Ganguro gyaru, young women known for their deep tans, panda-like make-up and bright fashions are fusing with once bitter enemy "Gothic Lolitas" in their Goth garb and little girl look to create a new fashion mode in trendier parts of Tokyo, according to Weekly Playboy (11/5).
"There were three rules that made up the definition of a gyaru: a tanned face, flamboyant make-up and hair dyed in the lightest color possible," Kyoko, the girl once dubbed the Empress of (gyaru haven) Shibuya, tells Weekly Playboy. "Anyway, you've got to look as flashy as possible. Scary if need be, which gives you the mental strength that's part of being a gyaru."
Gothic Lolitas, however, have deeper, darker roots.
"What defines a Gothic Lolita is the color black. Black can't be dyed any darker than it already is," author and self-professed Gothic Lolita Karin Amemiya tells the weekly. "The Goth look comes from Europe in the Middle Ages and its supposed to give its proponents a regal air."Ada, a journalist who specializes in Tokyo teen girls' culture, notes that the gyaru and Goths haven't always been as receptive to each other as they appear to be now.
"About three or four years ago, relations between the two groups were horrendous. They were like oil and water," he tells Weekly Playboy. "Gyaru hung out in the Center Gai district of Shibuya and the Gothic Lolitas in the area in front of Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. The gyaru ridiculed the Gothic Lolitas, saying that their gruesome look was 'sickening.' The Gothic Lolitas, for their part, hated the gyaru, too. But recently, the boundaries haven't been as firm as they were and relations between the groups are changing."
Prime reason for the change has been an increase in gyaru types who frequent Harajuku, a Mecca for Tokyo fashionistas.
They spawned a fashion now being dubbed the amerori, or "Sweet Lolita." It's basically the same style as Goth garb, but instead of dreary black, the amerori are choosing to deck themselves out in whites and other bright colors like pink.
Another offshoot of the fused fashion is the himerori (Princess Lolita), which is basically the same look as the amerori, but also requires adherence to a particular type of well-heeled behavior, such as strictly refusing to buy from convenience stores or to go out to eat noodles because such activities are too common.
Gyaru may have gone to Harajuku, but the Gothic Lolitas have also shimmied into Shibuya, too, with the 109 department store -- best known for selling the type of clothes the deeply tanned women like - now also selling Goth fashions, as well as costumes catering to the amerori and himerori types. Even Pop Teen, the de rigueur magazine for fashion conscious gyaru, has devoted a recent issue to the once despised Gothic Lolita look.
Goth writer Amemiya says despite the past, the merger between the two fashion styles shouldn't come as a surprise.
"Gyaru and Gothic Lolitas are fundamentally coming from the same place," she tells Weekly Playboy. "Gyaru and Gothic Lolita fashions are both different styles of cosplaying. In many ways, members of both groups are types who struggle to get on with others. Their fashions are a way of sending a signal to others that they're easy people to understand. Kids who are bullied or not part of the 'in' group and who have an interest in anime or playing in a band tended to drift into becoming a Gothic Lolita. Those who dreamed of being a fashion model, or having a strong personality, became gyaru. These girls are all moving to the same place -- acceptance -- but just coming from different directions."