Our Facebooks and Instagrams are flooded with memes that say things like “Always be you. But if you can't be you, be (insert something magical like unicorns or Beyoncé here).” But it wasn't always that way.
Once upon a time there was man and woman. They lived in the same place and only saw each other, making them uniformed in their way of life. As civilization evolved and man and woman began to travel, they bought new methods to their old lands. These people who now dressed, walked and did things a little different were not readily accepted and often shunned by their peers.
Individuality is defined as the quality or character of a person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind. The more we grow as a human race we preach and try to practice individuality daily. We express ourselves more freely, we find ourselves and our crew and scream out “Squad goals” once we finally feel at home. But if we create our squad full of like-minded people and we move as a pack, are we really practicing individuality? Has individuality on a social level become more of a concept rather than a reality?
Every country operates with some sort of pack mentality. We are all influenced by our peers and adopt certain behaviors because the need to be accepted has been passed down through generation and is inherent in us rather we want to accept it or not.
Art, in every medium especially fashion prides itself on seeing the beauty in differences. There are so many subcultures within fashion and Tokyo street style hands down has the most immense fashion cultures. Rockabilly, Gyaruo, Yamanba, and within those subcultures are even more subcultures. It gets deep.
The most-high fashion and least flamboyant on the list is Japanese Mode.
This style loses the shape of garments and limits the color pallet. Brands like Comme des garçon and Yohji Yamamoto regularly use elements from the Mode style in their runway and ready to wear collections. Before America turned A la Mode into a term used for ice cream topped pie, it simply meant “in fashion”. Which makes perfect sense because, fast fashion and trends are the farthest thing from a Mode boy or girls mind. To truly embrace Mode, you want to lean towards designer labels and quality garments. Sorry Fashion Nova babes this ain’t for you.
This style blends in, to stand out. Muting your wardrobe and straying from flashy colors sends off a message that you don’t want to be seen. However, creating abstract shapes with your body that are nothing short of striking shout “notice me!” In my opinion this street style represents what people mean when the say be an individual today in today’s world. When our parents and teachers preach for us to be our truest selves, they mean in the style of Mode. Be fashion forward but keep it classic, be daring but not provocative.
We want to be different but not so different that we separate ourselves from the gang. Japanese Mode deliverers the perfect amount of self-awareness and uniqueness evenly spread over a plate of acceptability.
Because our species is so old, there is really nothing new under the sun. What can be done has already been done twice over, making individuality merely a concept we strive for with the reality being that we’re copycats in our quest for it.