In Japanese street fashion, incorporating your favorite anime characters into your outfit is common place. Whether it be official merchandise or just an artistic rendition, anime and manga are a popular way for Japanese youth to spice up their style.
One of the more extreme instances comes from the substyle Decora, in which an abundance of colors and accessories create a stimulating layer of flare that completely coats the wearer. And some design their outfits to entirely revolve around their favorite characters. Two of Harujuku’s most well-known Decoras that go by Mepura and Creamy Sauce are a prime example of how fashion can used to declare your passion for anime.
While anime’s influence on fashion might be overly apparent on the streets of Tokyo, what about the rest of the world? Anime has been prevalent in more places than just street style as more and more brands have picked on the anime trend both in and outside of Japan. Anime is used to inspire and advertise fashion around the world. Here are just a few examples:
Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami
In 2002, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami collaborated with Louis Vuitton to re-envision their signature handbags. The result is the rainbow design against white leather that you’ve probably seen carried on the street sometime in the past decade. A limited addition line of handbags more closely suited to Murakami’s style were also released.
Takashi Murakami is one of Japan’s most influential contemporary artists and has referenced anime and manga as one of his main inspirations. That inspiration breathed a new life into one of fashion’s oldest brands.
Gucci and Hirohiko Araki
Gucci collaborated with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure creator, Hirohiko Araki to promote there 2013 Spring Cruise Collection. The result was a manga spread in Japanese Fashion Magazine Spur featuring characters wearing the collection. Complete with manga themed store decor, this promotional campaign had international press and manga fans buzzing.
Anna Sui and 7 Manga
So anime and manga have been used as inspiration and advertising for fashion but what about influencing the design of the product itself? In 2015 American designer Anna Sui created a series of shirts and accessories that payed homage to 7 different Manga series: Urusei Yatsura, Rose of Versailles, Unico, Princess Jellyfish, Paradise Kiss, Patalliro!, and Princess Knight.
So enough about high fashion bags and brands that break the bank. Fashion is more than runways and $100 t-shirts. For the average consumer anime is infiltrating your closet in less flashy ways. For Japanese consumers a full wardrobe is available from anime franchises like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Sailor Moon (even down to your underwear). However, even the international market is hopping onto the anime trend.
H&M released two sweaters that pay tribute to otaku culture in its North American stores in 2015, one featuring an anime girl and the other the phrase “Kawaii Cutie”. H&M is one of biggest clothing companies in the world and represents main stream fashion. All the while smaller brands like Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters have already been selling anime apparel for years.
It seems that anime and manga have transcended the nerd niche and found a new home in American shopping malls and designer boutiques, not just in the streets of Harujyuku. Anime and manga are gaining influence in all levels of the fashion world and that influence is only going to keep growing.
Tokyo Fashion for street fashion photography
[This post was originally posted: Aug, 12th 2015 on the Otaple 1/2 Tumblr]