Monday, 6 December 2010

Western mainstream fashion vs. Japanese Gal fashion ( a Hipster rant!)

I've never been fashionable, but there have been times in my life when I've enjoyed British fashion. However, the Vintage and Hipster fashions which have become more and more popular have driven me closer and closer to Asian fashions, especially Gal.

Edit: I think I need to clarify this post a bit. It's completely my own personal opinion. Please keep in mind, just because I intensely dislike something, doesn't mean I think everyone should or that thing is in some way inferior.

Edit2: I love that Blogspot tells you which keywords have brought people to your blog from Google. I got a hit for the search term "i hate western fashion" which amused me very much. Wonder if the person found what they were looking for :p

Rant and pics inside.

The current fashionable look in Britain (and going by Lookbook and webstores, the USA as well) is what I'd call Vintage Hipster. The idea seems to be to look pale and malnourished, not particularly clean, and like you found all your clothes in an old wardrobe somewhere. Don't get me wrong, I've seen people rock this look, but it's seeming so overdone recently. And it's not my taste. Edit: For examples of Hipster done well, check out Lookbook and visit the 'hot' page.

Lets start with the face. Asos is a British hipster brand which seems to be popular in the US as well. Rejeuna is a cheap Gal brand. Both these photos are catalogue pics for winter goods, but there's quite a contrast. Asos girl looks pale and miserable, while Rejeuna model Kanya looks warm and happy. Asos girl's hair looks dirty and unkempt, her make up very subtle and her brows are enormous, which is fine on the beautiful model, but it wouldn't be fine on just any girl. Kanya's hair and make up would flatter nearly anyone.

So from this pic, I get a feeling that hipster fashion is only for pretty people whereas gal is for everyone.

Lets have a look at Gal's take on vintage. On the left we have Zara, a popular European brand. The model is extremely thin, but if I imagine myself wearing these skintight cords it frightens me. The Liz Lisa pants have a more relaxed fit and a cute ruffle detail.

Here is a comparison which isn't very factual, it's simply to show what pops into my head when I think of these two styles: baggy, manly and unflattering vs. cute, girly and playful.
The Zara outfit just looks so miserable. Like the actual clothes are sad. I know we are in a recession and Japan is not, but do we have to show our misery in our clothes?

A quick beige bag comparison. The Topshop bag is vintage-style and rather masculine, whereas the Cecil McBee bag is definitely for girls only.

And since beige is big this season, here's beige skirts too. I won't add a comment, I think the fact Topshop is selling this skirt to teenage girls says more than I could.

Playsuits/all-in-ones/onepieces/jumpsuits/salopette, whatever you call them, are popular everywhere. In Gal, having dark eyebrows with light hair is a big faux pas, but Asos girl wears her dark eyebrows with pride. I'd expect it to be quite difficult to make a playsuit masculine, but Asos have managed. Look how thin the model is in the arms, but still looks bulky in the body due to to the thick leather. The Cecil McBee salopette on the other hand may not be practical for winter, but it's adorable and is brightened up with a pink fox tail. I'm anti real fur, so I wouldn't buy this item myself, but it's cute.

Winter puffa coats. Paul & Joe want £415 for this ugly unflattering coat. The Cocolulu one is still expensive, but it is a brand after all :)

I wonder how many people I offended here. I guess my main issue with the hipster fashion is as I mentioned above- it seems so exclusive by only suiting the thinnest and the prettiest yet I feel like it's all the UK shops sell. Gal on the other hand, is flattering to the face, and while it's sometimes hard to find Japanese clothes in larger sizes, it is possible to dress Gal while having an ordinary, healthy figure.

After all that negativity, here's some stuff I love this winter. Click to view it full size :)

I'll make sure the next post is positive to balance this one out!


  1. i agree with you girl! I'm getting really sick of the uk trends that are a poor version of the ones in tokyo!

  2. I'm not offended, but I will say this (and perhaps you will agree with me on some points, and maybe I'm saying things that aren't really necessary):

    You are comparing two very different types of fashion, meant for different types of people (and made by people from different parts of the world). Everyone has their preferences, but that doesn't make one better than the other.

    You say a lot of things like:
    "I get a feeling that hipster fashion is only for pretty people whereas gal is for everyone."

    Really? That isn't true, on both ends. Anybody can dress in any fashion they want, if the try and look for it. It's not the size or the face, it's the attitude and the air about it. And Gal isn't going to work for everyone--it might not really fit certain people and they might not feel comfortable it (well, I guess that's obvious). But, what you say at the end is true for both types of fashion!

    "I'd expect it to be quite difficult to make a playsuit masculine"

    This is something a bit different, but that reminds me of a workman's jumpsuit, just as shorts. I agree it's ugly.

    Also, both of those coats are ugly. The one on the left is restricting and dull, while the one on the right looks like a trash bag with roadkill sewn to the hood.

    And do you think there's something negative about being pale and wearing masculine clothing? Other than it not being very gyaru.

    Anyway, no hard feelings towards you.

  3. The Zara vs Buzz Spunky picture is my favourite, it really proves the difference in the 2 styles of the countries
    I'd wear Buzz Spunky over that Zara outfit any day Gal or not! XD

  4. I completely agree.

    Being in the UK myself, I hate looking around me and seeing clones! I don't wear gal myself, but I'd much prefer to see a gal while walking down the street than yet another boring person with no personality! XD

  5. You have no idea how long and often I've been saying this. I don't actually mind others dressing like this, what bothers ME is that in the stores that's the only think they're selling; hipster stuff. If I want to go and find some gyaru-able stuff I have to turn to only ONE shop. That's seriously depressing. Also I hate if you don't dress like everyone else and follow gyaru style, you're looked as a bimbo and shit while I feel like 90% of the hipster girls are fucking bitchy to the max. Well in Norway anyways.

    It's also kind of depressing for me since my boyfriend kind of likes that hipster look and tells me sometimes I wear too little clothes and too much kind of sucks.

  6. I agree with you sooo much, especially the ''baggy, manly and unflattering vs. cute, girly and playful'' part.

    I live in Europe (Germany), and while we do have some cute clothes around here, it's mainly that baggy, serious, unflattering stuff around here.
    I don't get why we don't have more variety here.
    Do they think cute, girly clothes won't sell well here??

  7. Megan: Thanks for your comment, and actually I agree with nearly everything you said.

    "Everyone has their preferences, but that doesn't make one better than the other."
    I'm sorry it sounded like I was saying that, because it's REALLY not what I meant. What I meant was "I like one of these and dislike the other" and NOT "this one is better than this one." I think I will edit to try and make this clearer :)

    The post is all my personal opinion, and I understand that other people enjoy this fashion a lot, just as I enjoy Gyaru.

    "Anybody can dress in any fashion they want, if the try and look for it."
    I actually have to agree with you. My comment was a personal rant. It's extremely difficult for me to find clothes here in the UK, I feel everything is targeted to this one style and one size. So what I said is personal frustration, not a general statement.

    "And do you think there's something negative about being pale and wearing masculine clothing? Other than it not being very gyaru."
    I don't think there's anything negative about it, as long as I have the choice not to have this style myself! :)

  8. OMG I so agree with you! Thanks so much for finally saying something about the fashions. I am from America and it's the same hipster style problem. It is getting really annoying! I personally think it's so not cute. But I do agree that it looks good and stylish on certain people who really know the style. But the style isn't for everyone and most of the stores are only selling that style. Which I am so annoyed with because I personally don't like the style. Another thing that bothers me about the hipster style is In their collections/look book pictures, their hair is really dirty looking and I don't like the makeup at all. It really has made me love gyaru so much more!

  9. 100% agree, seriously a dowdy below the knee brown pencil skirt to teenage girls.

    Sometimes I wonder if the so called trends here are even worth looking at. Still can't forgive the jeggings phase.

  10. in my opinion, out of the two pictures you've presented, i prefer:
    1st picture - asos
    2nd picture - liz lisa
    3rd picture - zara
    4th picture - topshop
    5th picture - liz lisa
    6th picture - cecil mcbee
    7th picture - cocolulu
    i don't agree with everything you've said but i guess that's a matter of opinion, but i believe there's good points and bad points of both western mainstream fashion and japanese gal fashion. however, isn't it a bit biased for you to criticise western mainstream fashion since you consider yourself to be a 'UK gyaru'? i myself like a bit of both worlds! ^^
    this was a really interesting post, comparing two completely contrasting fashion. i look forward to seeing more posts like this from you! (if this comment seems offensive, then sorry, i don't meant to be >.<)

  11. Ugh I hate this "vintage" crap we have here in England lol. My sister loves it, she goes to jumble sales and stuff all the time...It just makes girls look really masculine like you mentioned above!

  12. Oh this kinda reminds me of my post I did about Minnesota fashion. It's like these western clothes are meant to be trendy but they just lack details and flair. I think the Paul&Joe vs. CocoLulu coats illustrate that perfectly! I just love that Japanese gyaru clothing seems to have more though put into the design.

    Those Zara tight pants are giving the model a camel toe...if that doesn't drive you away, I don't know what will haha!

  13. gyc: I wish I could find the appeal in both as well, it would make shopping in England a lot easier!

  14. Agree agree agree could not say anything else!!! Love you, girl!

  15. This post is so interesting! I would have to agree with a lot of it... especially the part where hipster style seems to be more suited for the really skinny people.

    I always thought webshops from Japan are great because their models actually look HAPPY wearing the clothes.

  16. Lol, this article made me laugh. But its kinda true, UK fashion is dark and dull, especially now that its Autumn. I'm not exactly gal style, but I love colour and cute things, but all my friends laugh and call me gay :( When I try this UK current trend, I look like a old lady :( It just doesn't look right.

  17. I really don't see many people running around in this fashion in the states, which is probably a good thing! The clothes look really washed out, and in some cases, just unflattering to the body.

    The eyebrow thing I guess is just how it's done here and the UK, isn't it? I never really thought about that! Thanks to watching too much ANTM though, I'm starting to find an attraction to matching eyebrows with hair, or even lighter eyebrows to hair color. I've been wanting to make my hair lighter actually since my eyebrows are naturally so dark too haha.

    I also just noticed the prices of the last jackets (the left being my reference to "unflattering" btw)! I never understood how such (my choice word) ugly clothes can be marked up so high.... I really don't see how anyone can be offended if it's just your opinion. I don't even know what the styles around here are like; I haven't been to a mall in a long while (let alone a clothes shop!) Thank you G-MARKET! ;)

    I kind of want to take a trip to the mall now just so I can check out the styles here in comparison to Japanese or British styles. ^^

    And of course I'll let you know how the pants are when they come!! They were really affordable too, only $20 a pair! :D

  18. hi! :)
    ur post give me the idea to made a comparison with italian and japanes clothes :)
    btw, i like ur blog and style and now i'm a follower :) kisses!! :)

  19. edit: i can't follow u :(
    i dunno why, google only say this: Google
    Request-URI Too Large
    The requested URL /accounts/SetSID... is too large to process.