The Kawaii movement originates from Japan. The term means “adorable,” “cute,” “childlike,” or “attractive.” Behind this is a particularly aesthetic concept. The childlike and innocent nature of persons, figures, mascots, etc. is emphasized here. The kawaii concept thus encompasses various areas of life, e.g.

  • Fashion
  • Commercial/Corporate (Company Mascots)
  • Sport Events (Mascots for Sport Events)
  • Gadgets
  • Furnishing and design
  • U.v.m.

In Europe, the equivalent word in local language is often used for cuteness aesthetics.

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Kawaii started in the seventies in Japan. Here it was mainly girls who began to use a certain handwriting, wear clothes in Kawaii style, etc.. The whole thing then first spilled over to the entire Japanese population and then spread in the eighties in all of Southeast Asia. Around the year 2000 Kawaii fashion finally came to the USA and Europe.

However, for our latitudes it is often not quite understandable or even strange to see in which situation Kawaii is used in the country of origin Japan. Because for Western cultures, the concept is inappropriate in some situations or seems frivolous. In Japan, for example, you can find Kawaii style mascots in almost all companies, government agencies and institutions. Kawaii elements then appear in warnings, military advertisements, and commercial airlines – places we wouldn’t expect.

So while in the West the childish behavior should be discarded as soon as possible, the Japanese tend to delay the time.

Interesting about Kawaii figures, such as Pikachu and Hello Kitty, is that they hardly have any facial expressions, as is the case with Disney figures, for example. Kawaii figures are therefore extremely stylized figures. This can go so far that the figure has no mouth at all, as is the case with Hello Kitty, for example.

Kawaii culture is so ingrained in Japanese society that even adults read children’s comics in public without being looked at funny. As already mentioned, you can find kawaii elements everywhere in Japan, especially mascots and clothes. Banks give customers cuddly toys, and the same goes for parties in election campaigns, which distribute cute little dolls among the voters.

Groups and singers, especially of K-Pop give themselves accordingly less sexy than rather cute and sweet.

Kawaii as a fashion trend

Kawaii can also be used as a description/designation of a fashion trend. Because Kawaii fashion is an important part of the overall concept. In Japan in particular, but increasingly also in Europe and the USA.

The most important element is certainly the childishness. Cute little dresses with lots of lace, ruffles, bows and typically sweet colors are the center of attention here. The accessories are also very playful and often have comic figures as print.

Sometimes the kawaii outfits almost seem like a bit of cosplay and it’s no wonder if you’re reminded of Sailor Moon or similar characters. Kawaii are also the cuddly Kigurumis – Onesies in animal form.

Kawaii articles and products

Kawaii articles are plentiful and surely you have stumbled across them many times without noticing them. To think here for example of the beautiful Hello Kitty mug, pencil cases, school bags, handbags, etc. with Kawaii motives from anime, comics, etc.

Also pens, erasers, cell phone cases and similar things often have Kawaii motifs, such as cute girls with googly eyes, cute bears, bunnies, etc.. Also the popular Monchichi of the eighties is a Kawaii figure.

Kawaii – lots of smileys are part of texting

It’s also particularly typical for Kawaii fans to use lots of smileys and emoticons when texting. SO you will practically never see a message from a Kawaii girl that doesn’t have an emoticon attached to every sentence that expresses mood or just somehow embellishes the afterglow and makes it seem cuter and more childlike.

Guide to wearing Kawaii Fashion

Finally, here’s a little guide if you want to dress in Kawaii style now too and don’t know where and how to start. It should also be said in this sense that you do not have to go to certain shops to buy a ready-made outfit, but you can also put everything together yourself. Because kawaii is basically an attitude towards life and a lifestyle.

So here are a few practical tips:

  • Preferably wear T-shirts and sweatshirts with cute prints, preferably in pastel colours. A statement piece should be used in any kawaii outfit. T-shirts or sweatshirts – depending on the season – are particularly suitable here. So use your favorite Kawaii character (comic book character, anime reference, favorite animal, etc.).
  • Preferably uses pastel colors. Often in kawaii, bold patterns are combined with softer, more childlike colors. Cream, lavender, pink, light green, baby blue, etc are popular colors.
  • Likewise, lots of ruffles are part of it. The baby-doll look, for example, is a true classic. On girls’ socks, for example, a ruffled edge is a must, or alternatively little bows.
  • At least one schoolgirl look belongs in the closet of a kawaii fashionista. So pleated skirt (usually plaid) in school uniform look, knee socks, white blouse, vest or jacket.
  • Always keep in mind that while Kawaii is kind of sexy already, it never really gives too much away. Childish innocence is also set. A short skirt is almost always combined with high knee socks and a closed blouse or T-shirt.
  • Make sure you have the right accessories to complete the kawaii style beautifully. So cute jewelry, cute handbags, hair bows, etc.
  • If you dare, you can also dye your hair in a classic kawaii color, such as pink, lavender or white blonde.
  • Incorporate stuffed animals when possible. These can look out of a backpack, be used as a keychain, etc.
  • When it comes to makeup, googly eyes are the main focus. The mouth is typically made up more nude or possibly a sweet pink.
  • It is also a good idea to follow a relevant kawaii blog to get timely information about tendencies and trends.

You see, Kawaii style is quickly put together and can then be made into a true lifestyle with Kawaii products, Kawaii decor around the house and K-Pop music on your phone.

In a good specialized Kawaii online shop you will usually find a lot of great things that you can combine well. Because what is important in Kawaii style is definitely your own creativity!