Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 19, 2010

Cherry Blossom Festival Part II: Fashion Way Forward

You can spend the better part of a week browsing what has been posted online about Tokyo Street Fashion. I got a little taste of it in downtown Los Angeles about a week ago when I went the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Since I don’t know the difference between a Gothic Lolita and a fashion shout-out to Harry Potter, I appointed my 20-year-old son, the future video game designer, as tour guide and clothing translator.

The big rages today among young Japanese fashionistas are three styles known as “Cosplay,” “Maid Cafe,” and “Lolita.”

Cosplay stems from the merge of two English words: costume and roleplay. In this style, its wearers imitate the clothing, embellishments, and the occasional weapons of favorite characters or people from video games, anime/manga, cinema or rock bands.

Maid Cafe originates with the uniforms of waitresses in Japanese restaurants offering customers tea and cake. This style pretty much duplicates the look of a sexy servant in a bad French movie.

Most popular of all is Lolita, which has three subcultures: Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolita and Punk Lolita. A deliberate childlike look characterizes Sweet Lolita; think petticoats, Maryjane shoes and pastel colors. Gothic Lolita harkens back to the Victorian age with a lot of black clothing. Finally, there is Punk Lolita, which is fairly self-explanatory and reflects a combination of styles.

All of these looks have traveled across the ocean to California. If the Cherry Blossom Festival was anything to go by, Sweet Lolita and Maid Cafe were the most popular fads among young women. In contrast, the men had their feet firmly planted in the Victorian Age. Most of the guys looked like they had just walked off the set of an episode of “Dr. Who” or “Torchwood.”



  1. As you’ve known me four decades, I think you know that I usually ignore fashion.

    So you should be impressed that I found your analysis to be highly entertaining, particularly “accidentally wandered in from Middle Earth.”

  2. How unrulingly exciting! Its seems I’ve been featured in your article. (I’m the gentlemen in the top hat)

    None-the-less this is a very nice article! I really do like how well you’ve explained the outfits and the accuracy of the descriptions. It seems you’ve really captured the diversity of everyone that was there.

    • I am so glad you found me, Wesley (did I remember your name correctly? I lost some of my notes). Your were one of my favorite fashion plates that day.

      Everyone should look at this gentleman’s ceramic and origami work. And where’s a photo of those painted shoes you mention on your site? I want to see them.

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