Japanese Fashion Values

I am studying English every day, and I’m receiving help from an English teacher for this blog.
I want to be able to speak English fluently. Now, during my daily English lessons, my teachers and I talk about fashion. They have no problem with buying second-hand clothing, and it’s quite normal for them. I even learned the word “second-hand” from them.
On the other hand, Japanese people like to buy new clothes and I can tell you this from my experience giving fashion styling lessons. When I suggest ”Buying used clothes”, they all say, “I want new clothes.” I understand that new clothes are better, but the products in Japanese second-hand clothing stores are in almost perfect condition as well.
So why are they hesitant to buy second-hand clothing?
Let me share with you about the way we Japanese think about fashion.

Japanese Fashion Values

No option to buy used clothes

In Japan, there are many events in our daily lives, and we find ourselves buying new clothes, shoes, and bags every time. How about in your country? Buying new clothes for a school excursion or a trip with friends can make you feel fresh. You know the happy feeling when you put on a new pair of shoes.
“Everyone around me is doing that, so I must do the same.”
Japanese people in particular may feel this unconsciously. Through group life and education at school, it is considered “bad” to act outside the group, and we Japanese are always thinking about how we are viewed by those around us.


As a result, we are unable to enjoy fashion that is honest to our sensibilities.

Brainwashing by Fashion Magazines



In Japan, there are many fashion magazines that are divided according to age, hobbies, and tastes.
While these magazines provide readers with various dressing suggestions and fashion trends, they are also an important sales promotion tool for the fashion industry. Teenagers and young adults in their early twenties are particularly interested in their own fashion, so they check out fashion magazines and SNS(social networking sites) to see what celebrities and actors are wearing, and at the same time, they want to look like them.
This may be why people think that any fashion style they haven’t seen in magazines or SNS is “tacky”. That’s a shame because it takes away from our individuality.
We are allowed to wear clothes as we see fit.

We know too little about what’s behind all of them



Japanese people love fashion trends, so ZARA and H&M, world-famous brands, are also popular in Japan. If you go out on the street, you will notice that Japanese people are wearing similar clothes and shoes. However, few people know that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of climate change.
On the contrary, when talking with my English teachers, I noticed that Japanese people do not have such knowledge or education in comparison to other people around the world.
I also feel that fashion companies not informing us of this existing situation is a major problem.
As mentioned above, while we Japanese value cooperation, we are always concerned about the reactions of those around us. This is true in the workplace, at school, and on public transportation.
Lastly, I would like to introduce a story that recently became a hot topic on Twitter in Japan. I saw an article where the Princess of Monaco received a lot of criticism for her mohawk hair, and she commented on the criticism as follows.

Of course. The remarks of ‘But what is she doing?’ and ‘But it’s not royal!’ — I know these all too well. And I have nothing to say to them, except that we’re in 2021 and that in these times which are so troubling, so difficult, there are other, much more important subjects which deserve our attention.

To this, we Japanese said, “Cool!” I was one of them. However, unfortunately, it will not be accepted in Japanese society.
If we don’t start respecting what others do, the Japanese will forever be unable be to find their own fashion style.

I appreciate you taking the time out to read this blog.