Christmas started as soon as we stepped out in the streets of Nottingham, head-to-toe in our Santa gear as we headed towards the Christmas market. By “we” I mean myself and QueenE gyarusa/gyaru circle members, and we looked fabulous! We didn’t have to walk for long and within moments we were greeted by wooden cabins with fake snow fluttering in the wind. No one batted an eyelid at our attire; well, it was December after all, so that’s basically Christmas!
Okay, I admit it – I will put my hands up and say that I don’t talk a lot about gyaruo on this blog, and that’s because I don’t really know much about them. I’ve only met a handful of gyaruo/gyaruo (the male equivalent of gyaru) and, sadly, we only have one in the U.K. (my gal Amber who occasionally does it from time-to-time). So I had a lil’ chat with my friend, Wes, about his life as a gyaruo! I’m going to call this as part of my “Interview with a Gyaru(o) series!” (Catchy, right?) Let’s begin…
“I love the look of it but I wish I was more confident to gyaru wear it in public…” is one of the most-used phrases I hear from people who have held back from wearing gyaru. It can be daunting because gyaru, like other Japanese fashion styles, isn’t exactly “normal”. Sure, we can get away with jeans and t-shirts but there’s something about us that sets us apart from Western fashion. Maybe it’s the over-the-top makeup, the curly hair, or the flashy nails… Whatever it is, it makes people look back and wonder “what the hell are they doing?”
I’ve had to deal with more and more ignorant people the more dramatic my style became. It allowed me to grow thicker skin and boy I’m so glad it did because I was a right nervous wreck when I first started! Even now it’s still quite nerve-wracking to be decked out in MA*RS, but my style has toned down because of my laziness so it’s not quite so bad anymore. Here are some tips I’ve learnt over the years on wearing gyaru it in public!
Depending on your job, gyaru doesn’t have to end when your work life begins. There are plenty of ways to incorporate it into your everyday if you can’t wear it at work, but this blog post is going to give you some gyaru work inspiration if you are able to wear it. It’ll be split into three categories: outfits, hair, and makeup!
I’ve always wanted to be no.1; when I first joined gyaru I wanted to be the best gaijin gyaru in the U.K., and a few years later it changed to wanting to be the best agejo in the world. My aims were pretty high so I bought as many MA*RS items that my greedy hands could get a hold of, and for a time I believed that I was the best and that I was happy. I tried hard – perhaps too hard – and I called it the golden age of my gyaru life.
That golden age lasted a year, maybe two, before I started my downward spiral. Agejo began to slip away from my fingers and I felt my identity lose its grip. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I began to doubt myself. I loved agejo, so why wasn’t it making me happy anymore? I worked so hard to be the best but it just took the joy out of gyaru and made it into a competition. In the end I was left disappointed and dissatisfied.
Aah, the gaijin gyaru community. Where do I start? Well, it was one of the first things I discovered when I started out doing gyaru and I’ve never looked back. Maybe it’s the sunshine (as Summer always calls to us gyaru) or the fact that I went to a gyaru meet recently – I can’t seem to get enough of gyaru and the online and local community! Here are the reasons why I love the jfashion comm…
What I Love About the Gaijin Gyaru + Jfashion Community
You’ll be surrounded by boss bitches
Wearing a jfashion style is not easy, especially if you’re from a place where pretty much everyone wears the same thing, so every person within the community has had to deal with some sh*t. This means that quite a lot of us has developed pretty thick skin, and no one can bring you down when you’re surrounded by your fellow gals.
They share your love for all things cute
Not everyone in the gaijin gyaru/jfashion community loves cute things, but it’s nice to be able to not feel ashamed for having Rilakkuma hanging off a chain on my bag or having a super pink phone case.
People love to go crazy with their style
Even if they’re just wearing jeans a hoodie, gyaru always find a way to pull it off in such a way that it looks fashionable. Wearing it’s by topping it up with over-the-top accessories and then some more, there isn’t a limit to style! ‘Boring’ is not a word in their vocabulary (even though sometimes we fall victim to feeling so), and I live for it.
Kawaii fairy kei fashionistas Caspian & Chi
Wai-yi – probs one of the cutest shop staff I’ve ever laid eyes upon
Zanni! I adore her, she’s so lovely!
Artbox, Covent Garden
You get to make friends from all over the world
If it wasn’t for gyaru I wouldn’t have been able to step out of my comfort zone and meet people who soon became the best friends I could ask for, let alone meeting people in a completely different country! Even meeting my jfashion friends from London causes butterflies in my tummy, and I’m just so overjoyed to know them.
Bigger community = more access to jfashion stores
Thank goodness our community is so big – in terms of jfashion as a whole – that we have UK stores like Dreamy Bows, Artbox, Tofu Cute, Roxie Sweetheart, and lots more! If it wasn’t for the fact that there’s a large ‘fanbase’ for all things cute, I don’t think we’d ever have access to things that came all the way over from Japan. And I love it!
They push me to try new things
I never thought something like this would happen but I’ve recently done my first vlog!!!!!! I tried it out when I was a young teenager, but I ditched the idea because I thought I wasn’t good enough. However the other day a newbie gaijin gyaru, Annie, encouraged me to try it again, and I did!
With gaijin gyaru newbie, Annie (just look at her hair omg love)
With Dani, probs the cutest hime gyaru ever
A few members of the UK gyaru comm! Myself, Wib, Dani & Annie
What are the things you love about the gaijin gyaru/jfashion community? And even to those that aren’t gyaru/into jfashion etc – what do you love about your alternative fashion community?
I know what you’re thinking – Is it even possible to feel lonely doing/being gyaru? Gyaru is, after all, a fashion, so how can you feel lonely by just wearing different clothes?
For me, gyaru is more than that. It’s what made me fall in love with Japan in general and accept my ‘kawaii’ side unapologetically. I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to use Rilakumma stationery at work if it wasn’t for gyaru (even though gyaru technically doesn’t have anything to do with it). Gyaru gives such a confidence boost, and the makeup is my war paint.
Sandals: New Look
Hat: Haven’t a clue
But it’s one thing dressing up and taking pictures in your gyaru gear vs actually going out and hanging out with other gyaru. To be surrounded by others to talk about things we’ve seen lately (like Sakurina’s new brand Riina Couture) or to help each other out in improving our style. Gyaru has always been a mainly internet-based style, and we tend to just communicate over FB/Twitter/Insta with the occasional gyaru meet here and there. I’ve always dreamed of the day that I could just hop over to a fellow gyaru’s house just for a casual hangout in our PJs and watching cheesy chic flicks rather than travel (what seems like) thousands of miles to see them.
So yes, being gyaru it is quite lonely.
If there was an easy way to feel less lonely then I’d be all over it. But in the meantime I’d say that the way to combat this loneliness is to just keep on being present, whether that’s on the internet or in the real world. Post those selfies, those outfit photos, and be effortlessly you in your style. Hell, start a blog! Get gyaru on the map but don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t work out… As long as you’re having fun and not forcing yourself to be gyaru for gyaru’s sake, than that’s all that matters, right?
Do you ever feel lonely being/doing gyaru (or any other alternative fashions)?
I would like to say that I have never experienced stupid comments in my gyaru life but that would be a huge lie. We are surrounded by some really ignorant people and it can get frustrating, and sometimes I can’t help but let my polite facade slip and grimace. There are a few things that I get asked/commented about that really grinds my gears, so below I’ve highlighted on things not to say to gyaru when you see one for the first time…
It’s that time of year when we’re jetting off around the globe, and enjoying the (hopefully) sunny destinations. There are so many places that I want to tick off my travel wishlist and after coming back from Japan just makes me want to go again! I aim to go on at least one holiday a year so you could say that I have experience with travelling, and being gyaru on holiday is a bit more challenging. I mean, we have to think about all of the awesome outfit ideas and the accessories to go with it, as well as figure out which styles of gyaru to pack! Below is my list of gyaru holiday tips to get you prepared for your summer escape. Hope it helps!
I have some really exciting news to tell you… Wib and I have created a gyaru circle! I mentioned in one of my previous posts that one of the things I missed the most about gyaru was being in a circle and getting that sense of belonging, and my wish was granted. We decided to call it QueenE (initially we were going to be called Queenie) in honour of our dear Queen Elizabeth! I’m so excited to see how it goes, and so far we’ve decided that we’ll host meets once a month in all areas of the UK.