Akamoji-kei (literally: Red-letter style) is a fashion subculture that is more accepted by the mainstream. Akamoji appeals to young office ladies (OL) and female college students and is characterized by its conservative style. It is often worn by women in their early 20s. It is a style that is thought to be popular with men. Despite being conservative, it’s far from being outdated and is considered elegant. The name akamoji comes from the five magazines which were first known for their red title on the cover page. However it can be said that it has been on a decline since the bubble economy burst. Nowadays it has somewhat mixed with gyaru, creating onee-kei.
Today, I wanted to introduce the concept of Akamoji-kei and Aomoji-kei. Now you may ask, what the heck is that? It is a concept that not many people outside of Japan know of. Based on research and my own understanding, I hope to give you a greater understanding these concepts. This is a two-part piece so I’ll be doing the currently popular Aomoji-kei.
Aomoji-kei (literally: Blue-letter style) is a fashion subculture that is influenced by the trends in Harajuku. It is a casual yet girl fashion. However it also prides itself as being radical and creative. It is opposite to the conservative and elegant akamoji kei. As such, it appeals to women rather than men. The term was coined by Asobi System’s Yusuke Nakagawa. Rather than Shibuya which influences the notorious gyaru-kei, Aomoji-kei sticks close to Harajuku. The differences in the reader models can be seen between the two styles. Gyaru models tend to brimming with energy and always show a smiling face. While Aomoji-kei models tend to show off their duck lips and look expressionless.
So in simpler terms, Aomoji-kei is more about dressing the way you want as opposed to what society thinks looks good. It’s about moving against the mainstream trends rather than with it. People who are part of this subculture tend to switch between many styles. So girl into dolly-kei might wear fairy-kei the next day. It’s all about self-expression. It become popular in 2011 with the rise of representative model Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who made her major singing debut.
Popteen July 2013, June 2013 and May 2013
And the magazine of the week is, Popteen! ‘Japanese magazine of the week’ or JMofW, is where I will feature one Japanese magazine a week as the name states. for the chosen magazine, you will find: basic information, who the popular models of the magazine are, the style and even scans from the latest issue. It’s my way of spreading Japanese fashion to the masses.
When I first got interested in gyaru back in ‘06, it was all research. Besides Egg, Popteen was my book. I loved to dig through the various sites to catch glimpses of Tsubasa Masuwaka rocking the latest style at the time. Over the years, people have said it’s no longer gyaru. But I disagree, it’s just a different form of gyaru, maybe leaning more towards mainstream. But they regularly talk about gyaru fashion within its pages.
Last time we looked at the Fairy-kei subculture. However, in keeping with the spirit of Harajuku fashion, we will be looking at Dolly-kei.
Dolly-kei is a Japanese fashion style, similar to fairy-kei, is inspired by the preceding eras. In this case, the Victorian era. It draws inspiration from antique dolls and clothing; and the old fashion of eastern Europe. According to Tokyo Fashion, the used clothes are a mixture of bohemian, gypsy, eastern European costumes and fairy tales. The style has ties to the Cult Party Kei and Mori Girl fashion as well. There is a lot less focus on the brands so it’s not surprising that there’s not many brand stores that cater to this style alone.
arajuku is seen as the focal point of Japanese fashion to many people in and outside of Japan. In fact many foreign designers take inspiration from what they on the streets of Harajuku. Recently there are two styles that are booming, ‘Fairy-kei’ and ‘Dolly-kei’. ‘Kei’ is Japanese for style, so in essence, its fairy style and dolly style. With my articles on the two styles, I hope to show how they differ and even common trends between the two styles. Today we’ll be focusing on Fairy-kei .
Fairy-kei is a style that we can say plays on our nostalgia today. It heavily takes inspiration from American pop culture of the 80s and early 90s. One of the other defining factors of fairy-kei is the array of colors. The colors usually stay on the side of pastels and bright fluorescents. It is a very colourful and whimsical style of dress with very poppy-cute elements. Just looking at it could give you a cavity. According to the fairykei community on livejournal: “This fashion is pretty open to interpretation so long as one sticks to the color scheme of pastels and neons, as well as creating that unicorn-inspired 80s fairy feeling. It can easily be combined with other fashions such as lolita or decora.”