Wednesday, July 06, 2005

JAPANESE IDOLS: TREND SETTERS

Japanese idols as trend setters in Asia

By Eimi Graham

Japanese society is obsessed with its idols. It appears that every single fashion trend in Japan appears to have been started by an idol or a TV talent rather than a fashion designer. It would not be an exaggeration to say that if a Japanese idol were to start dressing in metal or paper or plastic dresses, half of Japan will embrace it.

Kogal fashion

A kogal is essential a schoolgirl, and rather sadly, she is treated in Japan as a sexual symbol. Several idols have exploited this and dress up regularly in a schoolgirl's sailor dress either to act a role in a movie or drama or to pose for magazines to satisfy the sexual appetite of Japanese men. Kogal fashion is still popular among teenagers and women in their 20's. Loose socks were worn about 6 years ago, but now, there is a new type of loose socks. It's called "Super loose socks". Usually, the length of a loose sock is around 25 to 50 cm (or 10 to 20 inches). But the super loose socks' length is up to 100 cm (or 40 inches). As you can imagine, super loose socks are easy to fall down on legs, so girls wearing these socks usually use a special glue called "Sock-touch" to stop the socks from falling down.

The "amulrar" fashion, which was popular just before the kogal boom came, was probably from the singer, Namie Amuro. The brown hair, sexy outfits, and weird kogal vocabulary were popular then. This is now apparently disappearing as women move on to other styles.

Office ladies (OL) rule the world

While schoolgirls like to dress up in the most outrageous styles they have certain restrictions. They have to use a uniform for the major part of the day and they can not always afford the latest in fashion. On the other hand, the office ladies (or women who work in offices rather than manufacturing plants) have plenty of disposable incomes and can dress up any way they want. Some offices have uniforms, so women can't wear sexy fashion there. But of course, not all of the offices have uniforms. Women in offices that don't have uniforms can wear a little bit of sexy fashion, like blouses showing off their breasts or a mini skirt showing off their legs. Japanese women working at an office usually wear suits and pumps. This style has been made popular by an actress, Makiko Esumi.

Show it off

The trends in Japanese fashion are moving in a direction when it is perfectly fine to show off as much skin as possible - something that was not common a decade or so ago. Some of the developments in fashion these days are mind-blowing since they have simply changed the very fundamentals of Japanese values. Women these days do not seem to mind showing off their underwear for instance. The fishnet stockings, tight bizarre (a fake leather mini skirt) mini skirts, camisoles showing off their breasts have been made popular by a Japanese singer and voice actress, Minami Takayama.

"Hip-hang" jeans in Japan are very popular these days and Japanese women show a little bit of their underwear when they use them. The jeans have to be worn around the hip and they hang quite low on the waist (that is why they are called hip-hang) to give others a peek at their panties, especially when someone bends. Until few years ago, Japanese women were reluctant to even show off their bra straps but now they feel just fine showing off their panties.

Similar change has occurred in the case of use of fishnet stockings, which are now also popular in the winter. A few years ago, fishnet stockings were probably only worn by women working at the night clubs and strip bars. Now, they are popular among average women in their 20's and 30's.

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About the author

Eimi Graham is half-Japanese and lives in Japan. She is currently in college and follows Japanese fashion trends. She loves music and going to discos.

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