Cocolulu: Early Gal and Co&lu 109 to overseas

So on my formspring, someone asked me to talk about Cocolulu. Which is great I’m all for suggestions of what to write about here, or random questions! Bring ’em on! :sparkle2:

To talk about Cocolulu is really to talk about the early trends of gal.


The history of gal: The term kogal (j wiki) started to be used in the early 1990s when teenagers started showing up to clubs. They were called kogals because they were in highschool (koukou) and because they were small/childish (ko). So they started in the clubs and wore the style that existed in the early club scene of the 90s. So while they were younger, they weren’t really setting their own fashion trend. This influx of people into the club scene made for huge clubs in Tokyo, both Avex run Velfarre and Juliana Tokyo (fansite).

The club style of the time was bodi-con and idol and these highschool girls dressed like that. Bottom left is the early days of bodicon, top right is the reopening of Velfarre in 2003.
You can still see feathery fans used in gal clubs today.

Then Amuro came along:

It all started in 1996 with Amuro Namie, a superb, 17-year-old siren and graduate of Okinawa’s Actor’s School. An excellent dancer, she performed on stage in a strapless bra and then in a pant suit with long jackets. Her look–golden skin, mother-of-pearl hair and carefully tweezed eyebrows–immediately became all the rage, launching the “tropical” style. Amuro Namie also introduced the vogue of “platform boots,” which she even wore in the middle of summer to make up for her short stature. – Sirens of Tokyo

Even in bodycon women were not necessarily tanning themselves, especially since the adult women doing this were mostly office workers (OLs). Now there is a bit of argument on whether Amuro latched onto ganguro or whether she originated it. The fact is Amuro Namie was just tanned because of her Okinawan descent and lifestyle, and it was also a craze for younger girls to tan and start enjoying surf clothes.

The rise of Cocolulu

In comes Cocolulu

Some Cocolulu history: Cocolulu is as old school gal as you can get. Starting in 1998 with a surf style. Cocolulu was a big part of the early gal surf scene, but quickly adapted to the style that Amuro preferred. Since its gal shift, they’re a brand directly aimed at teens. Even today most Co&Lu lovers are under 20. It’s a brand that’s not really trying to grow up as Emoda, Egoist and Lip Service are. It’s all about being a teen and enjoying the surf and sun. :sparkle:

Their t-shirts and parkas were the first to become popular, but their logo jeans which were introduced in 2003 are now very stylish. The Men’s side of Cocolulu opened last Spring in 2009. some info via

The amazing thing about Cocolulu is how much they’ve stayed the same throughout the years. While AlbaRosa became disgusted with the yamaba crowd using their surf wear and closed shop promising to never make another hibiscus print, Cocolulu has be doing the same through so many gal changes. While they may be more considered an Amekaji (American Casual) brand now, I think they’re more just their own style with bits of Amekaji thrown in the more hade (flashier) they’ve gotten. :star:

Some early Cocolulu from Egg magazine (date unsure) Not really different from this year

Randon fact: Cocolulu is one of the only 109 brands popular enough to have its on wiki page

Breaking down Cocolulu Style

webstoreblog | I don’t think it’s official, but a terribly cute mom and daughter Cocolulu blog can be found at cocolulumini

Let’s show how CocoLulu is now…

Now it’s known as being very “hade” aka meaning being flashy and colorful.

I would say this is a pic to show how heels and plaids are also popular and how the prints have gotten “hade”, but well… it’s really just to show how cute Egg Models Hi-bou, Kanako and Romihi are :oops:


One of the great things about Cocolulu is their wide range of sizes. Their pants can go from 24 to 28 (or really a 74 cm low waist to an 82 cm low waist).

Cocolulu 109 to overseas

malignita and I were working on a w*c 109 to overseas collab post, when I asked her if she could help on the Cocolulu one and she yet again proved her gal angel skills by finding some amazing pieces! I’m seriously unworthy, the girl is a genius at this! So if you love this, thank malignita :hearts2:


Engrish trucker cap – Yesstyle – $25.00
Hilarious Engrish trucket cap – Yesstyle – $25.00
Engrish baseball cap – Yesstyle – $25.00


Julius Print Hoodie – Karmaloop – $34.00
Print Hooded Pullover – Yesstyle – $32.00
Letterman Jacket with Hoodie – Yesstyle – $28.00
Track Jacket – Forever 21 – $19.90
Cleveland Hooded Jacket – Forever 21 – $22.90

Bright plaid – Delias – $24.80
Light plaid – Yesstyle – $22.00
Scoopneck Engrish tee – Yesstyle – $14.00
Longsleeve Engrish tee – Yesstyle – $18.00
Raglan Engrish tee – Yesstyle – $22.00
Glitter Graphic tee – Victorias Secret – $19.50
Stars and stripes tank – Forever 21 – $12.90
Heart printed tank – Victorias Secret – $24.50

Baggy Jeans – Yesstyle – $20.00
Levis 501 Rather ripped – Urban Outfitters – $78.00

Multi-colored hightop – Pastry – $49.99

Comic logo belt – JCPenny – $14.99
Or… any of the colored belts by LRG – Karmalopp – $20.00

Babyphat logo – DrJays – $6.99
RocaWear Baddest Chicky – DrJays – $9.00

Phew… so much color :sparkle2:  Not exactly my style, but it’s pretty fun to see when done right :upheart:

Kogal info sourced from several academic papers including:
:star2: The Emergence of Trendsetters for Fashions and Fads: Kogaru in 1990s Japan by Tadashi Suzuki and Joel Best in The Sociological Quarterly Vol. 44, No. 1 (Winter, 2003)
:star2: The sirens of Tokyo. By: Jolivet, Muriel, UNESCO Courier, 00415278, Jul/Aug2001


    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:03 pm

      Thank you :hearts3:

  1. Anonymous
    March 14, 2010 / 3:39 pm

    Thanks for doing a post on it for me! I can see why so many people love the brand! It’s so American Cali!

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:04 pm

      Thanks for suggesting it, it was challenging but fun :loveword:

  2. maraschinoch
    March 14, 2010 / 3:57 pm

    God, I love your posts! I learn something new everyday! + more reason to love Namie Amuro! I didn’t know she was from Okinawa. And thanks to the person who suggested this post too. >.<

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:04 pm

      Awwwh shucks, thank you for your lovely compliment :hearts2:

  3. March 14, 2010 / 4:02 pm

    interesting post, but I don’t know, I never enjoyed CO&Lu… too much colorful.
    malignita always does a great job! it’s amazing!

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:05 pm

      I agree with both. Too much “haadi” for me and malignita is amazing! :hearts2:

  4. March 14, 2010 / 4:10 pm

    great post! co&lu is such an interesting brand

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:05 pm

      Thanks chica :cheery:

  5. Kallen
    March 14, 2010 / 4:24 pm

    I love this! I mean, Cocolulu isn’t my style at all (I’m black & white & silver from head to toe) but man, I love looking at people who pull it off. So cute! Thanks for this post. :)

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:06 pm

      Yeah exactly, it’s great seeing but it’s not my thing :note:

  6. March 14, 2010 / 4:57 pm

    Love it! I was waiting to see a Cocolulu post :love:

    Its not a style I could pull off, as I’m 27 and its a big too young/too hip-hop for me, but if I was 15/16 I would TOTALLY wear it. Although, I think even older gals could wear the more understated heels/jeans/flannel look….its still bright, but also more mature. I might have to try working that look into my wardrobe somewhere. :hearts:

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:07 pm

      LOL well I’m not very into AmeKaji so I tend to not post on it unless someone asks.

      I agree I prefer to dress a little uhh mature sounds wrong but adult-ish? Yeah :stars:

  7. March 14, 2010 / 6:32 pm

    I am like Jessica, and I don’t think I could pull off this look anymore, so I never bothered to learn much about Co&Lu. For me, this post was very informative, and I like how you opened with a little bit of kogal history. Old school late 90s early 00s kogal is so interesting for me haha.

    Anyhow, I never knew Co&Lu has been around that long! And I think that style is perfect for the 15-19 year old crowd, it’s not sexy but it’s cute and stylish^^

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:09 pm

      Yeah I didn’t realize it had been around for so long until I did some research. That’s amazing a brand has been around for so long in a fickle fashion industry, go Co&Lu :sparkle2:

  8. March 14, 2010 / 11:51 pm

    I always love reading your posts and learning something new, whether it’s about a particular brand or just gyaru culture in general. X333

    Collecting items for this post was so fun, too. Speaking of which, how does a Lip Service 109 to Overseas post sound? I have a growing list of stuff already!

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:11 pm

      I can’t believe how spot on you were! You yet again amaze me! I’m game for a Lip Service post, I’m missing being there and being able to get their cute set-ups in person :(

      I am hoping you’ll collab on a Spring trends one, too. It’s selfish because I’m curious if there’s an American store that has similar cancan hats :wink:

      • March 16, 2010 / 12:14 am

        That sounds great! I’ll go ahead and email you everything.

        I’ve seen a couple can-can hats in Western stores so far, but not too many. (I definitely haven’t seen any as cute as ones by, say, LDS.) It might be a few more weeks/months before they start catching on, lol.

  9. March 15, 2010 / 2:26 am

    I’ve always loved Co&Lu. I remember saving up my pocket money for this adorable little makeup bag. Then a few weeks later I found out that it had been a freebie in a magazine. Now, I think Ranzuki is always loaded with free CoLu stuff, so I just get that instead.

    I absolutely adore the amekaji look, and I know I really overdid it on my lazy days off, when I was straight out of highschool. I have the awful feeling I’m about to relapse…You’re a genius at finding great links/items for those outside Japan. :bear:

    Thankyouuuuu Mitsuuuu

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:12 pm

      It was all malignita, she’s amazing.

      LOL well… summer is a great Cocolulu time. What better season to rock a surf-style brand :up:

  10. March 15, 2010 / 3:25 am

    I discovered your blog a few days ago and I can’t stop reading it! :loveword:
    I love Co&Lu look, so happy and colourful! I would love finding so bright clothes but actual fashion in my country is just brown-brown-brown-grey-brown.

    I’ll keep reading you and learning more about the gal world! :mrgreen:

    PS: Sorry for my bad English -_-

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:14 pm

      Yay I’m really thrilled you’re enjoying it :bear:

      LOL Don’t worry most of Japan looks like they own a closet of black and some white, so the Cocolulu girls really stand out. Especially after the monotone trend of fall :roll:

  11. March 15, 2010 / 3:59 am

    I love reading about old gal, simply because I got into it back in the late 90s early 00s. Nostalgia! I also think it is really interesting how CocoLulu has barely changed!! Just look at those pictures and compare–there really is not much different!

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:15 pm

      Wow amazing that you’re been enjoying it for so long! How has your style changed? :!:

  12. March 15, 2010 / 6:55 am

    I knew Namie had created her own fashion trend when she first appeared on the scene back in the mid-late 90’s, but I had no idea it was related to gal! :-D It’s amazing how every time I come on your blog, I learn something new about the style~ thanks for this! :hearts3:

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:15 pm

      Namie is amazing, isn’t she. She’s been through more fads than Ayu. She was so b-kei for a while. :note:

  13. March 15, 2010 / 8:27 am

    Aww, it’s so awesome to see the history about kogal :hearts:
    I don’t really like shoes without heels on gal, but CocoLulu pull it off so well! :oops:
    It’s pretty fun to see how gal change during the years, I can’t imagine a gal with not too much makeup and black hair :love:

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:18 pm

      Yeah I understand. I don’t like seeing gals without heels. There’s a ballet flat trend this Spring and I tried it today and it felt a bit wrong :-S

      LOL and now some are going back to black. There was even a featured ameblo post about whether the girl was gal or not because she changed her hair to black. The response was mainly kawaii kawaii about her hair and not much if it was gal or not :!:

  14. March 15, 2010 / 1:46 pm

    I’m not a fan of the Co&Lu style, but I do think Gal’s look cute in it :hearts:

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:19 pm

      Yeah I agree. I think it’s one of those brands that looks best with a whole outfit of that brand, and I’m not willing to dip my toes in that far to the Co&Lu pool :rila:

  15. March 15, 2010 / 1:56 pm

    awwrrr! I L-O-V-E co&lu style! :korila:
    One of my favourites brands! :hearts:

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:20 pm

      teehee your blogspot name was enough to give that away! You look great in it girlie :upheart:

  16. ayakuso
    March 15, 2010 / 6:18 pm

    I really appreciate the overseas style finds since I’m a bit big for most co&lu stuff ): thank you so much for this post; I’ll have to try a similar amekaji style now <3

    • Mitsu
      March 15, 2010 / 7:21 pm

      I’d love to see your results! I love seeing how western gals pull off a look without 109 clothing, it’s amazing :upheart:

  17. March 17, 2010 / 5:08 pm

    I like co&lu but its not really my style and Im too old for it anyways:O
    Thanks for doing this post though,I learnt alot:)I knew co&lu where old but i didn’t know they where that old:O
    I like that you included academic papers aswell,i enjoy reading things like that.For my dissertation last year I did a paper about conformity and Japanese fashion,it was fun but intense:O

    Love the overseas part,especially that it included items that are available to the uk aswell as americaXD :rila:

  18. March 21, 2010 / 6:37 pm

    I have never been much into Cocolulu, but I think their stuff is suuuupercute, and when the wearers wear it right it looks sooo good :-D

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