The following fashion film/documentary about ‘Tokyo’s Genderless Youth’ was produced for i-D Magazine in 2017, and is a piece that I find to be quite enriching and eye-opening.
I’ve been strongly interested in Japanese fashion and popular culture for quite a considerable number of years, and travelled to a few places around Tokyo and Japan on a few occasions.
Seeing how the youth are completely decked out in a range of eccentric fashion which can border from the urban, to more borderline cosplay and the androgynous is incredible and always memorable to me, in my mind, in comparison to the more smartly and conservatively dressed, business-attire types that you usually see in the mad rush of people while catching the train from A to B.
Japan for me, is always a unique contrast of the futuristic and new, and the old and traditional.
In this video piece we can listen to a range of responses and enjoy the visual storytelling employed as we learn of the stories of these Japanese youth.
Through an act of rebellious taste, these genderless fashionistas do face dealing with shock and criticism from their families and peers.
From one point of view, we have Yutaro explaining how his father was surprised to discover him starting to wear skirts, only to become supportive of him afterwards.
Then we have Satsuki, who describes dressing androgynously as being quite liberating, and started the trend after looking at this Korean model, only later to discover that it was a female, not male. However she still had to justify adopting the style to her parents.
Yoshiaki on the other hand spotted the trend for ‘genderless boys’ on social media in year 9, and turned to wearing make-up and shopping with his older sister, despite the pressure of opinion he would face.
In his own words, Yoshiaki describes his situation, “My school doesn’t understand genderless culture. When I wear tight trousers, they sometimes call me ‘faggot’, or they say ‘isn’t he gross?’ as I walk past. But if you care about other people’s opinion then you become boring, so I’d rather stand out and be different”
The film ends on a note of being encouraging, with the genderless youth observing how they’d like to see more people take courageous moves with fashion.
Yutaro notes that, “A lot of kids today are all about ‘fast fashion’. They wear what’s on shop mannequins. I want people to be more original, to show personality in their fashion”.
Either way, if you want to get a taste of an element of contemporary culture in Japan, connected to fashion, then check out the full interviews for more.