Arama They Didn't

11:10 am - 01/05/2013

What's been in: Japan’s fashion trends of 2012

What was cool – or perhaps more importantly, cute – in 2012? Here are our top picks.

Neko girls

What would a year in Japan be without a newly coined look? This one isn’t exactly head to toe, like say the yama girls of years past. Its pièce de résistance is a hairstyle: the neko-mimi (cat ears), which basically involves twisting and rolling two chunks of hair to resemble cat ears. Then you can wear whatever you like with it, so long as it’s cute. Because cats are cute.

R25 cites model/fashion blogger/pop singer and official Kawaii Harajuku Ambassador (an honor bestowed by the mayor of Shibuya Ward) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as the inspiration. Ms. Pamyu is known for her wacky looks and has also appeared with her hair twisted to resemble devil horns and bat wings. But it was the cat ears that caught on, perhaps because it’s the only style that can realistically be done at home. A neko girl website is packed with do-it-yourself tips and cute pose suggestions.

It’s not just the hair though. Samuel Thomas, Japan Times fashion columnist and Tokyo Telephone editor, told us that anything with cat ears – like hats, headbands and hoodies – were big sellers this year.

Tattoo stockings

Cat mania aside, the hit item for 2012 was without a doubt tattoo stockings. Interesting, considering that real tattoos will still get you banned from most public bathhouses (meaning they are still largely associated with the yakuza). However, these stockings, usually nude, are decorated with images that more resemble Western-style tattoos (also called “fashion tattoos” in Japan) – hearts and butterflies and Ed Hardy-like biker designs, for example. Too bad, because some full on irezumi-style tattoo stockings would be pretty cool.

Samuel also tipped us off to the origin of this one, citing Avantgarde, a small boutique in Harajuku, as the locus of the tattoo stocking trend. According to Trendy magazine, Avantgarde has sold almost half a million pairs since September 2011. Their sales on shopping site Rakuten for June through August 2012 were 200 times greater than sales during the same period of the previous year. During summer, really? As it gets colder, we’re seeing the same concept with white or gold patterns on black tights. Not quite the same double-take effect, but a clear evolution of the idea.

Naturally, it’s possible to combine the above two trends and get cat tattoo stockings. Also a DIY way to make your own tattoo stockings.

Nameko goods

The most popular smart phone game in Japan is called Nameko Saibai Kit (literally “mushroom cultivation kit”). Yes, a simulated mushroom farm. But the mushrooms are, apparently, cute, and have launched a “star” character – the first to come out of a smart phone game.

The game, a free download from Beeworks Games, debuted in June 2011 as a spin-off of another popular game, Touch Detective  (the main character in that has a pet mushroom who helps solve puzzles); to keep things interesting, new seasonal versions are added regularly.

According to Trendy – which ranks nameko goods as the #7 hit product of 2012 – there are now some 50 companies licensed to make mushroom mobile phone accessories, stationery, stuffed animals, etc. In total there are about 800 different goods on the market. Events this past spring to promote new items, at shops like KiddyLand in Harajuku, drew lines with waits of over an hour. Perhaps watching mushrooms grow is good training for patiently waiting in line?


What are your favorite fashion trends recently, anywhere? What fashion trends would you want to go away.

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exdream1999 5th-Jan-2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
My fav. trend still is loose blouses/button down shirts, because it means I can buy shirts that fit in my shoulder and still button over my boobs.

My other one was cat print/face anything. I still need to find some cat print bottoms so I can be terrible tacky one day and where cat from head to toe.
dearmisterecho 5th-Jan-2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
I dunno how I ended up doing it, but I now have a good 2-3 dresses with cats on them.

And I'm much more of a dog person XD
dearmisterecho 5th-Jan-2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Neko mimi are cute but way too mendokusai for me to bother doing on myself

I like the tattoo stockings, but I'm not even going to touch them because it defeats the purpose if the design is all stretched out and wonky -_- /big jogging calves

And Nameko is so ugly to me, I do NOT get the appeal at all.

I saw in the latest Vivi that 90s fashion might be coming back..*crosses fingers*
exdream1999 5th-Jan-2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Hasn't 90's fashion already made a comeback?

Or this a certain 90's trend making it's reappearance?
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
soundczech 5th-Jan-2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
my friends all refer to nameko as "penis monster". some of the line stickers look so sketchy.
lovelycandygirl 5th-Jan-2013 03:59 pm (UTC)
I just wear what I want to wear and stick to that.
eevaleena 5th-Jan-2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
Same ^^
godsgirl7 5th-Jan-2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
I've seen those Nameko things everywhere but I totally didn't know they came from a cell phone game LOL

I'll be sticking with Rilakkuma, kthnx ♥
minbbobbo 5th-Jan-2013 04:29 pm (UTC)
These Tattoo stockings look so cool!
Need to find some~
isinuyasha 5th-Jan-2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
I like the lady like fashion right now, as well as the chic style...
Not the extreme cutesy stuff I tend to go for Korean fashion.
crumplelush 5th-Jan-2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
I love the cat ear hair design but I have short hair so couldn't do it myself.
helenmaldon 5th-Jan-2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
LOL mushroom cultivation DOES sound surprisingly cute! :D
In the US (Midwest), I like the trends for lace-like stuff and wearing colorful/patterned pants...what I wish would go away is pants as leggings! I know this complaint makes me sound like an old person, but it still bothers me. I don't care if people wear leggings with a longer shirt, sweater, or dress, but when I can see absolutely everything, I feel like we've all just given up on the concept of pants xD
potetofurai 6th-Jan-2013 01:53 am (UTC)
Wanting people to stop wearing leggings as pants doesn't make you sound like an old person; it makes you sound like a person with taste. It is not a good trend at all. Every time I feel like not wearing pants and just leggings I just put on a pair of short shorts and I'm fine!
blackdevil2722 5th-Jan-2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so in love with tattoo stockings, just had to stock up a couple while I was down at Harajuku 2 weeks ago.

Neko-mimi hairbands were pretty popular this year too me thinks. Along with dip-dye hair and platform shoes. Ah, gotta love Japanese fashion.
love323able 5th-Jan-2013 05:50 pm (UTC)

i really like these tattoo stockings XD
arashi popcorn version lmao
arara_chan 5th-Jan-2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
OMG They are amazing!! :D
jlie_ly 5th-Jan-2013 06:06 pm (UTC)
I've been obsessed with wedge sneakers lately XD (not the chunky ones tho) choose the right pair and them match everything perfectly <3
baka_tenshi 5th-Jan-2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
i love the tattoo stockings! it's so cute!
shining_lore 6th-Jan-2013 12:07 am (UTC)
I'm actually digging those tattoo stockings. Pulling out my old Fruits book tbh.
tomoeicemaiden 6th-Jan-2013 12:25 am (UTC)
I'd like to try the nekomimi hairstyle for a night out on the town :)
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