Tokyo is undoubtedly a fashionable city – whether it’s quirky and experimental street fashion, Harajuku fashion tribes, kimono fashion, or Japanese fashion designers that are world famous. Even beyond fashion influencers, it seems every uniform is well designed, casual clothes styled elegantly, even the armies of office workers looking smart in their black suits.
Starting with kimono and geta sandals, Japanese fashion has been a global influence. Did you know that flip-flops are styled after Japanese geta sandals? An American soldier stationed in Japan came back to the US to launch the first flip-flops in the 50s. In a similar inspiration and embracing of international influences, the Japanese Lolita fashion emerged from admiration of European royalty, especially the Victorian age. The trends that once were emerging, are now well established, but new ones are popping up. Here’s a selection of fashion-focused profiles to follow on Instagram.
For those who want to be on the forefront of fashion, fashion weeks are where many looks have their debut. The Rakuten Fashion Week is one Tokyo’s biggest, taking place twice a year. The Spring 2020 RFWT was moved online due to the pandemic, which means you can now watch whole shows that would normally have been invitation-only.
Even those not really interested in Japanese subcultures and fashion have heard of Harajuku. The neighbourhood used to be a street fashion haven, where youngsters would strut showing off an outfit they had made or put together. Nowadays, Harajuku retains the title of fashion town, with some changes. There are more established shops, more tourists, more kawaii cafes popping up, and less spontaneous meet-ups of fashionable teens. But it still is one of the best places to try out an edgy new look. In the past, there would photographers for magazines documenting the looks, while now they take photos for Instagram pages. Here are a few major ones you should follow.
HARAJUKU FASHION WALK
Following popular shops and brands helps you stay in the loop of what is being on the market. Angelic Pretty for instance is a staple for Lolita fashion. Here is their most recently opened store in Shibuya that shares outfits you can buy.
J Fashion Archives
Peeking into a time before Instagram, this account shares snaps of iconic Japanese street fashion magazine covers, most of which are now out of circulation and defunct.
Japanese kimono fashion reinvented for the 21st century is becoming more and more popular among young people in Japan. Not only worn for ceremonies anymore, kimono and its accessories have been all the rage in our vintage-loving age. Add to that the fact that kimono are so durable that old pieces look great, and that recycling old clothes is actually good for the environment, and you have a great fashion trend emerging. There are also designers who recycle kimono fabrics into bags, jewellery, skirts and dresses, even face masks, so you can wear a bit of kimono without dressing up from head to toe.
Here are some great kimono influencers who reinvent the look and put together great outfits.
YUI MICHAEL – NEO KIMONO
Not only kimono, but anything and everything second-hand is trending in Tokyo. There are many shops re-selling pre-loved items from famous brands, so you can wear originals for much cheaper. You can also buy unique or rare items that maybe aren’t from a luxury brand, but in a city of millions and in an age still dominated by cheap fast fashion, they might give you a chance to stand out. Sellers like MODE OFF, RAGTAG, BUZZstore, Harajuku Chicago, Second Street and so on have opened stores around Tokyo, especially Shimokitazawa, Koenji, Kichijoji, Harajuku etc.
You can follow their official profiles on Instagram to get a feel for what second-hand fashion is being popular in Tokyo.
Of course, following the world famous Japanese fashion designers can get you insight into future fashion trends. For those still learning about Japanese fashion designer, start with Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and so on.
For keeping your eye on future designers coming out of Japan, follow the official profiles of the fashion academies. For starters, Bunka Fashion Academy is one of the most prestigious in Asia and boasts alumni who are world-famous now.
To show you that anyone can be a fashionsta, here’s an inspirational story. This 80+ years old is a farmer living in Akita prefecture, the north of Japan. You would think this is the least likely person to be an Instagram fashion influencer, right? Wrong. Thanks to his grandson, Naoya Kudo, who is styling his grandpa and has set up an Instagram profile, Silver Tetsuya has become a viral fashion sensation. Even though his grandson started the whole thing as a joke, this stylish grandpa wears the clothes like a pro and the photos are uber cool.
See for yourselves!
These profiles are just scratching the surface of the massive fashion scene in Japan. Hopefully you’ll dig deeper and connect with up and coming fashionistas living in Japan.