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The fashion crazes of the 1980s swept the globe throughout the decade, blending together the past and an exciting future to create their iconic style. In the Japanese fashion scene top designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyaki ushered in a new age of fashion.

Taking inspiration from cultural Asian attire and blending it together with mainstream European fashion trends, Japanese designers created iconic and individualistic styles that took the world by storm and still offer inspiration to many designers and fashionistas of today.

Keep reading to find out how you can take inspiration from this incredible time in fashion and incorporate some 80s Japanese fashion trends into your own 80s inspired wardrobe.


The Magic of Monochrome

While many western fashion scenes in the eighties were embracing neon trends, the Japanese fashion world knew the powerful style of monochrome.

Sticking to mainly black and white in fashion items meant that any colours incorporated in an outfit created more of a contrast and pop and provided an overall stylish and sophisticated vibe.

This trend reached beyond the Japanese fashion market and was a particular favourite of eighties icon Jerry Hall.

Eye- Catching Patterns

An advantage of a more monochrome colour palette is that it looks great in a boldly patterned print. Bold geometric patterns were all the rage in the 80s Japanese fashion scene with Japanese pop stars like Miho Nakayama embracing this trend while in the 80s Diana Ross was also often scene rocking styles with geometric prints.

When embracing this look, remember to stick to one main pattern and keep the rest of your clothing items relatively plain for the ultimate effect.

Let’s Get Physical!

The popular trend of sports inspired fashion swept through the Japanese fashion world in the 80s. Incorporating sporty brands and the use of athletic wear became increasingly popular throughout Japan, largely popularised by pop culture stars and musical trends including the Olivia Newton John hit Let’s Get Physical.

Black, White…. And Red

As well as black and white, red was another important colour in the eighties Japanese fashion world. Red was often used in conjunction with a monochrome colour palette to give a necessary pop of colour and contrast.

Lady Diana Spencer even incorporated red into her ensemble when she visited Japan in the eighties. When looking to emulate this style keep you clothing mainly black and white with accents of red, such as a red scarf, belt or jacket.

School is in Session

Private school uniform inspired clothing became popular in Japan in the eighties and led to the rise of the preppy fashion scene in 1980s Japan.

Incorporating items such as button-down shirts, ties and long socks was a popular style and used by Japanese pop stars such as Akina Nakimori.

When trying out this style, try mixing together items such as long socks with a plaid skirt and tie.

Not too Tight

The baggy silhouette soared in popularity in the eighties fashion scene in Japan. Styles such as baggy pants and jackets that created a loose fitting silhouette were immensely popular and eighties stars like Demi Moore often incorporated these looks into their own wardrobe styles.

Styling a baggy jacket with some skinny jeans and a beanie creates a great modern twist on this iconic eighties look.


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Symmetry is Over-Rated

A classic style of the eighties Japanese fashion scene is the asymmetrical look. Wearing items that embraced asymmetry gave an extra element to any outfit and added an unusual and cool style to what could otherwise have been a plain look.

The asymmetry style was embraced by eighties celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Brooke Shields. Try styling an asymmetrical jacket with combat boots and a skirt for an eighties inspired outfit.

Some Inspiration from Thailand

In the Japanese fashion world drop crotch Thai fishing pants were immensely popular. A favourite of eighties Japanese pop stars such as Akina Nakimori, this style is making a comeback in today’s fashion scene.

For a casual yet stylish look, try pairing some Thai fishing pants with a crop top or singlet and a beaded necklace.

Creative Crinoline

As demonstrated in the eighties by pop star Minako Honda, crinoline can add a fantastic extra element to any look. Crinoline, a stiff petticoat worn under a dress or skirt to hold it out from the wearer, made a comeback in the Japanese fashion scene of the eighties often worn under a short skirt or dress to create a striking silhouette.

When embracing this look try adding some combat boots for a modern twist or style with some heels for a more classic outfit.

Androgynous Styles

In the eighties world of Japanese fashion androgynous styles soared in popularity. This fashion trend that is making a comeback in today’s fashion world, was embraced by eighties stars such as Akina Nakimori and Boy George.

There are lots of great androgynous inspired styles to embrace, if you need any more inspiration check out the styles of modern fashion icons like Ellen Page and Jaden Smith.

Kanji Jackets

Still popular in today’s fashion world, jackets decorated with Kanji letters soared in popularity in the eighties Japanese fashion scene. A versatile fashion item, jackets featuring kanji icons came in all styles and were a popular item of street wear in Japan.

Looking great when styled with jeans and t-shirt for a casual vibe, jackets featuring Japanese writing are still an immensely popular streetwear item today.

The eighties Japanese fashion scene was one like no other. Drawing inspiration from traditional styles and mixing it together with modern fashion trends, Japanese designer like Yohji Yamamoto created iconic and stunning eighties styles.

With the modern fashion scene seeing a comeback of many classic eighties Japanese styles, you can’t go wrong when embracing these looks. So grab some Thai fishing pants, some bold geometric prints or a baggy jacket and incorporate some of the great styles of 1980s Japan into your wardrobe!

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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