Is Shibuya Gyaru Culture in Decline? If So, Why?

The Japan Times published a must-read article today called “Where Have All The Gyaru Gone?” I was happy to see this article because I have been thinking about writing something similar for a long time. The topic comes up quite often in conversations with those involved in the Japanese fashion industry – regardless of whether or not their brands do business with Shibuya gals. It’s great that Japan Times writer Misha Janette initiated a public conversation about the issue, even if everyone doesn’t agree with all of her conclusions.

One thing that’s annoying about the (otherwise great) Japan Times website is that you can’t post comments. So, we wanted to start a discussion here on about the Japan Times article – and the bigger issue of what’s going on with Japanese gyaru culture. Please, if you have an opinion on the issue, do share it in the comments below!

Shibuya 109 - Japanese Gyaru Heaven

First of all, lets take a look at a couple of quotes from the original article:

Compared to 10 years ago, there isn’t a strong gal culture anymore…” -Junko Suzuki (Sweet Magazine blogger)

True gals didn’t care what anyone thought of them… Young girls [today] want stability, not free-for-all lives, in this rocky economy.” – Sayumi Gunji (ex-Vivi editor, now at Vogue Girl Japan)

The article goes on to point out that Japan Fashion Week (which starts this weekend) has completely excluded popular gyaru brands this year. The author also feels that one of Japan’s other top fashion events, Tokyo Girls Collection, has slowly moved away from the free-for-all gyaru extravaganza that it was when she started attending it four years ago.

The article considers several possible causes for the alleged decline of gyaru culture – most notably the bad economic situation and the rise of fast fashion brands in Shibuya.

Considering that Egg Magazine (the gyaru bible) launched in the mid 1990s (a time known in Japan as the “lost decade” after the 1980s bubble burst), some may question the argument that today’s bad economy is killing gyaru culture. If the gyaru culture exploded from the underground in famously bad economic times, then how likely is it that today’s bad economy is what’s killing the same culture? [Speaking of Egg Magazine, I wish that Misha would have talked to Yone (Yasumasa Yonehara) to get his take on the current situation in Shibuya. As one of the original visionaries behind Egg Magazine, his insight on the subject would be valuable.]

Shibuya Gyaru Culture

Let’s move on to the other possible cause of gyaru decline raised in the article – the invasion of Japan by international cheap fast fashion shops and brands. Shibuya is now home to massive H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and Bershka stores that didn’t exist even a few years ago. Could these cheap global giants be undermining gyaru culture? It’s certainly possible. For gals willing to give up the edgy/extreme elements of their look, it’s a five-minute walk from Shibuya 109 to the Shibuya Forever 21 store. The price difference between items from a Shibuya 109-based Japanese fashion brand and the cheap goods at nearby fast fashion outlets is probably a good US$10-50 per item, if not more.

But the fast fashion explanation only solves one part of the puzzle. The styling/fashion part of gyaru culture are just one element. Wasn’t gyaru culture of the 1990 originally about rebellion against Japanese society as well? What happened to the famous gyaru attitude? Is it gone as well? Looking at the current trends in gyaru, much of it definitely seems more sweet than scary. Could it be that gyaru has simply matured and become, like punk, passe? Even though real punks still exist, mostly the “punk” you see in the media is about marketing an “image” not about anything with substance behind it. Sid Vicious is dead. Joey Ramone is dead. Even Kurt Cobain is dead. Is “gyaru” on its way to becoming just another marketing term used to help companies sell more product?

Another thing anyone paying attention to the Tokyo street fashion scene has noticed lately is the growing similarity between Harajuku and Shibuya fashion. Both rising Harajuku-princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and undisputed Shibuya-queen Tsubasa Masuwaka are doing crossover projects on each other’s turf. Kyary is popular in Shibuya, Tsubasa in Harajuku. In certain photoshoots and videos, you’d be hard pressed to tell which one is supposed to represent which area. The popular shop Spinns Harajuku just opened a new shop (Moohoop by Spinns) on the 8th floor of Shibuya 109, the same floor on which gyaru brands WC by Wakatsuki Chinatsu and Moussy recently closed their stores.

Shibuya Gyaru CultureShibuya Gyaru Culture

Could the current merging of Harajuku and Shibuya styles be linked to the decline of gyaru culture? Might huge H&M, Forever 21, and Zara stores in both Shibuya and Harajuku be watering down the uniqueness of the areas that existed when they each had mostly their own cliques of shops? That was the fear many people expressed when the fast fashion invasion of Tokyo started a few years ago. That said, we haven’t seen a decline in Harajuku street fashion that matches the declines Misha describes in Shibuya in her article.

As stated above, the goal of this piece is to start a conversation – not to present any definitive answers. In fact, whenever we discussed this issue with Japanese fashion industry insiders, no one agrees on what’s going on – or even whether anything at all is going on. Some people believe that the sweet/conservative gyaru is just another trend cycle, and one that – like most trends in Japan – isn’t likely to last very long.

If you have been following Shibuya fashion and/or gyaru culture, please let us know your opinion on the issue. As the Japan Times article notes, regardless of what’s going on here in Tokyo, gyaru fashion is growing in many countries around the world. If you’re a gaijin gyaru, have your say in the comments section!

Thanks again to Misha Janette for bringing up the issue in the original article!


All photos were taken in Shibuya by photographers.

Comments are closed.

  1. Depends what type of gyaru they’re looking for? Because obviously there aren’t as many manba’s these days… Hahaha

    They probably don’t see as many anymore because “mode gyaru” which looks like “blogger style” has gotten popular lately. When I was in Japan last winter, I still saw a lot of girls with the gyaru style makeup and hair, though! :)

  2. Well I agree with the comment above. I was also in Tokyo last year and the year before and saw lotaof Gyarus in Shibuya and Harajuku. I think they are still looking for the old version of gyaru: dark tanned girls like manba. But obviously that doesn’t exist much nowadays.

    I am interested in gyaru and the fashion linked to it since about 3 years now and what I saw was that the style went through an evolution. It changed during the years, what nearly every fashion style does. You can’t stuck on something because people change an so do the fashion styles too, in this case gyaru. But you can still see some typical things in the “new” gyaru fashion: strong make-up and extravagant hairstyles.

    For me it seems that nowadays lots of girls around the world can identify themselves with the gyaru fashion because of what it represents now: mostly cute or sexy looks and 100% female beauty. So for me the gyarus aren’t disappearing but there might be even more than before, if you consider the gaijin gyarus too.

  3. Hmmmmm….I want to say I see a lot of girls trying to immitate the gyaru image and attitued here in Sendai, but then again, it might not be authentic gyaru….and maybe Sendai is just behind the times and hasn’t got around to the “decline” yet lol ><. I'm not into the gyaru look or culture, so I don't really know much about it, and having not lived in Sendai for even a year yet, I guess I can't say whether or not it has declined. But to someone like me, I see what I would consider gyaru around Sendai a lot more than I expected to before I came.

  4. I actually didn’t notice this trend/fashion – gyaru and gyaru-o until not too long ago as I only started my obsession for Japan a few years back. I love this style and yes, I’ve always viewed this style as more “sweet than scary” anyway. I mean, was the initial purpose to come across as scary? because I didn’t notice. I don’t think this trend is declining as I’ve been seeing more photos on the internet but maybe that’s just me? If anything, due to more cheaper stores that are making its way into Japan, like you have stated above, this may certainly take a toll on the current trend but if worst comes to worst, the number of gyaru/gyaru-o will probably decline, but I doubt there would ever come a time when it’s completely gone or unseen anymore. I say this with confidence because this is one of the most well known trends that represent Japan! I abosultely LOVE this style and hope it continues on to the day when I am finally able to visit Japan and witness first hand just how wonderful it really is. <3 [I love their hair too. If I had thick hair like that, I'd totally dress up and style it the way they do too]. <3 :)

  5. Gal style isn’t dead. All you have to do to see it is look at the difference between Egg, JELLY, and Ageha magazines on the one hand and Vivi, Sweet and CanCam on the other. In the gal magazines, the ladies have voluminous hair, color pupil-enlarging contacts, big false top and bottom lashes and clothes that cling to their figures. They might be pale (Ageha) or tan (Egg, JELLY). In the more mainstream magazines, the ladies mostly have tamer hair, no contacts, only top and shorter false lashes or none at all, and clothing that drapes around the body more. Wait, you say. That’s magazines and not participants. Well, someone’s buying those gyaru magazines (and there’s more titles than just what I mentioned).

    Yes, mode gyaru is very popular now, and it’s a much less wild look than before. But a whole crop of the original gyaru are growing up, and want to keep the lashes and contacts and still distinguish themselves from the young’uns who are still doing the wilder looks.

    And yes, there are plenty of people who are not gyaru who buy gyaru brand clothes. The Vivi 109 guides are proof of that, since Vivi isn’t a gyaru magazine.

    But there’s still plenty of gyaru around in Osaka, both in Umeda and Shinsaibashi, and some in Kobe too where I live.

    The Japan Times article drew some strange conclusions involving the recession too. If 109 stores are losing clout and money to fast-fashion trends, then why are the new “109”s opening? The main gyaru mall in Osaka has been Shinsaibashi OPA for ages, and still has far more gyaru stores than the comparatively smaller Abeno 109; the business decision-makers for 109 seemed to feel that there was enough of an untapped market to open the latter.

    It was a given as the original gyaru aged that some of them would marry. There’s quite a bit of pressure to get married in Japan if there is an “accident” and someone gets pregnant. And, you know, hippies had children – being countercultural doesn’t ban you from making babies.

  6. Might be slightly off topic, but what kind of jobs do these gyarus do? Obviously the make-up and fashion can change but then there’s still the super big frizzy/blond hair styes.

  7. This article might be surprising to some people who just view gyaru through the net or scanned magazines, where all the extreme looks are picked out and zoomed in on. In the west there’s kinda this idea that agejo and tsuyome gals are just crawling all over Shibuya en masse and anything else is not really gyaru. When in fact, those styles are a minority and stand out because they are rare.

    I agree gyaru is evolving and it might come to the point where there is no distinguishable gyaru. (it’s something I touched on in my recent lecture at the U of M) I don’t think its fast fashion killing gyaru, though fast fashion is often the devil of the fashion world haha. I think it may be because the older gyaru who are the leaders as brand designers, producers, iconic models etc want a more fashion-forward and elegant style. Gyaru has increasingly become intertwined with true/high fashion trends. I think the comparison between gyaru and punks is very interesting and worth noting.

  8. tokyo

    Wow, good call Sara Mari.

    I didn’t think as far ahead as you did and compare the older gyaru, who are now the designers/brand owners, to the older generation of punks. If you look at Vivienne Westwood clothing, for example, you certainly wouldn’t call most of it punk, even though the influences of her youth are still strongly felt (that’s what gives her brand authenticity/credibility above many others).

    As the 1990s generation of gyaru are aging and becoming the fashion industry, many (most?) of them don’t want to dress as crazy/extreme/trashy(?) as they did when they were young. They want more elegance and wearable fashion (or at the least, they just want something different from what they wore when they were teens). So, the genre evolves by the simple fact that the older girls are now in charge (when there were no authoritative older girls back in 1996).

    That’s a solid theory.

  9. I really do hope that this is not the case. Gyaru in my opinion is what has helped make Tokyo, and even Japan such an iconic staple in the fashion world. To think of gyaru as a dying breed is indeed a sad thing. These girls [gyaru] helped mold and even create an entire genre of fashion. They are unique only to Japan. I think the Japanese fashion industry owe them a lot and every effort to save gyaru should be made.

  10. I think gyaru is just as strong as ever; in fact, it’s developed a solid and growing fanbase of practitioners outside of Japan as well. I’d call that progress, not decline.

    Gyaru is also an evolving style. As you mentioned, the current “look” is hime or hime-casual, and let’s not ignore the entire hostess culture; agejo, another facet of gyaru, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’m seeing a lot of people picking up or incorporating elements of “koakuma” style into their looks too. 10 years ago, the look was to be super tanned with popstar hair and loose-socks. The girls who started that look in high school are now in their 20’s and early 30’s. It’s only natural that the look would progress; now you have gyaru-mama, onee-gyaru, celeb-gyaru, and a whole bunch of other looks inbetween for the “more mature” girls out there.

    As for the fashion brands… I think it’s all about people’s personal choice, as well as economic (in)stability. Since gyaru is in a constant state of evolution, I don’t find it strange that the girls are learning to mix & match different brands, create different looks, and progress the movement. If everyone dressed in exactly the same thing, it would get really boring.

    (I should point out that lolita fashion is ridiculously expensive. And to this day, you still see lolitas.)

    What I’m saying is cost is subjective. I’ve seen a lot of your street snaps where people were wearing items that retailed for hundreds of dollars, easy. When people really want something, they’re going to find one way or another to get it, the economy be damned.

    I should know; I’m gyaru myself, and I’m from Canada.

    (TL;DR) Punk is dead. Gyaru is not.

  11. I think maybe it is harder to point out gyaru because the styles have evolved to somewhat blend in in people’s minds with what is considered to simply be stylish? To me, gyaru nowadays seems like girls who like to spend a lot of time on their appearance on a daily basis, wear falsies, dress in certain brands or clothes that are similar to certain brands. dress cute, sexy, extravagant, sometimes flashy, but still stylish, and just go out and have fun with friends. I don’t think that will ever be dead or even decline, just evolve. there may just be a decline of extremely flashy gyaru.

  12. It’s not dead, but it’s just fading a bit in Japan. I think it is because the “original” Gyaru Generations are getting older, more people are becoming more conservative (corporate jobs, starting families, popping out babies, etc). BUT Gaijin Gyaru, i think, could certainly boost the gyaru population by loads! Like fashion, the gyaru culture could definitely bounce back, we’ll just have to see!! ^_^

  13. Wait. WC & Moussy closed?!?! D8 I didn’t even get to buy stuff from them yet. ;A;

    Also. I definitely have to agree with SARA MARI on this one.

  14. Well I’m glad iWasn’t the only person noticing that the gyaru culture has really dyed out in recent times. Really I personally think it sucks because the whole Gyaru culture brought me into liking Japanese fashion and whatnot. I mean there still are people who dress in the manner, but not as much as in the past. I understand why, though, the concept of gyaru is dying though. I mean the Forever 21 and H&M brand thing is really taking the market everywhere. Kids of all ages, female and male, go there for the hip styles and cheap prices. So most people would go down with the whole hipster thing than pay more to dress in a gyaru manner. But really the whole concept w i l l come back. I mean most of the in things toward fashion now are from the 60’s – 90’s ~ So it would be no shock that in a few more years that this trend will bounce back, but even harder.

  15. gyaru style is a distinctive one. i believe that it wouldnt go anywhere. its there forever.

  16. I don’t see it as gyaru fashion dying, rather it is becoming mainstreamized. It has gotten so popular it is simply being absorbed into mainstream fashion and, as it is put “fast fashion”. If gyaru fashion disappears it will be because brands like H&M took on elements that have become popular and girls realized they could still get fashionable items for cheaper. True gyaru will always stick to their brands though and I agree that the sentiment of gyaru is becoming lost as well. The rebellious fashions now seem to be styles like cult party kei that incorporate a lot of resale and remade items rebelling against large brand names (in my opinion).

  17. The sweet, innocent schoolgirl look is the trend here in japan nowadays. Blame it on AKB48. But the thing is japanese people will always admire the SUPIN look, not those over painted face and overdecorated style. Im a gyaru fan too, but my friends and my bf likes me best at my simplest.

  18. Like all fashion, has an end. —- also, fashion is much more personalized, therefore it is more diversified… which is really good!!! =) / People do not go in uniform fashion, and no one tells him how to dress. Also after so many things that have happened the buyer is smarter and more caring pocket. But I still believe that Japan is more personalized and more “free” with his style.

  19. I haven’t paid very close attention to the different styles in Japan. I know of them generally and definitely saw them when I visited. I hope the culture doesn’t die, I’d hate to see the cookie cutter H&M, Forever 21 styles completely dominating something that was once so unique and carefully put together. Cheap is just cheap sometimes. Personally, while I shop at those stores, I think the quality is lacking when it comes to some of the more flashy pieces. I’ve been in H&M many times in the US and UK and I stick with the simple clothes, everything else I’m afraid would fall apart after one wear. Please don’t lose your uniqueness gyaru!!

  20. Indeed, I was surprised when I didn’t see gals brands during the TGC 2011 A/W. Moreover, the gal’s behaviour change, they are less bling bling and more mature, woman. I am french, and I fellow the french blog cherrypop, and i can see the model are changing. For example, tsubasa is not model for popsister anymore and nicole abe changed the magazine and her style makes her more woman.


    The Asian actual fashion is all about the innocent yet sexy look, it makes girls look smaller younger and childlike!

    However, the gyaru fashion is about making girls look adult sexy and hot! it was the western girl image! It was like in ”fast and furious”, we could see that Japanese girls wanted to look like an american teen star, that even went to essex-girl-like.
    Japan needed such a change,such a revolution of mentality, but not anymore. since japan started to create its own independent styles, the gal fashion started its decline..

    But what name can we give to these new styles? we can still talk about a western, but a bit more Japanese touch. we can then say that gyaru is not declining but evolving!

  22. I first fell in LOVE with Japan because of their fashion. They were daring, unique and out of the box, always pushing the limits, NOTHING like here in the states. I agree that It has changed a bit, it’s becoming more western influenced and that’s okay too but I do PREFER it to be the way it was!!! :D

  23. We can’t just talk about decline!

    The very difference between a western and jap style is that, the latter is always evolving and is very flexible! let’s take lolita cultur for exemple, this style is so flexible that we can’t even talk today about a gothic or a sweet lolita! if you just ask a lolita whether her friend is a gothic or a guro! she will ask you to be accurate is it a gothic-guro, a sweet-gothic (sweet-black) or a circus-gothic that you’re talking about?!
    just don’t forget that this is the creative and most beautiful part of the jap styles! it changes and ”always pushing the limits” (I agree with Michelle on this point! X)

  24. I am a gaijin gyaru since 4 years, it’s true that fashion gyaru inspired many Western fashion, now be feminized and stands out a bit more. I think it’s true that the style has changed and evolved. The sense of rebellion is not what it was is certainly but there are in Shibuya a lot of Gyarus. It’s the comportement who have changed. But there is a strong movement in the world even if the fans like me in the world are not all known. All gaijins gyarus and gyarus japaneses don’t have blogs to tell their life and style because we prefere real life. I’m sad that shops close but this movement will never die as long as there are “followers” in Japan and around the world. Gyaru fashion is “the movement” to differentiate themselves from others be glamorous and daughter cope at the rest. That my opinion , Gyaru 4ever. Sorry for my bad english ^w^ !

  25. Like so many others have mentioned, early Gyaru style is what made me interested in Japanese fashion in the first place. I think it is sad to see it die out but at the same time you can’t expect fashion to stay in one place. That being said, I don’t think today’s Japanese urban fashion in general is nearly as head-turning and unique as it used to be – when photographs and footage of styles like ganguro, decora, and lolita started popping up in western media around 1999, the whole world was watching and remained very interested because they had never seen anything like this before.

    I would like to see a return to this out-of-the-box mentality, but something like this can’t be forced. I have also noticed (much to my dismay) what seems to be a growing western “hipster” influence in alot of the photos – apathetic blank stares, a grimey appearance, the same exact clothing combinations I saw all the sheep at art school wearing. Not very interesting to me because I could walk out my door and see the same attitudes and styles here.

    I also do think the economy has alot to do with the overall quieting down of fashion in Japan – add to that the recent tsunami disaster and I think it’s safe to say that the populace had sort of put “expressing themselves” on the back burner in a sense. However, I am optimistic that these circumstances will in turn breed a whole new uprising of crazy, uniquely Japanese fashion movements in the future.

  26. Originally gyaru meant to copy Western Girls fashion in a Japanese way, I think it’s just that now they’ve found a more natural way to do so. and it’s not about appearing of zara, forever 21 and etc. it shows again that japanese girls prefer more natural look today.


    After all of my years studying, fangirling, and “going through phases” over japan fashion I’d have to say that to some degree I agree with this article. I don’t think they’re saying that GAL style in general is fading, but the roots and the authentic shibuya-gal attitude are fading. Think back and remember what started the gal culture; rebellion against the traditional look of the japanese young female to create a brighter, more colorful, and individualized (life)style. Back in the 90s when it started, “yamanba” was born; with the tanned skin, bleach and or dyed hair with lots of shorts, cute and colorful tops with flowers in their hair. Girls everywhere would be sporting brands like Rose Fan Fan, short skirts and super platform shoes and heels. Even in the early 2000s you still saw these bright colors and western styles with Coco Lulu, JSG, Galaxy, Liz Lisa, Tralala and tons more. And don’t even get me started on the para-para culture that came with it. ^-^ And out of that was a new resurrected gal style with that attitude that comes along with it. Nowadays you see more toned down styles with earthy colors with more mature and “womanly” clothing, practical accessories, less dyed hair and tanned skin. I will admit it is a shame that you don’t see the classic gal so much now as one would back then, but I can assure you “Gal is NOT dead.” And for all you doubters “Punk is NOT dead either.” Punk has got more longevity than gal and a lot of other modern styles and trust me, the attitude isn’t gone either. Because if that’s the conclusion you’re coming up with, then your just not looking hard enough OR in the right places. Overall, fashion is different, it evolves and its cliques are fickle, trendy and they ALL push the envelope sooner of later- for better or for worse, but I guess that’s fashion is all about- rebellion and taking risks. Wanting to be different than the norm. Well, that was my rant, hope you liked it. Happy Fashion!

  28. As a Westerner who’s been following gyaru trends for a while but Western fashion trends for much longer, I’d like to note that Forever 21, Zara, and H&M have also been evolving, and their style changes have paced the changes in gyaru pretty closely. I think it’s probably equal parts “gyarus buying clothes from (retailer)” and “(retailer) realizing the kind of clothes gyarus buy will sell, and offering more of that kind of clothes.”

    Just food for thought. The fashion industry is often represented as dictating what people will wear… but that’s not how retail works. The customers (sometimes influenced by media, but just as often by peers) are the ones who ultimately decide what trends will become popular, and the retailers (especially large, flexible ones like H&M etc.) are the ones who respond to those demands.

  29. Icefloret

    When I was getting haircut ideas. Wigs and extension pictures and haircut ideas. Some are similar to Gyaru Hair. But, not curled up like gyaru styles. I’m getting confused what gyaru is right now. I’m a gaijin and beginning started. I don’t know getting straight hair is even gyaru too. Because the gyarus now are saying it has to be curly. But, I have natural curls, but I hate my hair. I prefer to straighten it. I like to know what is gyaru anymore. Some gaijin lolita and gyaru and visual kei is mixing and casual ideas are mixing ideas too. I think it looks like it fading. But it might been expanded to a level that every one has a been of everything. America does the same thing.

  30. The only thing I noticed that it was about tanned skin that has changed
    but really most gyaru I see in japan still want to keep the pale skin
    but yeah I heard its a little dying, after all most people getting into such things is just like emos or goths they want to find out who they are and go through phases and usually they will end up being ”normal” looking after all
    but manba is already completely dead, exept for western gyarus who do it.
    some other styles that are really going down are b gal and hime
    I think Agejo/hime is the most prettiest all the other ones are not my thing.

  31. Hello everyone. I know I’m late on this topic but I would like to express my feeling on this subject. I do consider myself as a gaijin gyaru and I must say that for one I have been into gyaru I have heard about this problem for many people. I have noticed that their is a large number of gaijin gyarus who are very worried that gyaru would soon fade away into what I call a once-was-fashion , sort of like grudge, a style were you could only google pictures of it, but no matter what no one will ever be able to revive it. I think that there are possibly many reason why gyaru is “dying”. All of the possible reason stated in the article are probably little issues creating this one big problem for the gyaru community. Maybe my generation of gyaru doesn’t see gyaru the way it was orginally seen or doesn’t appreciate it the way older gyaru gens did. Maybe the younder gyaru gen just isn’t into older gyaru gen styles. These are all just guesses from me but I will be honest. I honestly think that the meaning of gyaru and what is stood for has been lost. As a new gen gaijin gyaru I would LOVE to see a “back to the basics” issue of egg. It would remind gyarus around the world why the style was created, what it means, and teach my gen. what gyaru is really all about. I believe that this could possibly help revive the gyaru community.

  32. I hope it still continues to grow in popularity in America. I really support the new online Magazine for gajin gyaru, “Gal VIP” It really shows that there are gals in other countries, that are embracing gal not only as a fashion, but a “lifestyle”

    Because gal is so far from home in this country, it’s expected that it’s going to take some twists and turns. It’s going to change, it’s going to be influenced by American culture, the availability of items (remember, we don’t have malls with gal brands over here) the economy, American fashion sensibilities. I see that the average gajin gyaru wants to be as “authentic” as possible, meaning that they want the Japanese brands and they want to achieve the look that they see in magazines. That’s nice, but I would really love to see gajin gyarus “adopting” gyaru for itself. Let it all blend together, lets all become one melting pot of fashion, driven by the people, and not by Hollywood and Music. The one thing I truly envy about Japan: They create there own fashion. It starts on the streets and works its way up. I know, that you have to factor in alot of things; we have a very free sense of life in America, so we take the creative outlet of fashion for granted. We don’t mind being told what to do. Japan lacks a few of those liberties, as a result of the way they are governed, so they embrace the chances to express themselves more strongly. It could be summed up by saying, “We may let our government tell us what we have to do, but they won’t tell us how to dress.”

    I don’t know what’s going on over there, but as American brands travel to Japan, we embrace what may be a dying fashion (although, It’s probably just changing), maybe out of contempt for our own cookie cut fashion fashion?

    That’s all I wanted to say. Darn, I meant to make this short. P.S. I run a store selling gyaru and lolita accessories:

    Shameless plug!!!!

  33. Reading this old article, I must say: Thank God Black Diamond girls appeared, in the late 2012’s, to revive the more extreme side of gyaru and show that YES, we STILL exists, and we’re going ANYWHERE!
    Gyaru in 90’s needed to scream about something. They screamed, and they had a RESULT! Thats the point: it’s not like [just] the gals changed, but the whole Japan changed, too, wich made that way of thinking of the beggining kinda…not needed anymore. THEN, to not make the style dies [and of course, because the girls grown up and wanted to keep their gal lifes with them], they created a new thing, with a new concept: the gyaru we see actually. Gyaru didn’t died, on the contrary, become THE MOST HUGE fashion! You can put gyaru actually in every type of life: ‘mature otona’s’, created by Tsubasa, for grown up girls that needs to work. Agejo, for cute and sexy. Rokku, for the rock ladies out there. And obviously, the old manbas, himegals [wich is alive and have lots of fans around the world] and extreme styles for everyone.
    The ‘brand diyng’ point is another thing: actually, gyaru addopted those fast stores, and not become sorrounded by them. You can see Gals wearing them in Shibuya, and STILL being gals. In western, we do the same. Gyaru is so much more then just the brands, then, people mix everything.
    And of course: the gaijin gals. Western gyaru just CAN’T be as extreme as a manba everyday, and they CAN’T have the same oldschool feeling because they don’t live in the same society, then, the realiy is different – and brands, magazines and stuff knows that, too. The result was a part of gyaru being suitable for girls around that loves gyaru, but needs to pay their bills too.

    tl;dr: gyaru didn’t died, and it will NEVER be. On te contrary: it becomes SO big that arrived in the 4 sides of the world, englobed fast fashion stores [without leaving the original gyaru brands], and has different sub-styles, for all tastes and lifes. The rebellion is still there, with Black Diamond, but in a renovated way because Japan and the world changed, and the new and sweeter styles become a way to makes girls express and love themselves. It’s not about fight against the world anymore, but self-expression.