The kids aren’t all right. A cocktail of social uncertainties has provoked the youth culture fashion in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood to reach a beige fever pitch.
Observers say Instagram selfies have made street peacocking an unnecessary pursuit. Cyberbullying has made young, impressionable style-boppers hesitant to try risky looks. And Olympic construction — where Tokyo-ites are sometimes directed a mile underground to exit major subway stations — has made Japanese avant-garde ephemera (platform shoes, diaphanous skirts) untenable for pedestrian life.
Said designer Mikio Sakabe: “Before the Internet, people felt like they could be special in their own way. They could be a punk or Lolita and do as they wish. Nowadays it’s very difficult to be special. If they want to be themselves, they can’t. Now they have to be with the society.”
Tokyo-based fashion designer Yoshikazu Yamagata, of the brand Writtenafterwards, has noticed the slowdown. “It’s a little bit quiet right now, 10 years ago the street fashion was more energetic,” he said.
Japanese schoolgirls would at one time relish the opportunity to change out of their uniforms and into individualized, eccentric looks. No quantity of necklaces too excessive, no hair color too eccentric, and no petticoat too full. But the counterculture-inclined have now exchanged
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