Friday, February 1, 2008

Tokyo inspired window displays that piss me off!

I was walking down the main shopping street of Melbourne, Bourke Street Mall, and I noticed these “Tokyo” inspired window displays at David Jones, one of our more “classy” and pricey department stores. Now they don’t say that they are Tokyo inspired but it is bleeding obvious, especially with the Manga/Anime backgrounds. (Manga in Japanese is actually pronounced monga, not mang-ga the way we in the west say it)…Anyway I kinda take issue with these windows…

Most of them portray the “decora” style from around 1999….that’s almost 10 years old and very much out of date and not cool in Tokyo anymore. But that’s what we in the west buy into when we think Tokyo fashion, in particular Harajuku style. It doesn’t help that the Fruits books we can buy in most bookshops show this outdated fashion because most of the photos are 10 years old in those books. A good friend of mine from Japan is deeply embarrassed to have a photo of her in the 1st Fruits book when she was still dressing “decora”…Decora basically means decorated, or covered in toys, wigs, badges, gadgets and the like. Now people still do cover themselves in that stuff in Harajuku but it has moved on from the humble beginnings to become little sub groups of fashion interested in only 1 or 2 things…like future/rave i.e. the Chapter guys who design and make all their own clothes.

or 80’s bunny hyper pink i.e. Spank girls…

then we have the hipster types who don’t decorate themselves with stuff instead they try to be avant-garde and subvert the trends and have a little message.

There is also the famed Ganguro girls of Shibuya

who over tan themselves and where crazy make up and dance para para….there are also sub tribes of Ganguro…surfer ganguro, lilo and stitch ganguro, hibiscus ganguro (pictured) or a mixture of all 3, Barbie gunguro, hip hop gunguro…sooo many more to mention.

Gothic Lolita’s

are also famous in the west, in Japan it is often called maid style or goth lol (I was told my work clothes were too maid style on numerous occasions in Japan, by staff and students alike! Seriously I was just wearing a white pussy bow blouse and a black high waisted skirt, classy normal office wear in Australia, but in Japan I was made to feel like a freak cos of it…I’m sorry I can’t wear a normal office shirt without wanting to kill my self)

Anyway that is a kinda long rant about the different styles in Tokyo…There are soooo many more but it’s too many to mention.

Anyway as I was saying Decora is all but dead, but in the west it is the look we think of when we think of Harajuku or Tokyo fashion (no thanks to Gwen Stefani either). So these windows were obviously done by someone who hasn’t been to Tokyo, or hasn’t been back in 10 years. I kinda find it offensive that they have used cheap looking synthetic wigs…People in Tokyo would not be seen dead with that hair…sure they would do the colour but never synthetic hair. The hair in Tokyo is amazing. I also find it funny how they have put those scooters in the windows too…those scooters from around 2000 that were super popular for like a minute…is that what they think people in Tokyo use every day? Or is it to make it look “futuristic”??? People in Tokyo ride bicycles, very beautiful retro look bicycles often called mama chari’s. Much cooler than some shitty fold up scooter.

Each window does seem to be about one of the many looks, or tribes that I described, but it’s really hard to tell exactly what look it is.

I do see Spank in this look, but only because of the colours, the wig is too fake for them to wear and the shape of the dress is too form fitting…(another Japanese thing is to wear really reallllllly baggy clothes compared to what we wear in the west).

This look would be maybe regular Tokyo people, except they wouldn’t have green hair and the skirt would be much, much shorter and the socks thigh high (it was kinda hard to get used to this kinda prostitute look that is considered classy and done by nearly every girl on the street…Henry loved it however…)

Maybe this is a high school girl in Tokyo look? It is kinda truthful if that’s the case because they do mix preppy with cutesiness, but the silver American apparel leggings wouldn’t be worn by this tribe at all. That’s more of a hipster party girl item.

I think this is meant to be goth lol…but yeah they would wear the leggings but with a big puffy skirt. It’s too body conscious for a goth lol.

Is this meant to be gunguro? It does look like something that belongs at 109 in Shibuya (ganguro shopping mall) but again the hair is too synthetic and skirts too long (the sexy part of a woman in Japan is her legs and feet seeing as they don’t really have big tits over there…that’s why the skirts are often more like belts and shoes rarely have anything covering the ankle and if it does have an ankle strap they will just put their foot on top of it…it scares me seeing them walk around with 5 inch heels and no ankle support walking on cobblestone streets)

The boys look is ok as I can imagine a boy in Tokyo wearing that but again without the hair. He would defiantly have a man bag though and in summer a parasol (men in Tokyo are soooo girly compared to here in Australia…a man in Australia will never carry a parasol, or a fan but nearly every guy in summer does over there…the man bag trend though is catching on here, but not really handbags like the men in Tokyo wear…oh and their not gay “there is no gay in Japan” is what my Japanese housemate likes to say nearly everyday, I know this to be very untrue as I met a lot of gay Japanese men and spent a lot of time in Tokyo’s gay district Shinjuku Ni Chome…the sad thing is though a lot of them wont tell their family’s or work places for fear of being ostracised and some of them are even married. In so many ways Japanese society is like the 1950’s in Australia, homophobic, racist (to Koreans and Chinese) and sexist (the glass ceiling really has not been broken or even scratched here yet with most women preferring to be an OL or office lady whose job it is to get tea and other meaningless tasks and then they will become a housewife as the woman’s place is still thought of as in the kitchen in Japan…In Australia I have never ever heard anyone say “I want to be a housewife” but maybe 1 in 3 of my students would say that…it was quite a shock)

Ok well another rant by me means I am done for the day. I am maybe being too harsh on these windows, but if they did them a little better I would be super excited.

Hayley x

P.S. Oh and all photos were taken by me except the Ganguro photo (I couldnt find my own photo, its on a disk somewhere!) and also the David Jones photo because I forgot to take a photo myself...Thanks google image search.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. Such a great in depth post.


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