Coming To A Teen Near You: Kawaii, The Japanese Style Of Dressing Like A Living Doll

14/08/2014 16:51 | Updated 22 May 2015

Coming to a teen near you: Kawaii, the Japanese style of dressing like a cute Lolita

Trendy British teens are turning Japanese to make themselves look like cute over-made-up dolls.

They're the dedicated followers of the latest fashion craze called 'Kawaii', which involves girls sporting pink hair or dressing up to the nines in Hello Kitty.

Translated as 'cuteness' or 'adorable', the look involves emphasising child-like features such as big eyes and wearing doll-like dresses in sugary pinks, blues and yellows.

Kawaii is so popular in Japan that even men get involved, attempting to adopt androgynous doll-like looks. Now the craze has arrived in the UK.

At Hyper Japan, an annual celebration of all things Japanese due held at London's Earl's Court at the end of July, a Kawaii fashion show will take place to show off sugary style.

The most popular Kawaii style is called the 'classic Lolita', which despite referencing the Nabokov novel in the name, has nothing to do with looking sexy and everything to do with achieving a look that is as cute, girlish and pretty as possible.

Coming to a teen near you: Kawaii, the Japanese style of dressing like a cute Lolita

Based on frilled and furbelowed Victorian styles combined with a hint of goth, girls hope to achieve a porcelain-doll look using lashings of lace, ribbons, bows, ruffles, bloomers, aprons, and ruffled petticoats.

Then there's the 'Sweet Lolita' look, featuring even more ribbons, bows, and lace, than the 'Classic Lolita', which leaves out the gothic elements in favour of pastels.

'Fairy Kei' is also popular and involves giant bow headdresses or bonnets, teamed with lighter, less extreme make-up.

Among those taking part in last year's show is Grace St. John, now a Hyper Japan model, and fan of the 'Sweet Lolita' style of Kawaii dressing.

However, she said the outlandish Kawaii look can sometimes lead to problems when she's out and about in London.

"Sometimes being a Kawaii girl can be hard as a lot of people don't understand the fashion, and will shout at you in the street," she said.

"But I do get a lot of people coming up to me and telling me how much they like my style too. I went from loving Kawaii things to being a bit of a kawaii-aholic!"


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