*This post also appears on the Brighton Fashion Week blog*

Deco (the Japanese shortening of decoration), the art of decorating items with tiny rhinestones and charms, has been an exponential trend for many years – and who wouldn’t want to cover everything they own with sparkles?

(Deco & Deco magazine)


Read on for my trip into the kawaii world of deco…

I came across deco on my first trip to Kobe in Western Japan; confronted with a shop bursting with tiny diamantes shining back at me from every surface, I watched in genuine teenage awe as a young girl sat at the back patiently decorating a mobile phone case with a pink glittering Hello Kitty. It was love from the word go, and since then I’ve become a hardened deco addict covering every phone I’ve owned in the past seven years with a variety of designs in little stones.

Mobile phones & Pucci-style hearts

By far the most popular item to decorate in Japan is one’s mobile phone, giving us the phrase deco-den (i.e decorated keitai denwa, mobile phone), and the common sight of high school girls toting intricately decorated cases, often laden down with a huge number of dangling charms too. But the deco doesn’t stop there! Mirrors, cameras, tissue boxes, pens, cases, photo frames… the list really is endless: if it’s a rigid surface, you can deco it. Amazing.

Cute and chaotic sweets deco

Popular for a while now is sweets deco: Japan clearly has a massive style crush on all things French and Parisian, and this also extends to deco subjects too. At one point you couldn’t see the wood for the pastel pink maracon trees, not to mention tiny cakes, fruit and faux-whipped cream. It’s almost enough to bring on a sugar rush just looking at it.

Nails in Egg magazine

False nails are also popular with Japanese deco lovers, particularly in gyaru fashion. Although nail trends have been edging towards toned-down this winter, there’s still plenty of sparkle around! From expertly crafted 3D acrylic hearts and flowers to hand painted designs and patterns, there’s a nail to match every outfit. If you feel like indulging yourself with some fabulous deco nails, I highly recommend Brighton’s very own Chou Chou Nail Salon: as well as regularly taming my own Wolverine-like nails, they specialise in beautiful Japanese style nail art and sculptures too.

Of course, all this minute decoration does require patience and an eye for detail. If I had a penny for every misplaced or dropped stone, every errant blob of glue, every time I changed my mind halfway through a design… well, I doubt I’d be a millionaire, but I’d be a fair bit richer and Samuel probably wouldn’t have to put up with my periodic busts of rage and flinging rhinestones across the room (they do end up in some odd places!).

If you’ve been inspired to take up the deco challenge, then I’d love to see your creations! The Brighton Fashion Week logo would look fab done in true sparkly deco style, right?

For more articles on all things sugary sweet and cute, take a look at our kawaii tag.

Ja, mata – until next time!

For my previous BFW articles, please see the Brighton Fashion Week blog

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6 Responses to Tokyo Deco – Sweets and Sparkles

  1. […] Tokyo Deco – Sweets & Sparkles 1 tokyotelephone.com — Deco (the Japanese shortening of decoration), the art of decorating items with tiny rhinestones and charms, has been an exponential trend for many years – and who wouldn’t want to cover everything they own with sparkles? […]

  2. Lisa says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, deco. Love it, don’t have the patience or the eye to do it myself.
    Did have a phone done up by a friend, which looks fantastic! (I’m so easily lured by shiney things… ^^;) Alas the phone is “back home”. Pondering having my iPhone case thing done, but am reluctant to cover up my Chopper stickers that somehow got there first…

    Chopper 1, Deco 0. Only way to solve this is to get someone to do a glittery Chopper deco design on it! (Any takers? ;P)

  3. Tokyo Telephone says:

    I highly support the deco Chopper idea! Haha, that would be amazing! 🙂

    I’ve just got something a bit restrained on my phone at the moment, but Samuel has an Ed Hardy cover that I decorated for him ages ago – most of the stones have come off in his pocket and the tiger looks a bit sad. Bless 😉


  4. Lisa says:

    Ooooooooooooh would have loved to see that Ed Hardy cover! Pre-sad looking tiger, that is. ^^

    Yeah, I may well do it once I move to Tokyo in April (and uhh, find a job there ^^;), with my first TKY paycheck. Seems right, somehow.

  5. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Yeah, do it! 😉

    Good luck with finding a job in Tokyo, I’m sure it’ll all work out really well 🙂 I have confidence in you!


  6. […] from Deco Rage that everyone gets once in a while). Despite not being that great at the art itself, I have a long-standing love affair with deco and had gone through several mobile phone cases before I even knew what it was properly called. I […]

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