OI! Samuel and I love a bit of punk, particularly its ripped and riotous aesthetics, and of course Japan’s street fashion fans do too.

Punk is generally accepted to have originated in the UK (and US) in the 1970s (cue Tokyo Telephone operators tooting our British horn – we are English after all!), and became iconic for two reasons: music and fashion. Malcolm McLaren became the bridge between the two; as well as managing the infamous band the Sex Pistols, McLaren and his girlfriend Vivienne Westwood opened a clothing shop called Let it Rock, later renamed as SEX, Seditionaries, and World’s End. Westwood’s designs featuring rips & tears, provocative symbols & imagery and bondage influences have become representative of punk ‘fashion’ (anti-fashion?) of the time, and have been cemented firmly into fashion conciousness worldwide.

As well as  finding favour among the disaffected youth of in the West, Japan too has it’s fair share of punk aficionados. Although largely mimetic the beginning, punk has really come into it’s own in contemporary Japan in both music and fashion; from backstreet diy-recordings and hairstyles to subculture-influenced clothing and ubiquitous British Union Jack flags, there’s nowhere to run from punk in Japan.

The Union Jack flag design has moved from subversive to mainstream; continue reading for more from Glad News, Super Lovers and other brands.

I find it really interesting that gyaru brands have produced clothing featuring Union Jacks; JSG (known for it’s louder styles and fearless image) has gone for a great pink take on the traditional colours, and have also come out with my favourite flag legwear above – the leggings with one feature Union Jack leg.

I’m not the hugest fan of Glad News’ contribution to the trend, what’s your opinion?

Trust heavily British fashion-influenced Super Lovers to create some of the best Union Jack clothing! I can’t decide which jumper I like best… Purple? Pink? Traditional or… eye-watering yellow!

Talking of eye-watering:

I’m not keen on the harem pants, but I do like the leggings! Slightly similar concept to JSG, with one patterned leg.

Hell Cat Punks is one of my favourite punk street fashion clothing brands – look out for a special post soon! I love the gold and black t-shirts and oversize splattered ponchos – perfect with ancient Dr Martens and plenty of attitude.

Sex Pot Revenge have really come into their own of late – I was much more impressed by their latest collection than I have been for a while – good going SPR! I’m on a real lilac kick at the moment, so I just adore the t-shirt above: Union Jack, sweet colours, gothic cross and plenty of rips… I think I’ve got t-shirt lust!

Tsubasa Masuwaka, rocking the Union Jack skirt/nails combination.

I think this trend illustrates clearly that the iconic image of the Union Jack flag that was originally used in a subversive manner has now entered mainstream fashion conciousness to the extent that it looses the original meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pink jumpers and fab leggings, but let’s acknowledge the punk message behind the flag.

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6 Responses to State of the Union; Punk and Gyaru

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Danielle Jackson. Danielle Jackson said: RT @tokyo_telephone: State of the Union; Punk and Gyaru http://bit.ly/gsN2eS […]

  2. I left my punk look back in the USA when I came to Japan in exchange for a more Gal look and now… looks like I could have had my cake and ate it too.

  3. Tokyo Telephone says:

    It’s always fun to mix things up! I don’t think I could ever fully let go of my inner young teen goth 😉

    There’s an amazing punk/gyaru hairstyle that comes to mind; sort of like a super teased faux-hawk – if only I had long enough hair!


  4. Lisa says:

    Hmm, I thought I posted here but it seems to have disappeared! o.O
    Regardless, love JSG leggings in the middle! ^^
    I like Sex Pot Revenge a lot normally, but these items were especially nice – the Union Jack’s there, but understated/better combined with the other design. ^^

    And go for the faux-hawk!!! I’ve always wanted to be able to do one too… One day, with enough hairspray! 😛

  5. Tokyo Telephone says:

    I was really impressed with SPR this season – maybe I just remember them from my teen goth days? I think I had a red tartan skirt with cobweb lace. Awesome. I think they’ve really come a long way! 😉

    My hair is way too short for it at the moment; I could probably get my fringe up, but then I’d look like an exotic bird! Haha. I’ll have to live vicariously through your instead…


  6. […] really love this too! I did a huge post on Union Jack punk imagery in Japanese fashion a while ago, but I think this cardigan might have to be my favourite new example! And it even has […]

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