80’s Japan Fashion: The Bold and Colorful Style of Tokyo’s Streets 2024

Are you captivated by the vibrant and eclectic fashion trends of the past, particularly the 80’s Japan Fashion scene? You’re not alone; I’m right there with you!

Like you, I’m drawn to the unparalleled creativity and boldness of that era.

It was a time when Japanese designers revolutionized fashion with their fearless and unique styles.

If you’re a fashion aficionado or just curious about cultural trends of yesteryears, I’m excited to take you on a journey into the heart of 80’s Japan fashion.

Ready to delve into this fascinating world? Let’s dive in and explore the fashion revolution of 80’s Japan together! 🙂

80’s Japan Fashion: The Rise of Street Fashion

As I look back at the 80’s Japan Fashion, I can’t help but feel excited about the explosion of street fashion in Japan.

During this time, young people in Tokyo began to express themselves through their clothing, creating unique and eclectic styles that were a reflection of their individuality.

Here are two key areas: Shibuya and Harajuku, and the birth of Decora:

Shibuya and Harajuku

Shibuya and Harajuku were the epicenters of street fashion in the 80’s Japan Fashion. These areas were home to countless boutiques and shops that catered to young people looking to express themselves through fashion.

The streets were filled with people wearing bold and colorful outfits, mixing and matching different styles and patterns to create something entirely new.

One of the most popular styles in Shibuya and Harajuku was known as “Cosplay.” This style involved dressing up as characters from anime, manga, and video games.

People would spend hours creating elaborate costumes and accessories, and then head out onto the streets to show off their creations.

Birth of Decora

Another style that emerged during the 80’s Japan Fashion was Decora. This style was all about bright colors, bold patterns, and lots of accessories.

People would wear multiple layers of clothing, with each layer featuring a different pattern or color.

They would also wear lots of jewelry, hair accessories, and other decorations to complete their look.

The birth of Decora was a response to the strict dress codes that were enforced in Japanese schools.

Young people wanted to rebel against these rules and express themselves through their clothing. Decora allowed them to do just that, creating a style that was uniquely Japanese and incredibly creative.

The rise of street fashion in Japan during the 80’s Japan Fashion was a reflection of the country’s youth culture.

Young people wanted to break free from the strict social norms that had been imposed on them, and express themselves in new and exciting ways.

Shibuya and Harajuku, along with the birth of Decora, were key factors in this movement, creating a fashion revolution that would continue to influence the world for years to come.

Iconic Pop Culture Influence

As a fashion enthusiast, I cannot talk about 80’s Japan Fashion without mentioning its iconic pop culture influence.

The 80s was a decade of vibrant and bold fashion, and Japan’s pop culture played a significant role in shaping it.

From anime and manga to J-pop music, Japanese pop culture was a force to be reckoned with.

Anime and Manga

Anime and manga were a massive part of Japanese pop culture in the 80s. These animated shows and comic books were not only popular in Japan but also gained a cult following worldwide.

The characters in anime and manga often had unique and colorful outfits that inspired fashion trends. For example, the sailor-style school uniform worn by the characters in the anime Sailor Moon became a popular fashion item in Japan.

The popularity of anime and manga also contributed to the rise of cosplay culture, where people dress up as their favorite anime or manga characters.

J-Pop Music Scene

The J-pop music scene in the 80’s Japan Fashion was another significant influence on Japanese fashion. J-pop, which stands for Japanese pop music, was a fusion of Western pop music and traditional Japanese music.

The J-pop idols, who were the stars of this music scene, often had flashy and colorful outfits that inspired fashion trends.

For example, the fashion style of the all-female J-pop group, Onyanko Club, was a mix of cute and sexy, with short skirts, colorful tops, and knee-high socks.

Their fashion style became known as “Onyanko fashion” and was popular among young Japanese women.

The pop culture influence of anime, manga, and J-pop music played a significant role in shaping 80’s Japan Fashion.

The colorful and bold fashion trends inspired by these pop culture icons are still relevant today and continue to influence fashion trends in Japan and around the world.

Fashion Subcultures

As I delve into the 80’s Japan Fashion scene, I can’t help but be excited about the emergence of various fashion subcultures.

These subcultures were influenced by western fashion trends and Japanese pop culture, and they each had their unique style and characteristics.

Here are three of the most popular fashion subcultures of the 80’s Japan Fashion: Gyaru, Visual Kei, and Lolita:


Gyaru, short for “gal,” was a fashion subculture that emerged in the late 80s and early 90s. It was characterized by a bold, flashy, and glamorous style.

Gyaru girls typically had bleached hair, tanned skin, and wore heavy makeup. They also wore short skirts, platform shoes, and brightly colored clothing.

The Gyaru subculture was so popular that it became a mainstream trend in Japan.

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Visual Kei

Visual Kei was another fashion subculture that emerged in the 80s. It was heavily influenced by rock music, and the style was characterized by flamboyant and over-the-top clothing and makeup.

Visual Kei artists often wore elaborate costumes and had colorful hairstyles.

The subculture was popular among Japanese youth who were fans of rock music and wanted to express themselves through fashion.


Lolita was a fashion subculture that emerged in the 80s and was heavily influenced by Victorian-era clothing.

The style was characterized by frilly dresses, petticoats, and lace. Lolita girls also wore bows, ribbons, and other cute accessories.

The subculture was popular among young girls who wanted to express their femininity and innocence through fashion.

Designer Fashion and International Recognition

As I look back at the fashion scene of the 1980s in Japan, I can’t help but feel excited about the groundbreaking designs that emerged from the country during that era.

The 1980s were a time when the Japanese fashion industry gained international recognition, and designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto were at the forefront of this movement.

Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake was one of the first Japanese designers to gain international recognition for his innovative designs.

He was known for his use of technology in fashion, and his signature pleats became a trademark of his brand.

Miyake’s designs were characterized by their simplicity, functionality, and elegance. He believed that fashion should be comfortable, and his designs reflected this philosophy.

Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo was the founder of the fashion label Comme des Garçons, which means “like boys” in French.

Her designs were often described as avant-garde, and she was known for her use of unconventional materials and silhouettes. Kawakubo’s designs challenged traditional notions of beauty and femininity, and her work was often controversial.

Despite this, she gained a loyal following among fashion enthusiasts and was recognized as one of the most influential designers of her time.

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto was another designer who gained international recognition during the 1980s. His designs were characterized by their oversized silhouettes and dark colors.

Yamamoto’s work was often described as “anti-fashion,” and he was known for his rejection of traditional fashion industry practices.

Despite this, his designs were highly influential and helped to shape the direction of fashion in the 1980s.

The 1980s were a time of great innovation and creativity in the Japanese fashion industry.

Designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto were at the forefront of this movement, and their work continues to inspire designers today.

Legacy and Revival

As I look back at the 80’s Japan Fashion scene, I can’t help but feel excited about the legacy it left behind.

The avant-garde fashion of that era was a breath of fresh air and inspired many designers around the world. But what happened to this fashion movement? Did it just fade away?

Let’s take a look at the legacy and revival of 80s Japanese fashion.

Modern Interpretations

Although the 80’s Japan Fashionscene is long gone, it has not been forgotten. In fact, many designers today are still inspired by the avant-garde fashion of that era.

Some designers have even created modern interpretations of the iconic styles from the 80s. For example, Yohji Yamamoto, one of the most influential designers of the era, is still creating fashion that is reminiscent of the 80s.

His modern interpretations of the oversized silhouettes and asymmetrical designs are still highly sought after today.

Influence on Western Fashion

The legacy of 80’s Japan Fashion is not limited to Japan. In fact, the influence of this fashion movement can be seen in Western fashion as well. Designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen have cited the 80’s Japan Fashion scene as a major influence on their work.

The oversized silhouettes, asymmetrical designs, and unique textures that were so prevalent in 80’s Japan Fashion can be seen in the work of these designers today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What characterized 80’s fashion in Japan?

Bold colors, eclectic styles, and a mix of traditional and modern influences.

Which fashion trends were popular in Japan during the 80s?

Oversized silhouettes, power suits, and the rise of street fashion like Ganguro.

Who were influential fashion designers in Japan during the 80s?

Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, and Issey Miyake – pioneers in avant-garde and innovative designs.

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Let us know, which of the above ist your favorite 80s outfit!

Florian Bernhard
Florian Bernhard
Articles: 127

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