Grab your ruler and pencil sharpener! April marks the beginning of the new school year in Japan. Now, fun-loving gyaru (gals) and gyaruo (male gals) alike must search for items to offset the boredom of mandatory high school uniforms. Luckily, a handful of retailers are offering a variety of eye-catching bags to keep the back-to-school blues at bay.
BUZZ SPUNKY is a colorful casual and surfer brand synonymous with Shibuya teen fashion. Their unisex School Bag-2 (¥3,045) is being heavily promoted in magazines like Popteen and egg and is expected to sell out fast. Due to hit the market on April 8th (at exactly 18:00, their website helpfully warns), Bag-2 is available in seven colors, all featuring star-shaped studs on the shoulder strap, along with the quintessentially BUZZ SPUNKY English slogan, “SINCE 21ST FOR REAL SURFERSWEAR”.
Not to outdone, two “casual” brands, Tom’s Worker and Daisy, have joined forces to create a bag of their own. It retails for ¥3,800, is available in five color variations, and is also suitable for discriminating gyaru and gyaruo alike. The Tom x Daisy collaboration school bag is dominated by the Daisy logo on one side and some solid classroom advice from Tom on the other that reads, “BE HAPPY BE AMBITIOUS BE VIGOROUS BE JOYFUL AND A FIGHTING SPIRITS”.
Meanwhile, Lover’s Rock – part of the Super Lovers label which is now celebrating 15 years of Harajuku punk style – is offering the Tare (sauce) L/R school bag (¥3,800). Aimed at boys, it features metal studs and a sinister skull and crossbones death’s head that appears to be dripping…sauce of some kind.
For the ladies, there’s the Lover’s Rock Union Jack School Bag for ¥5,500. The product photo suggests stuffing it with copies of egg magazine instead of boring old schoolbooks. This may not have been what the ex-Sex Pistols has in mind when they sang “Revolution in the Classroom”, but then again, they didn’t go to high school in Japan.
Official Brand Websites (Japanese language):
Article by Patrick Macias, photos courtesy of the above brands.
About the author:
Patrick Macias is the owner of media company jaPRESS and the author of “Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook” (Chronicle Books). He has written for a variety of publications in the US and Japan including Wired, Studio Voice, and Weekly ASCII. His blog can be found online at patrickmacias.blogs.com.