Anyway, so to give you an idea of what this graph represents, it’s all Japanese fashion magazines. As most may know, Japanese fashion magazines are very specific and centered around common aesthetics, age and socioeconomic statuses, etc. This idea of partitioning and cordoning is actually very effective and logical, and manifests itself pretty reliably, even outside of Japan like America where style is mostly confused and not identifiable. It’s to the point where we can consider these boxes to be ‘zoku’ (families/tribes) and you can be part of a certain magazine’s ‘zoku’ - like Free and Easy-zoku, etc.
Counter-clockwise from top left:
The box that includes Lightning, Free and Easy is ‘Ame-oya-kei’ = American oyaji look = Americana for old guys. Denim, heritage, repro. Superdenim.
below that in blue-grey with Samurai, Cool Trans, Street Jack = ‘Street-kei’ = streetwear. From Dunks to Kiks Tyo, used to include Visvim but it migrated a bit.
green box = ‘Kireii-kei’ = pretty boy stuff. Not necessarily gay, but not masculine, more cute. This is probably more suited to very young guys, high school age. Not really relevant to most discussion within the English-language fashion internet world.
purple center box = ‘Onii-kei’ = ‘Big brother style’ - Shibuya gal-o kei (the male counterpart to the Shibuya gyaru) - a sub-demographic of the Shibuya-kei (popular from about 1993 to 1996) style that many my identify with the tanned ‘kogal’ look - this is the male counterpart to them, and big brother in a fantasy sense that the guys are older than the girls (who were thought to be young) - this is 109 and Men’s 109, the hairstyles and the clothes - within this realm also exists the Host (bar) look, male prostitution or pimping/scouting type subcultures that have been around the gyaru/gyaru-oh forever, the whole onii-kei look is generally marginalized as ‘cheap’ because well, the clothes are cheap (in relation to other ‘serious’ fashion lifestyles), and the lifestyle has some connotations of the sex industry, driven by the idea of turning to the sex industry rather than taking up a normal job, alternative lifestyles from 1990’s Japan, yada yada. This is mostly in the past and not a relevant aesthetic in Japan, and not what it is in Shibuya nowadays like it used to be 15-20 years ago.
Pink box - Salon-kei = Hair salon stylist magazines. Not really relevant to the English language internet again, because nobody really cares about hair! haha. Anyway, these are fashion magazines, and not exclusively about hair, but they are focused around the idea that Ura-Harajuku/Aoyama/Omotesando hair stylists are creative/stylish types and therefore the focus of these magazines is to show off their own culture, the guys with cool hair and clothes and stylist’s waist bags, etc. Naturally, not everybody in Japan lives near Harajuku and so it’s a moveable piece of Japanese youth culture for the rest.
Grey box- ‘Men’s Non-kei’ = Men’s Non-no, ie young, mid-priced fashion. Occasionally featuring fast fashion, some elements of Mode, but stylized in a Japanese young menswear style. Obviously a huge category worthy of it’s own box, and by far and large, the most important for this particular age group.
Taupe box - ‘Mode-kei’ - this is mode, high fashion. Enough said.
The dusty rose colored box, top right - ‘Ita-oya-kei’ = Italian oyaji kei = Italian old guy style. Men’s Ex. Menswear. Styleforum’s MC.
The N/W/S/E compass points on the edges of this matrix are qualities:
North = unchiku - knowledge - for the data/trivia obsessed
West = for the hobby of ‘clothes’ - i.e. to define ‘Fashion, vs Style’
South = for aesthetic and stylistic interests - i.e. define ‘Style, vs Fashion’
East = for ‘Lifestyle’
Naturally, the intermediary areas are a mix, so Men’s Ex - styleforum MC - naturally, it lies between the area between ‘clothes’ and ‘trivia’
So interesting points to focus on here, just from the descriptions -
-you notice that Superfuture and Styleforum encompass many of these aesthetics, but at the same time, superfuture has ‘superdenim’ that is strictly Ameoya-kei, and styleforum has it’s own counterpart in ‘Itaoya-kei’ with the MC forum. Both are strong, and completely different.
- ‘Onii-kei’ - which many fromthe outside might view as ‘dress up’ or costume-y, or based on fantasy and imagination - that box skews towards the unlikely direction (though not colliding) where Amekaji and Streetwear are floating, because you have to realize that Amekaji and Streetwear in Japan are also dress-up and costume-y in a similar sense. They are niche looks, subcultures ranging from hobbyists (Americana) to almost full-on lifestyle prescriptions (Onii-kei) - and naturally, you can see where Streetwear falls between that, as Streetwear tends to prescribe a certain set of interests on it’s own (perhaps skating and certain kinds of music), but is more livable within normal society than the Shibuya-kei lifestyles.
I’ve added and boxed in where I think Styleforum, Superfuture, TOJ, and Uncontrol exist on the matrix. The groupings of magazines and ‘kei’s are fairly accurate, whereas the size of the boxes are not intended to represent anything… and therefore the representation of overlap is not intended to show anything proportional, just the fact, mainly.
Superfuture and Styleforum, as non-Japanese sites operated in the English language, they avoid Onii-kei, and I’ve shown that in the matrix as well by cookie-cutting them out of the main lasso’d areas.
ok, updated to include SZ, SZ would be the blue area. I don’t want to say that encompasses all of it, because the chart doesn’t have an area for appreciation ‘craftsmanship/artisanship’ beyond the more generic ‘trivia/knowledge’ factor that ties with Amekaji repro as well as Menswear/MC type stuff. One could maybe put a second small cloud of SZ blue up there, but that doesn’t represent the whole idea well IMO.
Anyway, tons of info on this graph, have a look at it and see where you are.
- Drew Keith