Fashion has always constituted the concepts of trends and the hegemony instilled by fashion designers and companies alike. Sub-fashion will protrude from the ordinary, producing an alternative style that is directed towards a very specific audience. These styles clash against the norm, contributing their own unique blend of both fabrics and designs, shaping them into the very shibboleths that represent various subcultures.

Japan is known for its extensive styles of “kawaii” or cute fashion, meddling in pastels and cute images. These images are usually associated with cute animals, anime characters, and much more. Accessories are another contributing factor as people wear bracelets, earrings, and other unique jewelry.


Japanese Gurokawa Fashion
Sample art and fashion inspired by the alt and Kawaii sub-style known as Gurokawa

Standard kawaii does not reign 24/7, as its darker complement hails in the deeper crevices of Japan, shocking common folk, and unsettling many more.

Enter Gurokawa: the response to everything that is cute, the “darker-kawaii”. Guro stands for grotesque, and the kawa means “kawaii” or cute. Instead of just cute animals patterned throughout garments, we have them with bloody eyeballs spurting forth from entire dresses, pants, and any other forms of accessories.


A macabre obsession with the dead is formed as gore adorns everything that is gurokawa fashion. This style does not merely belong to anyone, as only those who would dare step forth into the light, showcasing the horrors and grotesque ideals of a designer’s art, are able to stomach what this fashion entails.

Blood-stained leggings, accompanied by platform boots, lend every aspect of one’s outfit to the lethality of real-world objects; knives, razor blades, and everything that is sharp, gurokawa is not an opposition to running with scissors!

As a bonus, check out this music video from London-based artist Jazmin Bean. Bean embraces the Gurokawa fashion and pop music in a wonderfully morbid amalgamation of contrasting styles and visuals.




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