Japanese Streetwear: The World of Yokai

The World of the Yokai Oni: Japanese Streetwear Inspiration


It's no secret that Japanese streetwear is sweeping the globe. We can't get enough of this takeover, whether it's through huge brand collaborations or Paris Fashion Week runway displays. But where did this takeover come from?

Japan has long been seen as a source of inspiration in the Western world. Forms of art, traditions, wearing, respect, and culture that are often unknown [to people outside Japan] are what have driven so many artists to travel to Japan and study them.

The world of Yokai Fashion was the most immediate, obvious, and significant source of inspiration out of all the other sources.

In Japanese folklore, the term "yokai" refers to a group of supernatural entities and spirits. It's not uncommon for yokai to have animal features streetwear (like the kappa, which looks like a turtle, and the tengu, which has wings), but they can also have humanoid features. Some yokai streetwear is inspired by inanimate objects, while others are devoid of any recognizable shape.

Shapeshifting is the most prominent feature connected with yokai, who often have spiritual or supernatural abilities.

A Goblin with nobody and a Monster without a face. A Samurai warrior and his faithful daughter. A dragon king and a moon spirit.

The researcher will be fascinated by this collection of a famous Japanese streetwear brand, which includes tales ranging from adventure to terror. These tales, adapted from the originals, maybe both be horrifying and humorous while also being poetic.

 

History of Japanese streetwear.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Japanese youth, for the first time, began to challenge their elders, despite the country's rigid orthodox culture. To understand Japanese streetwear, it is essential to have a defiant, non-conforming attitude.

While Japanese streetwear was inspired by western culture, it was not given the respect it deserved. Consequently, many Japanese designers began collaborating or exchanging resources to assist one another.

As a result, it's rare to read about one Japanese designer's success without hearing about another's.

Kyogen Society and the Yokai Society are two examples. In the growth of streetwear, this was a pivotal moment. Even in the 21st century, the Asian way of thinking about cooperation over competition is still alive.

To a large extent, the Kyogen Society's success in Japan can be attributed to Western influences. Collaborations with streetwear brands like Supreme and BAPE and Nike and Atmos have undoubtedly pushed the movement forward in Japan. However, the craftsmanship and high standards of Japanese streetwear brands pushed them to global success. Days are spent refining each piece's quality, and the Japanese contributed a fresher, more modern aesthetic.

The inspiring Essential Characteristics

And while we could argue that the yokai style is characterized by the usage of looser fitting, vintage Japanese-inspired garments, and modernized Japanese pieces - such as ALK Phenix's replica of a kimono. It cannot be described just based on this type of superficial analysis. Yokai is much more than just a brand of clothing; it is a state of mind represented by the name.

Most companies were created due to a misfit attitude, with the desire to dress and live differently being the driving force behind their creation. It would be foolish to pin down a specific style because clothes are only a means to an object.

Every brand recognizes and represents the stubborn, youthful spirit in its own unique way while working in a close-knit group and not being afraid to widen horizons and explore new ideas.

Future of Japanese Streetwear

Even while it is clear that the Japanese Streetwear movement had an explosion and boom during the 1990s and the early 2000s, some believe that the heyday of Japanese streetwear has come to an end. Yokai's opinion is that this is not the case! This trend had such an influence that it continues to be at the forefront of people's minds and the fashion industry in general, not just in Japan.

No matter how big or little, Japanese streetwear brands continue to produce creative pieces, pushing the frontiers of design, and partnerships between worldwide brands and Japanese designers help keep this momentum going.

As we listed above, with the rise of Kyogen Society and Yokai Society brands, the future of Japanese streetwear continues to seem bright, and we can't wait to see what the future brings.