Japanese street fashion trends 2020
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Japanese Fashion

Japan has seen a wave of cultural changes in the past century. It is a country where fashion culture not only thrives but also evolves. Japan has transformed itself into a cultural mixing bowl where fashion trends worldwide mix to form Japanese fashion trends. Its rich history dating back thousands of years is proof that Japan is an ever-evolving fashion hub. The Japanese street fashion trends 2020 take inspiration from different parts of traditional Japanese robes as well as the western implementation of its kawaii culture. Its trends change every day, and the Japanese love is dressing well.

Japanese love is dressing well
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Japan’s present-day culture is defined not only by its rich history but also by western fashion trends. Western trends have a huge influence on the Japanese fashion market. Japanese culture is so diverse that it is normal to see a citizen in a traditional Japanese robe walking through a group of people wearing a mix of western and kawaii outfits. Kawaii is Japan’s cuteness culture and has spread around the world. It is a popular implementation of Japan’s present fashion market for men and women alike.


As stated above, Japan’s fashion industry depends heavily on western trends set by European or American designer companies such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Luis Vuitton, etc. Its complete fashion trend is a blend of design from all such companies with its kawaii outfits and other traditional outfits.

Japanese street fashion

Japan has two clothing categories. These are traditional clothing and western clothing.  These can be further described in detail as follows;

Traditional clothing

The national dress of Japan belongs to the traditional clothing category known as the kimono. The kimono has distinctive features that set it apart from similar clothing from different regions in Asia.

  • It is a T-shaped garment that is wrapped from the front.
  • It consists of square sleeves and a rectangular body.
  • The kimono is worn in such a way that the left side is wrapped over the right side. The only exception to this traditional guideline is if the person wearing it is dead.
  • It is made of a fabric known as tanmono.
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Japanese street fashion trends
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There are other traditional clothing such as the Hakama, Obi, Yokota, etc. Even though the kimono is an old traditional outfit, it is still considered fashionable and has earned its place in Japanese street fashion trends 2020.

Kawaii street-wear

Kawaii roughly translates to cuteness in Japanese. Even though traditional clothing is common in Japan, real street fashion can be described as kawaii. Kawaii is a global phenomenon. It is widely available in all of Japan. Kawaii fashion refers to clothes and accessories designed to represent the cuteness in males and females of Japan. In Japan, it is common for both males and females to look cute. Kawaii is traditional clothing mixed in with new generational trends in fashion. 

Kawaii outfits include many products such as Pokémon single-piece outfits, designer hoodies, and ripped jeans. Items like these are considered to be the inspiration for modern street-wear. Some of these products can be described in further detail as;

  • Kawaii shirts consist of pictures or graphics of popular cartoon characters such as Pikachu.
  • Kawaii complete one-piece suits are human-sized adaptations of the same popular cartoon characters.

One of the most popular Japanese kawaii outfit brands is the Hello Kitty brand. Hello Kitty is a kawaii brand that is available worldwide and greatly influences Japanese youths who incorporate these children’s outfits into street-wear.

Japanese street fashion trends
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Western street-wear

Japan is a mix of cultures from around the world. Its adoption of western clothing into its street fashion trends is remarkable. Western street-wear like Supreme is very popular in Japan. Supreme is a company whose business model revolves around the scarcity phenomenon. It releases a small number of overpriced outfits into the market, which is sold out immediately. The resale market of such items is how supreme is incorporated into Japan’s street fashion.

Japan's street fashion
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Scarce products are expected to have a higher resale price than their actual retail price. Japanese teenagers are drawn to such market practices and spend a lot just to look street.  

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There is, however, another category of Japanese street-wear. We all know how COVID-19 has affected the global economy and disrupted trade all over the world. This has affected Japan’s street-wear. Where normally Japanese kawaii culture would grow at exponential rates, the growth in 2020 has dropped significantly. In the first half of 2020, everyone was quarantined at home. There was no trend movement in fashion.

 Sales had abruptly stopped and there was little incentive for fashion industries to make new designs and set new trends. This is because most of the clothing manufacturing facilities were shut down to curb the spread of COVID-19. For months there was no new trend set in high fashion in Japan or anywhere else worldwide. This, however, did not stop the street fashion trends from innovating. Soon after the initial lockdowns, some manufacturing facilities opened, and new designs were brought forth.

The main trend of Japanese street-wear in 2020 was COVID-19. Street-wear companies released outfits similar in design to hazmat suits or other personal protective equipment. Many other products, such as home-made street protective equipment, started to spread. Soon, Japanese street fashion trends in 2020 revolved around COVID-19.

COVID-19 inspired products:

COVID-19 has truly changed the world forever. Even after it is long gone, its effects will last for the next couple of years. The COVID-19 epidemic has inspired many kawaii brands to make trendy new outfits keeping in line with the current situation. Many brands have released product lines to honor health-care workers fighting in the front lines at hospitals and are risking their lives every day to combat this pandemic. The following products have been released by various Japanese street-wear brands inspired by COVID-19.

Japanese street fashion trends
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  • Hazmat-outfits:

Keeping in line with the current trend, many brands have launched street-wear inspired by frontline health workers’ personal protective equipment to combat the corona-virus. These include similarities with different types of Hazmat suites used by various government organizations.

various government organizations
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Although the street-wear developed is not even remotely close to being an alternative for any sort of protective equipment.

  • All is white:

Most of the protective equipment being used by health care workers is white, blue, or yellow. Brands have copied this color scheme and incorporated it into their designs. Products such as baggy white and blue striped pants have been released for consumers to buy.

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  • Face-masks:

Who would have thought that there would be a time when face-masks can be considered street fashion. That is exactly the case these days. Some kawaii brands have launched face-masks with different designs and the usual kawaii characteristics such as cartoons and other popular TV characters incorporated into the mask. 

incorporated into the mask
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Face-masks have dominated Japanese street fashion trends in 2020. Other companies have launched online services where Japanese people can customize their face-masks according to their likings. Similar services are also being provided where a customer can send his or her picture to an online retailer where they incorporate that person’s face into the mask. This way, when the person wears that mask, he or she can still technically show their face in public without putting themselves or others in harm’s way.


This year has truly been a year for the history books. What started as a promising year turned out to be one of the worst experiences for the modern world. Japanese street-wear is an aspiring industry in the world of fashion. Even in these harsh times, the street fashion market in 2020 has thrived in Japan. This goes to show that high fashion brands cannot compete with street fashion.

 The market for street fashion is much more diverse and consists of more youth as compared to high fashion. Even though the growth rate for Japan’s street fashion has declined a bit this year, it is still expected to outgrow other fashion industries.