Japanese Su, and Bouchet (2016), choosing a

Japanese
street fashion thrived in this modern world; however, this aesthetics cannot become
a mainstream in society. This subculture has been discussed by several scholars
and media internationally and constantly comes under fire domestically. Due to this
phenomenon, one of the street fashion styles, Kogyaru and Lolita, will be
discussed.

       

        The meaning of fashion is not only an
expression of aesthetics but also a symbol which is carrying people’s notions
and identities (Kawamura, 2006). “A fragmented, heterogeneous and
individualistic stylistic identification” and the freedom of self-expression
(Muggleton, 2002), the messages, which are expressed by the raging fanatics of
subculture, also exists in street fashion because it is one of the subcultures.
According to Badaoui, Lebrun, Su, and Bouchet (2016), choosing a suitable
fashion style for themselves is a process of self-categorization. People will
try to identify which style and notions are suitable to their values and
identities, then try to adopt it. Through those symbols, people can find out the
peers who have close perspectives and sense of fashion. They separated their
fashion style from others, create their group identity, have a sense of
belonging and collective esteem (Schiele, Venkatesh, Alladi, Graham, John,
& Lau-Gesk, Loraine, 2012).

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Kogyaru
is a generation identity (Jiratanatiteenun, Mizutani, Kitaguchi, Sato &
Kajiwara, 2012). In the mid-1960s, the female fashion sense was not categorized
by class or age, but in the 1990s, Kogyaru wanted to rebel against the parent
culture, distinguish themselves from the seniors. Thus, they established their
own fashion style to separate the age groups. Those high school girls
discovered the sailor-style school uniform, which means Seifuku, is symbolic of
adolescent girls. So, they usually wore the short skirts which are similar to
school uniform, “loose socks” to show that they are different from adult women.
In Japan, adulthood is representing a lifestyle of hardworking, having a
responsibility and duty to society (Hinton, 2013). The Japanese adolescents are
having a negative notion of being an adult. When teenage girls dress up as
Kogyaru, they may create a self-esteem, because they are not belonging to the
adult age group who are loathed by teenagers. Since Kogyaru is representing a
sense of trendy and fashionable (Jiratanatiteenun el at., 2012), which is the
“individualistic” and “stylistic” identification, being a Kogyaru may also
generate a collective esteem.

 

        Kogyaru is usually hanging out at
Shibuya station (Jiratanatiteenun el at., 2012), the clothing style is a symbol
of Kogyaru’s group identity. They can easily find the like-minded person and
have a social interaction. Through the uniqueness of fashion style, the
self-worth and collective esteem may be enhanced. Since they are different from
the ordinary citizens, they may feel they are special and attractive. Yet they
may not satisfy with the dissimilar appearance; therefore, Kogyaru created a
unique language and called “Gyaru Moji” (Miller, 2004). For instance, “?????”, means extremely cute,
in Gyaru Moji became “??????”. These linguistic
forms are constructing their individualism and the sense of belonging, since
their languages are uniqueness and not understandable to society, just for the
Kogyaru’s group. This language reinforces the group identity of Kogyaru and the
collective esteem.

 

        Lolita, another street fashion in Japan,
is a traditional feminine identity and a liberation. The appearance of Lolita
is dressing up like a Victorian doll, with pale skin, knee length dress,
knee-high socks, and blouse. Lolita should be cute, elegant, and exquisite.
According to Kawamura’s (2012) interview, one of the Lolita said that when she
dresses Lolita, she feels like a princess and treated like a true lady. This
dialog reveals that Lolita is a symbol of femininity. Also, other interviewees
describe that when she wears Lolita, she feels free and is expressing her
real-self, another contends that although her parents and boyfriend do not like
Lolita, she still dressing up. The revelation of these conversations is an
occurrence of liberation. Muggleton (2002) demonstrate the definition of
liberation, a freedom to express oneself when the habit or behavior is
prohibited by social norm. They do not care others’ perspectives, just express
their desire of pursuing own aesthetics.

 

The
adolescent girls in Lolita usually hang out with their peers on the bridge near
Harajuku Station, where is the territory of subcultural groups, they may meet
others with the same interest and form a group. They have their own website
forum, like “Komica”, to discuss the brands, style, and events, provide a place
for them to communicate with a group of people who are having the same idea and
thought, enhance their self-worth. In addition, they created some short forms
combined with English and Japanese, such as “??JSK”, “NOP” and “BL”, which are changeable jumper
skirt, no sleeve one piece and blouse respectively. The uniqueness of language
used is also helping to construct a stronger group identity. When they use
their own language to communicate with others’ Lolita, the individualism will
be echoing them and build up a sense of belonging and reinforce their social
identity.

 

        To be concluded, fashion is a symbol for
subculturalists to identify the like-minded people and establish their own
cultural groups, by holding the creations of unique languages and forums to
reinforce the group identity.

 

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