Kawaii: It’s More Than Just A Style

Among the fashion styles that inspire A. Gato Designs is Kawaii fashion. Kawaii or かわいい is a common phrase used in Japanese culture to refer to something as “cute” or a “cute aesthetic”. While it’s popularity grew tremendously in the 1960s-1970s, it’s base elements can be traced all the way back to the Edo period in Japan with the creation of netsuke (miniature sculptures). 

Kawaii aesthetic is most commonly associated with colorful designs and cartoon characters. Bold use of colors, both bright and pastel, are signatures of a kawaii look. Generally speaking, pastel colors are seen as more kawaii than others. The softer feel is viewed to be cuter than harsh neons or regular colors, though kawaii looks can have a variety of any of these.

The appearance of softness relays the vulnerability that goes hand in hand with kawaii aesthetic and kawaii fashion. The term kawaii originates from the phrase 顔映し which loosely translates into someone with a blushing face. Blushing resonates with more childlike or effeminate behavior and is the pinnacle of what it means to be kawaii. 

Popular Kawaii Characters

Popular themes in kawaii aesthetics are characters from Sanrio (Hello Kitty,  My Melody, etc), Disney (Princesses, Minnie/Mickey Mouse, Animal characters), anime targeted towards children and young adults (Pokemon, Sailor Moon, etc), and popular fairy tales.

Japan: The Origin of Kawaii

Kawaii fashion in particular comes from Harajuku, a district in Japan that is the epicenter of fashion in the country. Many fashion designers and artists can be found here as well as people dressed in many different fashion subcultures that originated in Japan. Though everyday kawaii aesthetic can be found throughout Japan, it is more heavily concentrated in this district. Many western creators derive their influence from here as well. 

You Can Be Kawaii Too!

The most important thing to remember is that anyone can be kawaii! Kawaii is not reserved for women and children, but rather people of all ages and genders. It is a versatile movement even though it typically empasses more feminine motifs. Embrace your inner childlike innocence by being kawaii, either through the way you dress or your attitude. It’s easy to incorporate it into your day to day lifestyle! Explore our adorable kawaii clothing and accessories to start building your new wardrobe, today!

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