Popteen Magazine has a different take on a recent debate. There’s been a lot of talk on tumblr and in the comments on this blog and via twitter that streetstyle has really taken over and is diluting gyaru. My response to that is yes and no (more on this next week).
But it ignores one of the biggest pieces of gyaru style and one of the most popular: Sweet Gyaru or….
what Popteen Magazine is calling 清楚な女のコ Seiso na Onna no Ko or Polished Girl
It directly translates as “Neat and Clean Girl” but I think Polished Girl is a better translation because they say: Everyone aims to not look too Gal, and to not be plain but to have a Neat and Clean aura.
To me this translates best as polished, but up to you. I’ll be sticking probably with Seiso Gyaru to keep it in tune with Japanese magazines….
Popteen is going the Sweet Casual Gyaru way because it’s what their readers want. The last 4 months of surveys have been sweet or simple coordinates that have won best coordinate from their readers.
So when you complain why a magazine is going in a certain direction, Popteen says it’s what the people want. They say readers want to look more polished in make-up and fashion.
In order to focus more on this style Popteen is bringing in 4 brands that it usual doesn’t have in their magazine.
Four new brands to Popteen for the age of Polished Girl
Lowry’s Farm (site) which soon you’ll see a lot of shop staff snaps on the Doll from because I was buying from them in May.
Their stying of Nice Claup (site) reminds me of a more adult Ank Rouge or Tralala.
Earth, Music & Ecology (site) is a very big popular casual adult brand. I love the top cowboys boots coordinate. It reminds me on Ungrid or Liz Lisa from 3 years ago.
Back in January 2011 I talked about the Retro Girly trend in Sweet Gyaru and the statements I made about Retro Girly back then seem oddly like the ones I could make about this Sweet Gyaru grown-up shift. I know a lot of sweet gyaru lovers have been turning to Cutie and Vivi for years without a true magazine. Which to me is crazy since Ank Rouge and Liz Lisa are both adding new stores each year. Now Secret Honey, MiiA and Kumicky produced new store MicoAmeri (more info comes around I’ll talk about it). Many other gyaru brands have been losing stores (MA*RS, DIA), but most sweet gyaru brands are growing.
New Brands vs Gyaru Brands Price Point
Lowry’s Farm, Nice Claup, E-Hyphen and Earth Music Ecology are all usually cheaper than their gyaru competitors. To illustrate this I picked skirts at random from 5 brands: 3 gyaru vs 2 new Popteen introduced brands.
Now of course if you love Liz Lisa for the pink and frills you’re not going to buy the velour skirt from Lowry’s Farm instead. But it may make you buy the simple blouse from Lowry’s so you can afford the expensive skirt from Liz Lisa. Gyaru brands aren’t the cheapest option and I think they will start to face more competition especially with the Japanese economy and job opportunities not looking stellar. Gyaru grew because of more income by the teenager’s parents and more freedom. This shrinking in a lot of gyaru aspects feels in tandem with the slumping Japanese economy.
New Brands vs Gyaru Brands in number of stores
I’ve talked a lot about how gyaru is filtering out from the big hubs of Tokyo and Osaka and making an impact in small towns. But gyaru brands still aren’t really heading into the country, they’re just growing in medium-sized towns like Hiroshima and Kyoto. Ank Rouge has 14 stores and it’s one of the fastest growing gyaru brands as of late. However, 8 of those stores are located in the Tokyo and Osaka areas. Nice Claup has 44 stores. It’s in places from Yamagata to Nara. Liz Lisa is expanding but it has no stores in either location.
With those 44 stores they do have a higher advertising budget and I can see that as another reason Popteen Magazine put in these big brands.
New Era Hair and Make-up
Now this is where I’m calling shenanigans on Popteen. They’ve decided to trot out what they say is how the era should be done. But I’m going to show you their magazine from 2012 of September First. There’s not a whole lot of change.
Popteen September 2012 Make-up
Popteen October 2013 New Gyaru Make-up
Biggest changes: Feathered lighter eyelashes and less dramatic circle lens. But they’re still using a lot. To paraphase GuriGura from the NHK World’s Kawaii TV on new Gyaru is “we’re still using the same amount of make-up our goal is just to look more natural” and it’s true. Still top and bottom lashes. The skin, eyes and lips give a glossy look that gives the cute effect.
I think this issue is a tester, but it’s obvious Popteen is trying to give the readers what they want. I also feel there’s some underlying reasons (access, ad budget, economy and price) that the brands are being brought into Popteen. At the same time I worry about blend diluting gyaru, but gyaru will always be changing.