History of Clothing
The Japanese fashion is a vast field that is a reflection of art, tradition,
and freedom.The visual culture of early Japan is showcased by a
combination of multiple traditional Japanese styles.This splash of visual
beauty represents the traditional and visible artistic values that shook
hands while creating a form of fashion that was recognizable to foreign
From the exquisite fabrics to the intricate patterns, Japanese fashion
and its beauty have influenced numerous designers all over the world.
Modern Japanese fashion’s spunk, especially in Tokyo, the capital city, is
something that inspires celebrities, pop stars, and social media greatly.
Japanese fashion from ancient to modern, and its influences
on western style.
The Japanese Fashion:Where Art and Culture Shake Hands
Japanese fashion is known for its cutting-edge trends and is a highly
diversified sartorial genre. It essentially includes two types of clothing:
• the Ancient clothing known asWafuku
• the Western clothing known asYōfuku
Japanese styles mix pop culture with avant-garde
looks.They are led by ever-evolving and
exhilarating subcultures like:
• Kimonos (ancient Japanese attire)
• Lolita (theVictorian-inspired cute clothing)
• Gyaru (glamorous and youthful clothing)
• Shibuya (styles from the famous Shibuya mall of
• Harajuku (the super-fashionable Harajuku street
style), and finally,
• Cosplay (role-playing costumes).
Japanese fashion is hugely inspired by nature-
From flowers and leaves to birds and animals, it
incorporates everything in its clothing.
Kimono Lolita Gyaru
Shibuya Harajuku Cosplay
The Nara, Heian, and Muromachi Period (710 – 1600):
Bow Down to the Royalty!
The early Japanese fashion was quite plain and practical, as it was
well suited to a nation of gatherers and hunters, that later evolved
to craftsmen and farmers.
The Nara period (710 – 794) included full coveralls of robes that
covered the body from collarbone to feet.This was the period of
social segregation, where the higher class women were to cover
their body more than the lower class.
The Heian period (794-1192) saw the introduction of the most
iconic garment, the kimono.The kimono, which means “something
to wear” in Japanese, is the most popular form of traditional
In addition, there are other types, too, which include the hakama
and the yukata.These garments were usually worn by women of
higher social status, weighed about 20kg, and consisted of over 12
layers of clothing.Kosode, on the other hand, were basic robes, and
Hakama were skirt-like pants that were worn under the garments.
Picture-(L to R): Heian silk kimono; Linen robe; Imperial life enactment
of royalties accompanied by court servants; Rice powder and rose-bud
red lip makeup, Kanzashi hair clip; Origami crane earrings
Luxury in Japanese Fashion
Coming to luxury, people wrapped a waistband called Obi
around the final layer of the traditional robe to keep all the
layers of clothing intact.
It is often bright, extremely thick, and bow-shaped, and it
serves as the final touch to the costume.And brace yourselves,
some of them cost even more than the total cost of all the
layers of the kimono combined!
This period also included accessories like Kanzashi hair clips,
Origami crane earrings, and showy headdresses.
The materials used to design these attires included either
hemp or linen. Narrow eyes, round apple cheeks, thin nose, and
pouty mouth defined the Heian beauties.
On matters of makeup, they used heavy rice powder to paint
the face and neck white, and red paint over natural lip-lines to
make its shape like rose-bud.
Picture-English/Japanese movie Memoirs of a Geisha and impersonation
of typical Japanese appearance with long hair
Movies today also showcase the ancient Japanese culture
lost in time by wearing these outfits, like in the
English/Japanese movie Memoirs of a Geisha. All of these
styles continued on in the Muromachi period (1333-1573)
and became very popular by this time.This only showcases
their knack for comfort and extraordinary charm.
The Edo Period (1603 – 1868):
Samurais to the Rescue!
The strong and the bold! This period marked the 250 years
of peace and stability in the history of Japan, post the
upsurge of military governance of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The Samurais required more presentable attires as they
entered the bureaucracy of feudal lords.
As a result, this period saw a rise in demand for more
artistic and expensive kimonos with the prime motive of
showing off status and power.Along with wealth, art, and
culture too, started reaching the merchant class.
Picture-Famous Edo style teeth blackening; Royalty ornamental hairpins;
Neutral colored samurai kimono, tucked sword and Sandogasa (bamboo
hat); Classic samurai warrior attire
The manufacturing industry developed and embroidery expanded
to multiple motifs and colors inspired by famous theater artists
and their costumes. In short, the theater rocked!
The era’s new looks included loose kimonos, their long hanging
sleeves (usually worn by unmarried women), and obi belts triple
the normal size. Makeup involved the usage of three basic colors of
red, white and, yellow. Red for lip rouge and nail polish, white for
face powder, and black for eyebrow pencils and teeth blackening.
The later period, however, aimed at an iridescent effect that
consisted of heavy makeup.
The Modernization of Japanese Fashion
The Meiji Period (1868 – 1912):
Classic with aTwist of Western Modern!
During this period, the Japanese empire was restored
and as a result, the country arose as a modern and
industrialized power.The West mostly influenced the
On formal occasions, the government officials and their
wives used to wear western outfits.TheYofuku clothing
uptake, inspired by theWest, spiraled down through the
On the other hand, Japanese women found these new
fashions impractical for daily life and continued on with
the kimono, newly pairing them with a variety of
accessories such as scarves, hats, gloves, handbags, and
umbrellas for decades to come.
Picture-Meiji dress of mixed ancient and western style; Natural makeup
with skin color matching foundation; School costume in the 1900s
Women began using a full palette of hues in their makeup.
Western influence made them realize that there was a possibility
of finding makeup that would complement their real skin tones.
They started embracing the natural look!
TheTaisho Period (1912 – 1926):Time to Evolve!
Fashion further evolved for all classes.TheTaisho period was the
combination of the West and East fashion trends.
Modern living kept thriving as the Japanese empire continued its
domain. Fresh styles emerged with the rise of cinema, radio, and
These styles included affordable and new patterns of meisen silk
kimonos and decorated collars.
Women’s popular fashion statements all across the globe had
become quite similar in the 1920s.
Picture-Taisho period meisen silk kimono; Eastern and western mix of
cloche hat and kimono jacket; 1920s Japan slim dress style
These styles involved glamorous gowns, dresses, and robes
with slim lines and a vertical draping. However, a majority of
women still favored traditional Japanese dresses with some
experimentation along the way.This included pairing up
kimonos and robes with modern hairstyles and dressing up
children in skirts, pants, shirts, and dresses.
Women mostly preferred makeup that was quick to apply and
convenient to use as they were stepping up both in society and
the workplace. Other than the traditional white, face powder
began to be sold in a broader range of tints.
The traditional safflower-based rouge was replaced by tube
lipstick made of different dyes and pigments.With the cosmetic
industry becoming increasingly westernized from 1910, cold
creams, vanishing creams, and emulsions also appeared in the
Fashion Pre and Post-World War II
The Showa Period (1926 – 1989):
Shining Brightly even inTimes of Crisis!
To put it straight, the Showa era was a period of art! It was
under the reign of Emperor Hirohito and spanned both pre and
In due favor of modest garments, wartime restrictions had
banished extravagant and showy outfits. However, alongside the
economic boom after the 1950s, fashion trends developed
rapidly.Western clothing became mainstream.
On special occasions, people wore kimonos inspired by the Art
Deco and Art Nouveau movements.The post-war pacifist
constitution of 1947 allowed younger generations to embrace
entertainment and pop culture along with the fads and fashions
of the day.
Although Showa styles still had a hint of Japanese elements.
Mostly, the American and European influences like freedom-
loving long-haired hippies, the Swinging-Sixties mods, and dolly
girls inspired them.
Picture-Modest dress styles pre-WWII; Dark eye makeup inspired by
western pop culture; Western outfits styles post-WWII
The US introduced pancake makeup to Japan in 1954.The
cosmetic trend shifted in the 1960s and put an emphasis on
makeup for the eyes and mouth. Fads like the heavily made-up
eyebrows and surfer look were a trend in the starting of 1975
and swept women in their teens and twenties in particular.
Japanese Street Fashion
The Heisei Period (1989 – 2019):The Now Wow!
Fashion, art, and music have all connected with the rise of the
new media. Lolita, visual kei, gyaru, host club hairstyles, cosplay,
decora, otaku, Harajuku culture, and kawaii street fashion are just
a handful of the aesthetic contributions of the Heisei period.
It is an adorable and cute trend in Japan. It can refer to humans,
non-humans, and items that are shy, charming, and childlike.The
Japanese went on to incorporate this culture and characters like
Hello Kitty and Pikachu in fashion and created cute outfits for
teens and young adults to wear.This includes lolita dress, bunny
headbands, bob wigs, kitten tees, and more.
Talking about local Japanese fashion, teenagers and the general
public wore mini skirts and over-sized knee-high socks during
the 1990s.The general public popularized these instead of
well-known fashion designers.
This is known as the Kogal trend and is found in both
Harajuku and Shibuya districts. It is influenced by the
“schoolgirl” look.This style is also characterized by the skin
with a fake tan, dark makeup, pale lipstick, and light hair.
To name some, the most famous modern Japanese street
styles include over-sized shirts, tees, and pants, plaid outfits,
bright tones, and layers on layers in clothing, Mori Kei (loose
knitted wear), denim on denim, stylish sneakers, classic hip
belt bags, and more.
Picture-Japanese classic hip belt bag; Typical schoolgirl look with a
short skirt; Street fashion by Yukina Kinoshita, a Japanese influencer;
The Lolita look characterized by Victorian fashion; Lolita headband;
Flared pants and bucket bag; Mori Kei loose knitted poncho
Freedom of the Genderless Kei
Today, the Japanese street style mostly reflects the
concept of genderless Kei, which means rejecting the
idea that one needs to dress according to their
gender.This has enabled all men and women of Japan
dressing more or less similar.
Yukina Kinoshita, a Japanese model, and Instagram
influencer, with her huge 5.1 million followings ,
reflects the true street style of Japan with a tee worn
inside a check shirt, shorts, high rise boots, and a hat.
Now present trends in makeup include an individual
approach to medicated cosmetics, nail art, and other
decorations of fingernails.Times have changed, and the
white-skinned Edo beauty is no longer the ideal.
Now, we are in a modern era in which consumers
expect that cosmetic products should serve a variety
of skincare needs and functions.
Genderless Kei – More JustThan A FashionTrend
‘Kei’, which means style in Japanese, focuses on self-expression through
fashion.The critical point about this new trend is that genderless Kei isn’t
related to gender or orientation.
Genderless Kei fans may be het, gay, cis, non-binary… they simply find
freedom in the Genderless aesthetic.Genderless Kei doesn’t conform to
any traditions which people are following, and welcomes androgynous
fashion as an aesthetic for all.
What AreThe Elements Of Genderless Kei Style?
Genderless Kei followers usually combine stereotypically ‘female’ and
‘male’ clothing and beauty techniques to create an androgynous look.
Genderless Kei includes (but is not limited to) the following key elements:
• Clear skin
• Makeup and nail polish
• Coloured contacts
• Flashy clothing
• Cute accessories
• Dyed hair in an androgynous or ‘feminine’ cut
Genderless Kei rejects any gender rules about fashion, and promotes
beauty standards that aren’t defined by gender.
Picture-Genderless Kei, J-pop band
The Influence of Japanese Fashion on
The Runway Effect
The influence of Japanese fashion has swayed and
twirled the west coast of the United States. Since the
80s, superior Japanese fashion brands such as Comme
des Garçons have been playing quite a big role in the
global industry, especially through their frequent cross-
over guest designs with other major brands.
Popular Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of
Comme des Garçons, designed for high-end fashion
brands like H&M and LouisVuitton in 2008. London
FashionWeek in 2010 featured the precious works of
TomokoYamanaka.Tokyo is Japan’s fashion capital and
is head-to-head with major fashion centers of the
West like Paris and Milan.
Picture-Gwen Stefani with Japanese girls showcasing the Harajuku style;
A Comme des Garçons collection; The Invisible Clothing collection by Rei
Kawakubo; Japanese anime Cosplay outfit; A jersey jacket from Kanye
West’s BAPE collection
The Celebrity Parade
The street fashion of Japan has influenced various brands
by world-class celebrities. KayneWest’s BAPE and
Jermaine Dupri’s A Bathing Ape, for instance, are gaining
attention from the youth day by day.
Furthermore, we can see the influence of Japanese
fashion on pop stars like Gwen Stefani who
incorporated the cute Harajuku style in her rock song.
She introduced her clothing line named L.A.M.B. in 2003,
and later expanded the collection with the Harajuku
Lovers line in 2005. Both were completely inspired by
the Japanese fashion and culture.
Picture-i. Jermaine Dulri ii. KayneWest’s Bape iii. Kayne tiger hoodie
As Anime and Manga have been trending, there has been
an introduction of a social phenomenon of Japanese
cosplay fashion. In this, teenagers and young adults find
themselves trying Manga outfits inspired by Japanese pop
In fact, the influence of these cosplay drives fans from all
over the world such as France, Germany, USA, Brazil,
China, and Australia.All for one reason, to attend the
annual competition ofThe World Cosplay Summit held in
Nagoya, Japan, and rejoice to their heart’s delight!
The vast culture and aesthetics of Japanese fashion have
never failed to intrigue us – both in the east and west.
Japanese inspirations continue to be seen in celeb styles,
fashion editorials and runway collections.And we
fashionistas love to mix, match, and experiment with these
Fashion In Japanese Movies
1. Kamikaze Girls/下妻物語
As is largely true in any society, fashion reflects (sub)culture
and vice versa, and those who choose to dress inVictorian-
era dolls’ clothing won’t often find commonality with those in
loose-fitting casual wear, leather jackets, bleached hair, and
dark eyeliner. Nevertheless, solitary Lolita-clad Momoko and
Yankee biker Ichigo manage to forge an unlikely bond across
wildly divergent fashion styles and a highly regimented
subculture. It goes
The fashion trends we witness in this movie, Lolita and
“Yankee,” are two completely opposite styles.The former is
feminine, sweet, and follows strict fashion rules — nothing
imperfect matches, while the latter is all
about being imperfect — over-sized, masculine, and loosely
The Lolita fashion, inspired by Rococo style, became popular
in Japan in the 1990s and 2000s.
Like Kamikaze Girls, we once again see two young women finding support and
friendship across fashion and subculture. Nana (Aoi Miyazaki), an average girl
following her boyfriend to the big city, and leather-jacket-wearing.
3. Helter Skelter/ヘルタースケルター
Based on a best-selling manga, Helter Skelter (2012) is the tragic tale of a
seemingly perfect supermodel Liliko. Based at the core of Japan’s high-end
fashion scene, the movie displays a number of popular Japanese brands, as
well as the latest western-inspired clothing trends and makeup.
4. Drowning Love/溺れるナイフ
In Drowning Love (2016) we find a classic tale of teenage romance, one also
based on a popular manga of the same (Japanese) name.Teenage romance in
Japan often means his and her high-school uniforms, worn properly here by
teen model Natsume (Nana Komatsu), not so properly by the free-spirited
Koichiro (Masaki Suda).
A light-hearted comedy, Wood Job is the story of a city boy who finds
meaning and purpose in the seemingly menial work of rural forestry.
The yama girl clothes is nothing beyond the typical outdoor fashion seen
around the globe.
Nana Movie Helter Skelter
Drowning Love Wood Job
6.Wonderful World End/ワンダフルワールドエンド
With a considerably more fashion-driven narrative, WonderfulWorld End (2015)
revolves around Shiori, a 17-year-old gothic Lolita who runs a known interactive video
blog.When Ayumi, an adoring 13-year-old fan, comes into Shiori’s life, things go from
peculiar to pretty good, but eventually land on creepy.
We get to learn much about fashion from the movie though, specifically the Gothic
Lolita style, a spinoff from the sweet and classic Lolita we saw in Kamikaze Girls. Unlike
the cute Lolitas, the Gothic trend relies heavily on dark clothes, pale skin makeup, and
color contact lenses, giving a bit of a vampy vibe.Though
7. Paradise Kiss/パラダイス・キス
Yet another manga adaptation, and although a work of fiction, the film delves into
Japan’s real-world fashion industry. Paradise Kiss, set in Tokyo in 2010, follows
protagonistYukari’s (Keiko Kitagawa) happenstance introduction into a group of
dedicated young fashion designers.
Normal high school life is more than a bit of a drag forYukari, but she finds great
inspiration in the design group’s creativity and enthusiasm, and eventually she is
delighted to be asked to model their new line:“Paradise Kiss.” Uniquely, this film was
made with the cooperation with popular brand L’est Rose and other real-world
We also get to see another common school uniform style, largely representing the
modern days high school look. Paradise Kiss is a yet another entertaining fashion show
that guides us to the behind the scenes of Japan’s fashion industry, including its highs
Wonderful world End
TEXTILES OF JAPAN
Generally the textiles in ancient japanese culture were used to make the kimono
for different occasions .Textile arts in Japan were deeply divided by social class.
The wealthy and the poor relied on different materials, techniques, and fashions
which could only be used by that class.
The most famous material used to make these textiles is silk . silk was only
accessible to the rich.The common people made textiles from plant fibers,
predominantly cotton and hemp, spun and woven into wearable garments.
Different types of textile in japanese culture
Japan’s kaga textiles has a unique method of dyeing . In this craft there are five
different colour tones are used, indigo, khaki, green, dark reddish purple, and
deep red.This textile features classical deep tones centering on reddish colors
and floral print designs, representing the natural beauty of Kanazawa
It has delicate and unique patterns that are enhanced by the distinctive gradation
fro edge to the center of each motif.The kaga was originally produced using the
silk and hemp. this textile requires enormous amount of water for washing
purpose so the textile was eventually made near the area which was well
blessed with the rivers and water bodies .
Kyo textiles are dye textiles . In the this textile a large
range of vivid colours and a technique of pictorial designs
of animals, nature and daily items are used .This technique
of making the textile needs a intensive amount of labor and
it totally contains handwork.
This Kyo textile is a beautiful production by the elegant
and sumptuous culture of Kyoto and it is popular not only
in Japan but all over the world.The whole production
process of Kyo textiles requires an extended period of
time as it involves the collaboration of many specialized
artisans with high craftsmanship.
Use of silk in the japanese textiles
Silk is the one of the most important ant popular material
used for making the japanese textile for ages . Japan
produces some of the worlds finest quality of silks . these
high quality silks earlier were used for making the
garments for the people of upper class people int the
Here are some verity of silks from japanes culture .
Nishijin brocade is woven silk produced in the northwestern part of
Kyoto.There are twelve kinds of Nishijin brocade designated by the
regulations and production process of the nishijin brocade varies
depending on the makers of the fabric. Initial production of Nishijin
brocade began all the way back during the Kofun period (250-538AD)
There are several verities of nishijin brocades such as Tsumugi -fabric
woven with thin silk threads Honshibo-ori – fabric made with
textured crepe weaving and Futsu– double sided fabric with different
colors and patterns on each side.
This silk results in making nishijin ori which is a high quality
silk fabric which is woven when the threads of silk are dyed.
Over the years craftsmen and weavers enthusiastically producing
various new products from nishijin that match the modern lifestyle.
Moreover , Nishijin and Nishijin ori are registered as trademarks in
order to preserve the traditio
Yuki tsumugi silk is produced in the Kinu River region .Today, the fabric made from this silk
is considered as an luxury . kimonos and other garments made fro this silk are
characterized by their lightness, softness, and excellent heat retaining-properties.The
threads are extracted from yarn hands pun from silk floss.Threads of this silk last long
without getting damaged and maintain the high quality of the textile.
The fabric made from this yarn is very comfortable to wear and has very appealing texture.
Yuki tsumugi silk textile is one of the most outstanding Japanese silk fabrics that has been
passed down for generations.
Thus, we can say that Japan has its own world for its textile , starting from the finest quality
of silk to various techniques of weaving a beautiful and unique textiles.
Yukii Tsumugi Silk
Contemporary Japanese Fashion
Blending vintage-looking stripes with summer-appropriate outfits
of functional character, selected for outdoor activities. Inspired by
the samurai styles, the waistline is a definite highlight.
The editorial concludes with Japanese styles below crop tops,
belted high-waisted jeans, skirts, jumpsuits, and dresses, made
from rescued materials, deadstock, and eco-friendly textiles.
Sustainable Japanese Fashion
Fashion is an industry that creates mountains of waste and up to
10 per cent of the world’s carbon output comes from the same
industry. Right now, there are over 21 billion tons of textile waste
discarded in the landfills, each year.
Then, 20 per cent of the world’s water is used to create apparel.
These figures motivate Japanese, as a nation, to find better
alternatives, especially now when the industry is at a crossroads.
As such, emerging Japanese designers are increasingly taking
centre stage with next-generation hand-made couture from
upcycled apparel and recycled textiles.
The Future Of Japanese Fashion
Japan has been and remains at the forefront of technological innovations.
Japanese startups are devising unique technologies, rethink business
models, and search for eco-friendly alternatives at every step, from
design to production, delivery, and reuse.
The latest advancement in Japanese fashion is the use of Artificial
Intelligence and 3D manufacturing, as it is the case of Synflux.
Synflux is just one of the thousands startup blending technology into
Japanese culture, seeking to rethink the entire fashion ecosystem.
Almost 57 per cent of millennial and Gen Z consumers are willing to pay
more for custom made products that have a minimal impact on the
As such, Japanese designers with a focus on customisation and
sustainability are the rage right now.
Use sustainable materials – innovative, eco-friendly, cruelty-free
materials that nurture and protect the environment.Once again, Japan’s
new age of design and technology experts are ahead, by blending culture
and beauty with innovation and utility.
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