuya to regional areas. Some kogyaru evolve into ganguro gals. A style incorporating wigs, false eyelashes, and tanned skin spreads out from Shibuya’s Center Gai shopping street to regional Japan.

Urahara
1999

The Urahara style spreads among girls, as well. A relaxed, casual style comes into vogue. The number of girls wearing a boyish fashion with sweat shirts, skinny denim jeans, and sneakers increases suddenly on Cat Street.

Neo DC

2000 - 2009
For a long period, youth fashion and culture had been led by particular generations, the baby boomer generation in the 1970s, the shinjinrui (new breed) generation in the 1980s, and the dankai junior and heta-uma generations in the 1990s. This changes in the 2000s, when street fashion is marked by trends bolstered by groups transcending generational barriers. In 1999, now in their late twenties after having spent three to four years as full members of society, the dankai junior generation becomes aware of minor luxury items and begins to consume them in droves. The term joshitsu na futsu (high-quality normal) is introduced. This concept of futsu (normal) represents to a change in standards. Young people of the following uchira generation, born in the first half of the 1980s, come to the forefront. The GAP and Uniqlo open in central Tokyo, clearing the way for clothes that are cheap but still reasonably fashionable, which results in a change to the baseline for clothes to be considered adequate or acceptable. Helped by the inclusion of the heta-uma generation, which has outgrown the gyaru phase, this evolves into the Gal Mix trend, a simple, unisex rakuchin casual (easy-going casual) fashion incorporating a mix of gyaru tastes. The peak of the economic improvement in the mid- to late 2000s sees the emergence of the Fashion Celeb style, which follows overseas fashion trends. At the same time, the fashion industry shows a growing concern for social and ethical issues, and other elements of corporate social responsibility. In the latter half of the 2000s, a number of fast fashion brands from outside Japan arrive. It is a time when attitudes towards clothes and thinking about prices undergo a major change.

Unisex Kawaii
2000

In 2000, the number of girls dressing in a unisex fashion increases suddenly, a subcategory of the kogyaru style, which could be described as ura harajuku kei joshi (backstreet Harajuku style girls), wearing skinny jeans and the same kinds of T-shirts as their boyfriends. The first issue of the magazine, mini, comes out, and a boys kawaii trend takes off.

Gal mix
2000

Accessory designers come into fashion, emerging as fashion leaders. The number of select shops highlighting designers of footwear, bags, and accessories increase. It’s more and more a time of coordinating, when the number of distinctive designs increase, and styling takes center stage.

Sports mix Kawaiii
2002

A casual, unisex fashion retaining feminine hairstyles and makeup goes mainstream.

Select_kei
2004

The Jinnan area of Shibuya, where a series of select shops, mixed-brand boutiques, opened around the year 2000, becomes a hotspot and a popular place for young couples to stroll around. Beams increases its floor space, and second hand clothing stores and select shops open in small spaces on the second floor, and are heavily frequented by young people in the know.

Hahako
2005

Mothers and daughters go shopping together. Trends become age-independent. Around this time, there’s a sudden increase in hahako shopping, in which mothers and daughters happily go shopping for casual clothes at fashion complexes like Shibuya Parco and Lumine.

Dior homme o
2006

Hedi Slimane becoming creative director for Dior Homme starting from 2001 A/W is big news for men who like fashion. Coupled with the popularity of TUNE magazine, which launched in 2004 (publication suspended in 2015), the number of slim, stylish men in Harajuku rises sharply.

Serebukei
2006

Fashion goes global, and genre and generational boundaries disappear. The wave of globalization arrives in fashion, with boundaries between high fashion and street fashion, and the trend time lag between young people and adults almost disappearing.

Uchira generation
2006

The uchira generation emerges, and the street photography boom takes off. Clothes and accessories with distinctive designs become common. Media sources engaging in street photography appear, and the line between looking and being seen becomes blurred.

BB2 / 40s
2007

The dankai junior (BB2) generation matures, entering their mid-thirties. Simplicity and high quality are what is preferred. The Shibuya Casual generation enters their thirties, with an increasing number getting married and having children. The popular fashion is the simple, joshitsu na futsu (high-quality normal), creating new standards that prioritize material and texture.

Gal & gal o
2007

This is the heyday of agejo (ageha girls), who prioritize their appearance over everything else. Fashions prioritizing appearance, rather than the brand, go mainstream. As gyaru (gals) become commonplace due to the popularity of koakuma ageha magazine, MEN'S KNUCKLE also becomes popular. The number of gyaru-o (male equivalent of the gyaru) grow, mainly in Shibuya.

Fast fashion
2008

With fast fashion retailers such as H&M and TOP SHOP opening in Japan, it becomes easy for anyone to acquire trending fashions, and the number of visibly ‘fashionable’ people grows.

Mori girl & boy
2009

Unconventional fashions that spread through social networks and street photography appear. Social networks become commonplace, turning street photography into community media. Chain reactions occur among people with distinctive tastes, and audacious styles spread, particularly among trend-sensitive vocational school students.

2010 - 2017
In the 2010s, fast fashion from Japan and elsewhere becomes widespread. A ‘super mix’ fashion arises, merging three major aspects of street fashion—street style (boyish), gyaru style, and the konsaba (conservative) style. The result is a ‘sweet’ style that is both kawaii and fairly fashionable, characterized by a desire to enjoy the same trend as everyone else. A shift takes place after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, as people place more importance on finding a way of life that is uniquely their own and rethinking what is important to them. Many small groups (‘tribes’) transcending generational lines and possessing their own values form in places like Koenji and Akihabara, where fashion blends with subcultures like anime and gaming. These groups form bonds that cut across traditional boundaries, such as rivalries between the city and the suburbs, or borders separating regions or countries.

Bike trend
2010

2010
Since the 2000s, the Shibuya area of Tokyo experiences an expansion of people, stores, and flow of information towards the northwest part of the area, such as Tomigaya, Kamiyama-cho, and Uehara. Cycling is the device that facilitates this expansion, evolving from a hobby and health trend into a lifestyle, and influencing fashion as well.

Mote kei
2010

It’s the era of Tokyo Girls Collection (TGC) and mote-kei style college girls. As TGC becomes commonplace, there is a growing number of small, conservative groups (tribes) of cute joshi daisei who put their girlishness on full display, wearing miniskirts with floral designs, lace, and sandals.

Cosplay
2012

The shinjinrui junior generation (younger new breed generation) born in the 1990s brings a cosplay approach to fashion, and takes over the leading role in street style. With cosplay style becoming common, people are changing their hairstyles and makeup, as well as their fashion, on a daily basis.

City boy
2013

Based on its launch concept of a “Magazine for City Boys,” Magazine House’s POPEYE undergoes a major redesign in its June 2012 edition. Abandoning the previous mainstream approach of describing how to be appealing in the eyes of others, the editorial approach changes to emphasizing one’s own perspective—studying everything from the background and quality of items to dressing and comfort, and learning for yourself instead of learning from adults (older generations). This transformation is a big hit with the shinjinrui junior generation, and a growing number of men adopt the ‘city boy’ look.

Japanologist
2014

The term “inbound” comes into frequent usage to describe visitors to Japan since more than 10 million people visit the country in 2013, and the nation sees an increasing number of exchange students and foreigners staying long-term or visiting frequently.

Futago coodinate
2014

Fashion is prominently highlighted in social networks with more and more young people snapping themselves on the street and posting their selfies on social networks. The number of people going out together with coordinated combinations of styles suddenly increases suddenly.

Super mix
2015

ACROSS editors described the year 2000 as the “superflat of fashion,” a time when all styles had emerged, to be followed by a decade in which past styles were mixed. The 2010s are now producing even more mixing of styles, becoming a time when trends can’t be bundled together and expressed as a coherent concept with a single name. This contrasts with the earlier periods, when the names of trends symbolized a relationship between fashion and lifestyle.

Super mix
2015

ACROSS editors described the year 2000 as the “superflat of fashion,” a time when all styles had emerged, to be followed by a decade in which past styles were mixed. The 2010s are now producing even more mixing of styles, becoming a time when trends can’t be bundled together and expressed as a coherent concept with a single name. This contrasts with the earlier periods, when the names of trends symbolized a relationship between fashion and lifestyle.

Exille boy
2015

Perhaps in part because of a Ministry decision to make dance a compulsory subject in Japanese junior high schools in 2008, more and more young people enjoy dancing as a normal activity, and groups emerge that imitate the fashion styles of dancers, both domestic and international. One dance and vocal group, EXILE, releases its own 24karats (GOLD 24karats Diggers) brand. Many brands modelling themselves after this appear, forming one fashion group. The kireime na onii-kei (neat and simple big brother) style is one feature of this fashion trend.

Retro, classic
2016

The Millennium generation, born in the first decade of the twenty-first century, comes to play the main role in street fashion, and an increasing number of young people admire fashions and designs from the Showa Era (1926–1989), now considered vintage. Fashion with retro colors and motifs comes into vogue.

Fashion elite
2016

The Millennium generation has a strong ‘second generational’ element to it, clearly referencing the influences, fashion, and culture of their parents’ generation in addition to expressing their own approach. As with the young women in the photo, parents in many cases are gyokaijin (show biz types), such as musicians, editors, or beauticians.

Model, blogger, instagrammer
2016

Instagram becomes popular. It is a time when fashion information is put out by everyone from companies of all sizes, individual proprietors, and individuals, and there are many venues where people both view and are viewed online. Posing becomes an integral part of fashion.

Credits: All media
The exhibit featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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