Wonderfully weird

IMAGINE AN amazingly modern land, replete with talking robots and technologically advanced toilets, and the most exotic of foods and fashion.

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Published: Fri 31 Aug 2012, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:50 AM

Surely Japan must come to your mind. But it’s not the wasabi-flavoured KitKat or live seafood-dispensing vending machines, that foreigners find most interesting about the East Asian country, it’s actually the country’s thriving alternative fashion scene.

Everybody is familiar with the Asian street fashion — women donning short dresses and precarious high heels and men with kohl-rimmed eyes and intricately styled hair — that has been a rage in the past two decades. But did you know that women in Japan have actually used fashion to defy standards of beauty and stereotypes— and that too in the most unique ways? During the mid-200s, the malls and streets of Tokyo began to be thronged by young women who completely jettisoned the conventional image of a Japanese woman— one who is fair skinned, has dark hair and wears minimal makeup.

They heralded a revolution in alternative fashion— or gyaru, as it is called in Japan. With dyed blonde, pink, orange and silver grey hair and high wedge heels, these girls made a fashion statement that few could ignore. The wildest ones out of them— the Yamamba — had tanned skin and they smeared their eyes with loud white eye shadow and black eyeliner.

And even now, Japanese women continue their ‘stylish’ rebellion. Many mothers are rejecting the social expectation of a mature getup, and are in fact proudly exhibiting their ‘gal-ness’ as they carry around their infants. These ‘gal-mamas’ tout their doll-like appearance as they strut around in malls, splurging their money on ‘girly’ products. In fact, the Japanese fashion industry actively uses the image of a forever-youthful mother to rake in millions. So if you are a mommy and you think that the ageing process is taking a toll on you, there’s no need to fret. Just get the famous Japanese ‘princess haircut’ and wear your girly outfit and hit the malls. Youth is just a fashion statement away!

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