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Japanese Fashion Trends Essay

1815 words - 8 pages

Japanese Fashion and Social Customs
COMP 2000

Every country in the world has it’s own culture, traditional way of dress and customs. Japanese culture is quite intriguing and there is much that is not known of the Japanese people and their culture overall which is the reason for this research. In doing research, the fashion choices of the Japanese culture was really intriguing; from the unique shape and intricate designs of their kimonos, to the more modern and outrageous fashion style of the Japanese youth. The Japanese street fashion is growing and changing even more everyday. Will it continue to evolve in the future?

Japanese Fashion and Social Customs

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By the Edo Period, this had become an outer garment and was made of all types of fabric from plain, solid cotton to heavily embroidered silk (Dreitlein). Prior to and during the Edo Period, fabric use was very class orientated. Silk was by law reserved for the upper classes while hemp, and other plant derived fibers were used by the commoners (Dreitlein). During the 18th century, cotton cultivation became widespread making this a choice fabric (Dreitlein). Decorative motifs included family crests, animals symbolic of Japanese folklore and natural elements like bamboo branches and flowers (Dreitlein).
Age, social status and gender all played a part in the appearance of the Kimono. For example, a married woman would wear a Kimono made out of darker fabric and with shorter sleeves than a young unmarried girl (Wafuku, 2009). Children wore brighter colors than their adult counterparts (Wafuku, 2009). Kimonos are also broken down into other forms that are meant for a particular occasion or event;
A Furisode is a long sleeved kimono of pastel colors that are worn by single women, at coming of age ceremonies or for less formal occasions (Yamanaka, 1986). Married women wore what was called the Tomesode it was single colored and was usually longer than a regular Kimono (Yamanaka, 1986). There are two forms of the Tomesode, the Kurotomesode and the Irotomesode. The Kurotomesode are often worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at a wedding and usually has five family crests printed on the sleeves, chest and back of the kimono. The Irotomesode are slightly less formal than a Kurotomesode, and are worn by married women, usually close relatives of the bride and groom at a wedding. An Irotomesode may have three or five family crests on the sleeves (Yamanaka, 1986). A Hamonji is a form of kimono worn for visiting someone and can be worn by married and unmarried women. As for the Iromuji, this is a one colored kimono that is worn for tea parties; it can also be worn around town (Yamanaka, 1986). Of all forms of kimonos the Junihitoe is the most expensive and court ladies or geishas wear it (Yamanaka, 1986).

There were other forms of Japanese traditional dress that weren’t Kimonos but were created from the basic design. The Yukatabira were light and loose-fitting robes and were worn as an alternative to the Kimono by both sexes in a relaxed or casual setting (Yoshika, 1998). The Happi was a short coat, similar in construction and wear to a Kimono that both genders of the working class wore (Yoshika, 1998). Cording, sashes and Obi were used to close these jackets (Yoshika, 1998). In cold weather, a Hanten, which is quilted jacket, would be worn over the Kimono or Happi (Yoshika, 1998). All classes wore coats and hats made of straw in rainy weather (Hickey, 1998).
There were three types of footwear that are traditional as well as prevalent couple years ago, such as the; Waraji, Zori, Geta, and Tabi socks (Yamanaka, 1986). Waraji and Zori were thong...

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