Cute Can Be Cool Too
The 2018 spring/summer fashion week officially kicked off (and ended) in New York last week. Other major cities like London, Milan, and Paris will soon follow. While I did not have the privilege to attend a fashion show (someday, fingers crossed), I did obsessively check the reports on popular trends next season and, of course, the fashion week that happens outside of fashion shows—street style.
Fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle compile shots of women showing off their carefully put-together outfits during fashion week every season. When I look through the photos, I see beautiful girls experimenting with colors and styles that would normally be considered outlandish. (You wouldn’t wear a black velvet cape with gold Chinese-style buttons that reaches your knee to work.) What I also see, however, is a uniform definition of what’s cool and fashionable.
Yes, a track jacket paired with an ankle-length pleated skirt is provocative. Yes, a silk pajama-style dress seems daring. But they are all the same in the sense that they all exemplify this one ‘cool’ style model dominated by blazers, black high-heel ankle/knee-high boots, button-down shirts, and pencil skirts. In other words, it’s the style you see in ZARA and H&M.
That’s partly why I adore Japanese kawaii/gyaru (Japanese for girl) fashion. Unlike this ‘cool’ style that’s everywhere, there is just nothing like the clothes from brands like LIZ LISA and MILK. Sure, a few labels like Kate Spade and Moschino specialize in cuter styles. Even the designs from these brand, however, lean towards the clean, ‘cool’ look. For example, LIZ LISA dresses often have frills, but I don’t think I have ever seen any on a Kate Spade dress.
Kawaii fashion has a unique dreamy quality to it, like something that belongs in fairy tales and story books. Take the LIZ LISA check top and skirt I’m featuring this week as an example. Check is a classic print that nearly all designers around the world have an iteration of, especially for fall. You won’t, however, be able to find anything that looks similar to LIZ LISA’s version of it because the designers added unique touches of ribbons and accessories to this outfit. When you wear LIZ LISA, you feel like you’re wearing something one-of-a-kind.
I like the traditional ‘cool’ style too sometimes, particularly for work. I just think we need to expand that definition of ‘cool’ and include kawaii fashion into the fold, especially in fashion magazines. There is certainly a longing for kawaii style, evident in the fact that I get asked a lot about where I get my clothes on the street. I also see a lot of young girls being fascinated by my kawaii outfits. I hope I encourage them to wear kawaii clothes, or styles that they feel drawn to, regardless of what other people say. When you wear something you feel good about, you feel more confident. It’s as simple as that.
That’s also the mission of Everyday Kawaii. I’m not sure how I can contribute to that movement yet, but I will continue to work hard and hope to spread the word of and interest in kawaii fashion!