I would like to start a sort of new line of topics on my blog, Gyaru Discussions. This will mostly about phenomena I see in the gyaru scene, which I would like to hear your opinions on or get into discussion with you :) Therefore I woud like to introduce you to the first topic of discussion!
Disclaimer: I am NOT trying to invent a new subgenre with this post, I'm just looking for the possibilities of it's existing or not.
A while back, the Gyaru page on wikipedia had a big list of all the Gyaru subcultures (which has now been deleted for the most part), under which was one called 'Goth Gyaru'. At first I thought 'well, this sub genre doesn't exist, I've never seen it', or does it? Lately I've taken quite some inspiration from brands such as TutuHA (soon to be Glavil) and Fernopaa. Which led me to the blog of one of my current inspirations Ami/ Amihamu. I've been checking her blog a lot since then, but I've seen her style change quite a bit. At first it had the most rock style influences, but lately I've been seeing it sightly change into something that is tending to take more and more influences from 'Goth'. Here are some photos for comparison.
These might not look like huge changes, and quite frankly, they're not. They're subtle differences but yet to me they start representing a whole different style. For me the most noticable differences are the Make-up, switch to darker wigs, more heavy chained and spiked jewelery, more black and darker colors. At first I was thinking it might have something to do with the change of brand for her, since she switched from being a TutuHA shop staff (@ 'before' pictures) to being a Fernopaa shop staff (@ 'after' pictures). In Japan in most clothing and accesoires shops (especially for gyaru) most shop staff dress completely in the clothes the shop has to offer, trying to inspire the customers to either buy one of the pieces of clothing or to 'adopt' the style. Most of the staff will also adjust their personalities to the brand they are representing, or atleast these are my own observations to when I was in Japan. You could see that different brands had hired people with personalities that either really fitted the brand, or that have been molded to the brand. Well enough of that, but while I was thinking the switch of brands might have been the cause, I was immideatly thinking that it couldn't be. Since I assumed that another shop staff of both Tutuha and Fernopaa, Morimayu, hadn't changed her style. BUT! As I was going through Fernopaa's micro blog snapshot page, I definetly did see a style change in Morimayu's look as well. To me she was always known for her extremely colorfull outfits while she was still in the staff of Tutuha. But now that she has left TutuHA behind and became a staffmember at Fernopaa, I noticed she also started wearing more black, more spikes, but the brightcoloured wigs stayed. (They even turned pink!) I will also scoop up some pictures to show the change in her look.
Goth Gene Night' and since my Japanese is far from fluent I don't really know what this exactly is but it does seem like it's a party where all the Fernopaa staff are present, and where Morimayu is DJing? If there is anybody knows more about this event please let me know!
Eventhough I am now mainly focussing on Fernopaa and Ami's style change, the topic of 'goth gyaru' is surely not new to me. A while back there was an Egg model called Nonoka Iwata (Non-chan). I'm not too sure wether or not she is still in Egg magazine since I don't read it much but since I haven't seen too much of her recently, I figured she is not in the picture anymore. Eitherway, she also rose up when there was any discussion about goth gyaru, since she was an Egg model, and she had a very Goth like style, even staying away from the stereotype Gyaru hair that time by having either pitch black straight or white blonde straight hair. (I think that nowadays there are less stereotypes binding gyaru hair but maybe that's a new discussion topic?) I even think that she might have been the very first that even started the controversy on goth gyaru, and wether it was a real thing, or not. Though could see a rather clear difference from when she appeared in Egg magazines and the pictures she posted up on her blog. I think that recently she isn't into gyaru anymore regarding her latests blog photos, so I'm speaking about the 'old' non-chan. I'll show you some pictures of her style for those who might not be know her. I don't have a lot of pictures of her in EGG so most of them are just from google~
As you can see she still had a rather own style in Egg magazine, but as I've been looking through these pictures I've noticed that the people of Egg, eventhough they let her carry out a bit of her own style, still put some 'key elements of gyaru' in there to probably pull it back more to the stereo type of a gyaru and to probably to please the audience, do you see them? I spot a Tan, Big curly hair in the second picture, and some very bright coloured clothes in the 3rd. Whereas in the pictures she puts on her blog, you can really see her sporting a white skin, straight hair and a lot of black clothes (and ear piercings)
So is goth gyaru a real thing? I think I will round this post up as I don't have much more to say, but I would rather hear what you think about it. I've put up the following dicussion questions up for you to think about, or rather comment on! You could either take one of the discussion points or talk about all of them, or non at all!
- Does Goth Gyaru exist, or is it just a trend, or are there just a few persons out there with a very personal style coming from gyaru, that are now still called gyaru?
- Where do we draw the line in our perception of gyaru, and where is the line between a real substyle and a crossover between styles?
- Is it just because these girls are japanese we can still call it gyaru? Or do you think we as western gals could still pull off a look like these while still looking gyaru?
- What would be the difference between Rokku and Goth? Or will they more or less still stay the same?
- Would you still consider this Gyaru? Or do you think it has been taken to far?
- Do you think this is a style that will grow bigger? or is it just a fast season trend to you?
- What do you think about 'Goth Gyaru' in general? Do you like the idea, or do you think these girls just look plain horrible?
- And last a question for me, do you like these kind of discussion points?
So I think this is pretty much what I was about to say! Even though the first part of the post is mostly an observation and I have not yet ventilated my own opinion about the topic, I thought I'd post it at the bottom here so you can either read or not read it, it is all up to you! But eitherway, here is my opinion on the topic, keeping the questions posted above in mind.
'I personally feel that Goth Gyaru could become a thing, but taking more of the stereotypical gyaru features in consideration. The black eyeliner drops that Ami currently sports aren't personally my thing, and I think they take away from both the 'cuteness' or 'sexyness' that is represented in gyaru fashion. However, I do have the feeling that unless you are a really really great gaijin gyaru, this is a look that will mostly work for the Japanese, not to put anyone here down (I myself included in the part of not so great gaijin gyaru so there), but as long as this is still a very small style, I think it is hard for someone to recognize you as a 'goth gyaru' and not just as a plain goth with a bit too much make-up. Maybe we could carry this look out to a certain degree, but while taking more of the Gyaru stereotypes on. Because frankly, you may dissagree with me or not, Japanese are easily labeled gyaru, no matter what they are wearing. I personally don't feel that if I were to go out in one of Ami's outfits while having my make-up all gal'd out that anyone would recognize me as being a gyaru, mostly because I still lack enough skills to be recognized as a gyaru eitherway. And as you can see there is just a very thin line between what we call Rokku and that what we might call Goth gyaru, maybe 'goth gyaru' is just an exagerated version of rokku. To me, as long as this is still a very small style that is nowhere to be seen in any magazines yet I will see it as that, an exagerated version of rokku, and not a stand alone substyle. I think it is still gyaru in some ways, but to me this is really on the edge. I know that every style evolves, just like gyaru does. But gyaru evolves in so many different ways in such a rapid time that I sometimes have a hard time catching up with what is currently even considered gyaru, but that would be a whole different discussion. In the end, my conclusion would be that this, if growing bigger, could definetly become some sort of sub genre , maybe under another name, who knows. But I also think that you have to be very carefull as a gaijin gyaru with what you can and can't do, it's a line that you have to look for on your own. I think you have to be very aware of the skills you own and the way people view those, there might be some that could definetly get away with it, but some might just get carried away in trying to create too much of an own style while losing sight on the 'gyaru mothership' haha.'
And that will conclude my post! I hope all of you liked this post, it took me a lot of time to look for pictures and to type out all my thoughts and observations. Please leave a comment if you want to join the discussion! ^^, <3