Known the world over for sushi, cherry blossoms and Hello Kitty, Japan is the pinnacle of Asia with their singularly unique culture and cutting-edge technological innovations. But beyond the historically-rich heritage sites and fancy futuristic toilets, Japan is a fashion playground teeming with trends that are purely eccentric, exaggerated and extreme. Here's a look at five of the zaniest.
In a valiant attempt to out-colour rainbows, Decora is loosely translated as 'wear everything kooky and eye-poppingly bright in your closet at once so you resemble a migraine-inducing laundry monster'. Don't forget the compulsory hairclips and badges add-ons.
2. Visual Kei
An especially insane style of dress replete with gravity-defying hair, thick makeup and scary cosmetic lenses, Visual Kei is the Japanese equivalent of Marilyn Manson-meets-David Bowie, but crazier. The outfits are something out of an unholy orgy between punk, goth, anime and Victorian ruffles. It's certifiable, but it's also heartily embraced by Japanese metal bands and their fans.
In contrast to the Western context which brings to mind images of leering middle-aged men skulking around schoolyards, lolita is a trend favoured by grown women who wish to emulate girlish dolls. Covering themselves from head-to-toe in frilly, conservative layers that belong in a period drama and accessorising with lacy parasols and ribboned bonnets, lolitas actually go about their daily lives in these cumbersome get-ups.
Halloween is right around the corner this time of year but for followers of the Shironuri trend, it's a macabre parade everyday. Translated to mean 'painted white', this is a style that involves ghostly floaty fabrics and copious amounts of white face paint. Talk about a new twist to the term 'living dead'.
Perhaps the most revolutionary of Japanese trends, the Gyaru/Ganguro movement is a widespread subculture that peaked in the mid 2000's and originated as a bold stance against the traditional values of Japanese beauty. Overly tanned skin with bleached hair and skimpy clothes baring as much skin as legally possible, the trend went off the deep end when Gyaru (derived from the English word 'gal') transitioned into Ganguro. Requiring dark makeup and contrasting white highlights not unlike a panda's, their faces look like contouring nightmares you'll be hard-pressed not to ogle at in morbid fascination.
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