Japan’s fashion is known world-over. It’s bright and colourful, with hints of goth and cartoon cultures. We overlook it, but some of our favourite anime characters are incredibly stylish and well dressed: from posh to street style, fashion has become as significant a factor to the style and substance of a show. We live in a society where our favourite heroes and heroines have collaborated with high-fashion brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
It has inspired haute couture brands like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, documentaries, and Western trends. Japanese fashion influencers are supercharging social media with their unique styles, providing their particular take on modern fashion.
Below are ten Japanese fashion influencers you should be following for your next fit inspiration!
She has been called the Japanese Beyoncé. In fact, it was her first TV appearance in 2008, performing an impression of the singer that shot her to fame as a comedian. She has since been repping for the plus-size community, which is typically underrepresented in Japan. This is a welcome sight, given that typical beauty standards have seemingly become so rigid as not to accommodate influencers such as Naomi-san.
Her move from acting to becoming one of Japan’s most famous fashion influencers was starting her own fashion line, Punyus. It roughly translates to “chubby” and celebrates bright colours and humorous prints in larger sizes. Watanabe now boasts 9.3 million followers on Instagram and is known for her bubbly, vibrant style and sense of wit.
Iranian-Japanese fashion influencer Reyla is much smaller in terms of following, but she has a solid fanbase for her vintage sixties-inspired style. She emulates Anna Karina and Jane Birkin with a classic, effortless French girl look that incorporates elements of Japanese fashion in oversized silhouettes and streetwear touches.
She has a very unique look. Her turquoise hair is not regularly seen in many Japanese adverts. Her strong features, such as her well-shaped eyebrows and chiselled jawline, also add to her uniqueness and charm in a country usually reserved towards their choices of models and influencers.
Lingling is already an established musician in Japan as part of the idol group Bish. She is a self-proclaimed loner, and her style combines futuristic shapes and structures with vintage and soft draping fabrics. Her defining feature – that trademark undercut and bowl-cut hybrid – is incredibly unique and tells you a lot about the quirky and peculiar person Lingling is.
She’s a big fan of animals, too, so her Instagram page is worth looking at just for the dogs. If you’re also a big fan of art meant to stimulate the mind and make you think, she features many pieces that add a strange, bizarre, yet profound aesthetic to her feed.
It’s rare to see anyone pulling off a bucket hat without it looking like you’re a little kid wearing a cereal bowl. Enter nine-year-old Coco Pink Princess. She wears Chanel with the sleek and daring bob cut you’d see on a Barbie doll. It’s a rite of passage for that age, and she looks better than most adults.
Her parents own a vintage store in Harajuku, so Coco grew up around clothes and developed a naturally quirky sense of style. From being in a proud picture on her mother’s Instagram, she has reached full fashion influencer status with more than 550,000 followers and photos in Elle and Vogue. She picks clothes with her dad, and sometimes it’s what you’d expect a kid to wear – gingham shorts and a T-shirt with a pony on it – except that she’s wearing Gucci. Sometimes it’s better than street style at fashion week – high-waisted trousers and a wide-brimmed hat with sunglasses. She even matched a tonal pink outfit to her little bike with stabilisers and handlebar streamers.
Twins. Models. DJs. Creative directors. Fashion influencers. Ami and Suzuki are influencers for a reason, covering many aspects of fashion and creativity. The Pink Twins, as they call themselves, are making a mark on the scene after their success in music.
They are creative directors for the brand Jouetie, which mixes vintage feminine silhouettes with rock and street styles. On their social media, they’re regularly pictured in the greats: Dior, Fendi, Prada, and fashion influencer favourite Gucci. Who doesn’t love a pair of sisters doing what they love – and excelling at it – together?
Risa Nakamura embodies more well-known realms of Japanese fashion. The actress and model’s Victoriana influence shows in her high-neck pussy-bow blouses and straw bonnets. She is big in Japan’s ultra-feminine scene and one of the leading models for its headline magazine, Larme. With two actors for parents, she has also dabbled in film work, playing the lead role in Camellia Girl in 2016. There is a reason her handle, @risa_doll_ has the word “doll” in it – she gives the vibe, and overall appeal of a doll put to with her demure and sensual looks.
Ayumi Seto started a street–style book (Kidult Girl), created a clothesline and was a model with one of Japan’s most reputable agencies before her social media following took off. She became a fully-fledged fashion influencer with her growing success in many aspects of style and inventiveness. Her style has evolved from the saccharine kawaii style known worldwide to nineties androgyny with a hint of Cher Horowitz. Now, she is the brand producer of a new fashion line called Dear Sisterhood.
Tina Tamashiro is already an accomplished actor and model and is only 22. She started at 14, and now, she has almost a million followers on her Instagram. She is known for her mature look for her age and ever-changing hair colours that are so eye-catching you’re sure to do a double take if you saw her in real life.
You can see how film massively influences her, and she often brings a touch of old Hollywood elegance to her outfits. Her feed is filled with cinematographic shots laced in filters that make it seem like she was the lead actress in the top hits. She writes about fashion regularly on her blog, too.
The ability to exert influence in several areas is a distinguishing feature of many key players in this space. Look no further than Rola, who is not only a model but also a TV personality, actress, and singer. The model, who is of Japanese, Bangladeshi, and Russian descent, has a charm and allure that is just as distinctive as her heritage.
With over 8.3 followers on Instagram, she is one of, if not the most popular influencer to come from Japan. She’s been a part of many TV commercials and magazines, with her appearances becoming unsurprising to regular viewers of the mediums. Rola’s feed is based on her work as the co-founder of a sustainable lifestyle business, emphasising respect and love for nature. Her ethos is seen through a quick scroll of her feed, which preaches a healthy lifestyle above all things.
How about we add a male fashion influencer to top things off? With over a million followers, Kentaro Sakaguchi is among the most famous Japanese influencers of both sexes. There’s no hiding the fact that his appearance perfectly represents the stereotypical Japanese masculine ideal. If there were such a thing as an ideal male beauty standard, he would be it.
He’s a famous model and actor well-known for his porcelain skin, single eyelids, paper-cut-inducing jawline, and beardless look. It’s an immaculate clean-cut, and traditional face that anyone can appreciate; what makes him extra special is that he’s not just a statue that people can understand from afar. His acting chops, shown in numerous critically acclaimed dramas and romantic comedies, have earned him widespread acclaim. His modelling portfolio is also seen throughout his Instagram feed, where he is styled in traditional looks perfect for the everyday Japanese man.