School Uniform Fashion Finding Fans
Once a symbol of school rules, traditional school uniforms today have become a liberating and popular fashion statement for many girls in Japan. While a fashion style hinging on a blazer and plaid skirt may sound boring or bland, don’t be fooled: this is one of the hottest fashion combinations among teenage schoolgirls.
Many middle and high school students wear uniforms in Japan— typically blazers and sailor-style uniforms for girls and blazers and slacks for boys. Once simply an uncool outfit one wore to school, today uniform-style clothing has become a fun fashion statement for many girls when heading out after school or on holidays. Elementary school students too have been swept up in the fad. They frequently choose to wear school uniform-style outfits when going out with friends, mom and dad or even to school entrance and graduation ceremonies.
Students at an elementary school graduation ceremony sport uniform styles from their day-to-day wardrobe. Blazers and plaid skirts are a standard uniform look.
AKB48: Uniform Idols
Clean-cut and cute, this look is finding fans among parents as well. (Photo by courtesy of CONOMi)
AKB48 is a 48-member, all-girl pop group made up of Japanese performers in their teens and twenties. It is also one of the most popular idol groups among young Japanese today. Known for performing in blazers and short plaid skirt outfits, AKB48 has even been called a band of “uniform idols.” And the band’s uniform look proved a hit. Many girls found the look irresistibly cute and decided to sport similar looks. And because it is both clean-cut and cute, the style is also a hit with parents.
Takeshita-dori is a 360-meter street that stretches from Tokyo’s Harajuku Station. Always packed with people, this narrow street is a fashion mecca that many Japanese teenagers dream of visiting at least once. One look at the trendy shops — including everything from accessory and secondhand clothing stores to cafes and boutiques — that line the road and it is easy to understand why.
Girls searching for stylish uniform-style skirts in a specialty shop in Tokyo’s Harajuku district specializing in uniform fashion.(CONOMi Harajuku Branch)
Along and near Takeshita-dori shops selling uniform-style fashion stock an array of blazers, skirts and shirts. Here fans of uniform-style fashion can get outfitted, selecting from many styles marketed as both toraddo (traditional) and kawaii (cute). On Sundays especially, the shops are full of young girls looking for fun, new uniform fashion.
Popular ribbons, neckties and even black socks—also a popular item right now—on display at a specialty shop. (CONOMi Harajuku Branch)
They consult with the shop staff seeking the cutest way to mix and match a uniform-style outfit. For example, for one customer this means a dark blue blazer matched with a red and blue plaid skirt and mixed with a white shirt as well as an oversized ribbon to go around the neck and — voilà! — her super cute uniform look is complete. Also available are colorful sailor-style outfits for girls, and blazers and pants for boys.