Japan’s fashion is known world-over. It’s bright and colourful, with hints of goth and cartoon cultures. It has inspired haute couture brands like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, documentaries, Western trends and now, Japanese fashion influencers are supercharging social media with their unique takes on style.
She has been called the Japanese Beyoncé. In fact, it was her first TV appearance in 2008 doing 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. Her move from acting to becoming one of Japan’s most popular fashion influencers was through her starting her own fashion line, Punyus. It roughly translates to “chubby” and is a celebration of bright colour and funny prints in larger sizes. Watanabe now boasts 9.3million followers on Instagram and is known for her bubbly, vibrant style with a sense of humour.
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.
Lingling is already an established musician in Japan as part of the idol group Bish. She is a self-described loner and her style combines futuristic shapes and structures, with vintage and soft draping fabrics. She’s a big fan of animals too, so her feed is worth looking at just for the dogs.
It’s rare to come across someone that really pulls off a bucket hat. Enter nine-year-old Coco ‘Pink Princess’. She wears Chanel with the sleek bowl cut that’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 600,000 followers and photos in Elle and Vogue. She picks clothes with her dad, 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. One time she even matched a tonal pink outfit to her little bike with stabilisers and handlebar streamers.
Twins. Models. DJs. Creative directors. Fashion influencers. There’s not a lot of ground these sisters haven’t covered. Ami and Aya Suzuki are making a mark on the fashion scene after their success in music. They are currently creative directors for 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.
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 main 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.
Ayumi Seto has had a street style book (Kidult Girl), started a clothesline and was a model with one of Japan’s most esteemed agencies before her social media following took off and she became a fully-fledged fashion influencer. Her style has evolved from the saccharine kawaii style that is 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 the age of 14 and now, she has more than a million followers on her social media accounts, and is known for her unique look and ever-changing hair colours. You can see how film massively influences her and she often brings a touch of old Hollywood elegance to her outfits. She writes about fashion regularly on her blog, too.