New Egg Magazine and MARS Japan and the future of Gyaru brands

The news of the new Egg magazine and MARS as a gyaru brand has set off my brain wheels churning about the future of gyaru brands. I just tweeted out that EGG magazine is gearing up for a possible gyaru comeback. And it got some likes and retweets, but I want to delve deeper.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.47.50 PM

Recent photos of Shibuya 109 Shop Staff from the Shibuya 109 staff blog

Hopefully one thing that comes across in this blog is that I think a lot (too much). My brain races and it makes me a horrible sleeper. Kid Cudi always resonates with me but “Trapped in My Mind” especially is the damn truth. But it’s led me to think a lot about what the FUTURE holds for gyaru and MARS in general.

Gyaru Brands Current Changes

See with the decline of Gyaru fashion clothing brands have had to do a few things in order to survive:

  1. Water down and provide everyday looks. (See: Murua, Emoda, Cecil McBee, MeJane)
  2. Stay within their “cool sphere” (See: Moussy, SLY, BARAK, Gyda)
  3. Appeal to the Grown ups (See: Oneegyaru Duras, Lip Service, Rienda, Rady)
  4. Head to street (See: One*Spo, FIG&VIPER, Last Virgin, ENVY M)
  5. Dig for LARME coin (See: Swankiss, One*Spo, Ank Rouge, Liz Lisa)
  6. Discount themselves (See: OneWay and MARS)

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.47.58 PM

Now if the other option is to die: Glad News, Gilfy, etc… then nothing wrong with change. Gyaru fashion BY THE WAY has always been about change.

When people say “that’s not gyaru” is it because it never happened or it doesn’t fit their era or style (kei) of what they feel gyaru is. OR When people say they miss OLD GYARU which OLD GYARU style is it?

For example: if you consider gyaru to be tan bright clothing and GET WILD BE SEXY then what about Mode Gyaru or Hime Gyaru?

Gyaru fashion BY THE WAY has always been about change. I’m going to repeat that a billion times if people say old gyaru to me.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.48.13 PM

What does an Egg magazine revival mean for the future of gyaru?

So what does this mean for the EGG magazine revival and Gyaru fashion now? Because if an Egg comes out and it’s the same Egg then there’s a reason it closed. And the reasons 99% of magazines close is: readership and ad revenue.

BTW Egg magazine have yet to put out anything of who will be in it, how it will look or when it will come out. So NO NEWS but WE’RE KINDA BACK.

And all the side businesses around gyaru have had to close or change. Long acrylics aren’t the style anymore. Gels rule. Tanning salons shut across Japan. Hair set is mostly focused around hostess areas. Extension places are less and less. Even Diamond Lash has put out new more natural lashes and shut down the flashy types. And eyelash extensions are more the rage.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.48.50 PM

 

Model Manya may be shouting gyaru for her life and tanning, but it’s not common and it’s not selling.

Magazines are to get people to buy products. If Egg is selling the old Gyaru there is just not enough product to be sold.

And as much as I think the declining birth rate is a silly thing to discuss, it’s the facts. There are simply less youth to buy a magazine. Ageha and Ane Ageha exist because they’re aging with their customers. Magnet by Shibuya aka former Mens Shibuya 109 is aiming for people in their teens to late 20s. The new Egg magazine MUST also age.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.48.44 PM

There are a lot of people in their late 20s and 30s who did gyaru and still think it’s cute, but they’re looking for something new. But it must be new gyaru because old gyaru has been done and the lovers are smaller and GYARU HAS ALWAYS SURVIVED BY CHANGE.

The reason I posted all the Shibuya 109 shop staff photos is to show that there’s not much of what we considered gyaru even two years ago in there. Therefore not a lot of what EGG magazine was. And these girls are REQUIRED to dress in fashion and up to date.

Shibuya 109 is tied forever to gyaru. This is how a lot of fashion looks (street snaps lie).

MARS and the problem of Discount Gyaru

Before this whole new EGG Magazine issue came up, MARS has been churning my brain for a while. And let’s get back to it. Because I think the two are tied together.

mars-shinjuku-store

The Shinjuku MARS Japan store taken by me about 2 weeks ago.

First of all I feel like I need to provide some MARS Japan history. In order to do that here’s my stats from my 2011 MARS Japan post:

MA*RS details:
katakana: マーズ
style: agejo
website: http://www.mars-saja.com/index.html
number of stores: 10 (4 in Tokyo: Ikebukuro, Ueno, Shinjuku and Shibuya). Down from 11 stores last year. They opened a new one in Ikebukuro, but closed the second Shinjuku store in Lumine EST. However, they also closed another store. MA*RS compared to other expanding stores (Emoda, MURUA, Ank Rouge) must have had a down season in Fall.
years around: 21!!! (since 1990)

 

So that’s old news. NOW current MA*RS:

website: http://lilimpark.jp/
number of stores: All three in Tokyo: Ueno aBaB, Shinjuku main store, Shibuya 109
year around: 27

So 7 stores down in 6 years.

(Hat tip to LizzieBee who notified me of the Osaka MARS shut down)

Back around 2011 I remember an old Ageha issue with a model/hostess and her love for MA*RS clothing. She was so addicted she bought enough MA*RS to wear for 30 days. MA*RS was expensive back then so she was doing some minor bragging too.

MA*RS back then was considered THE hostess brand. I mean their main store is right next to Kabukicho.

Now MARS and Hostess are really not linked, that’s just not the case for these reasons:

  1. Brands like Rady (by former Ageha face Suzuki Mutoh) and Emira Wiz (by Ageha face and hostess Emiri Aizawa) has provided the hostess off duty look trend now.
  2. Hostess off duty is not sexy anymore. (There’s just a de-sexification in Japan recently across all)
  3. Hostesses off duty if they want to be flashy are about high brands like Louboutin shoes and Hermes bags.

So MARS has moved to discounts and Hime styles.

mars-shinjuku-store-sales

And when I say discount I mean those signs are always up, in every MARS Japan store. Constant sales and barely advertising anything over 2,500 yen.

Which has kept them around for now, but I’ve got concerns. And some people may be like a) yeah but they haven’t closed or b) what’s wrong with cheap?  A brand who tried to be exclusive, now tries to sell itself as cheap is going against the grain.

Back in 2011 it was “You bitches can’t even spell PRAGUE

1_000000000733

Current 2018 top seller is like can you come over for a casserole?

(Actually it’s cute and retro MARS like which is a bit unrealistic to 70% of their current clothing.)

mars-shinjuku-main-store-pink

A more realistic current MARS Japan look are these two in the Shinjuku shops window two weeks ago.

And shop staff

2011 looking cute

mars-shinjuku-store-2018

And 2018 taken from the MARS Shinjuku Main Store ameblo.

How far will MARS last? They’ve at least started their own webstore a long time ago and it seems to be updated and functioning well. They also seem to create items in two sizes and/or provide stretch or elastic to many pieces. Since Japan is getting heavier and another thing I wonder is how will Shibuya 109 brands cope past freesize? (It’s my vote for why fast fashion brands do well, they have L-LL sizes)

But what keeps people loyal to MARS Japan now? Because bragging about your MARS sweater isn’t so cool when it costs the same as Uniqlo. And Gyaru is a show-off. I can wear this hair. I can walk in these heels. I can AFFORD this MARS.

Another worrying trait I saw was this…

mars-saja-japan-bag-donki

Found this MARS Japan pouch in Don Quihote (donki). It’s quite cute.

mars-saja-brand-items-don-quihote

But it’s Donki so this is how MARS branded items are displayed.

Brand licensing is a good thing for most brands (Chanel makes more money on perfume than it does from handbags), but when it waters down the brand image it’s not a positive.


Both present more questions than answers

I don’t really have a lesson to teach here, it’s just something I want to keep an eye on.

Because is discount the future of gyaru? That probably won’t sell magazines. Will more stores turn to discount gyaru and will it be successful? Who knows, but there’s only so much money to compete for nowadays.

Will the rebirth of Egg magazine spawn a gyaru revival? Hopefully, but it better look very different. Change to survive.

As usual I type out news first on my twitter, so follow that if you want news or photos of my cats. Instagram for photos of my cats or me at Disney next week.

follow the Doll on bloglovin | Universal-Doll facebook | Mitsu on twitter “miss_mitsu” | metoomitsu on instagram  | – join/add/follow? :bow:

4 Comments

  1. February 8, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    This is one thing I noticed after many years shopping and living in Japan: I’ve been called gyaru on more than one occasion while wearing H&M or Bershka (and at work no less). To people into the fashion style, it’s got layers, clear delineations, and branches off to so many other styles and that’s awesome, but to the average citizen, it seems to be less about the actual brand, and more how you style yourself. And standing out. If there is one thing gyaru in Japan have always done, it’s stand out, no matter what style they’re wearing (see: crocs and gyaru lol).

    I think other brands could survive this decline if they focused on working with current trends to make looks that stand out as opposed to sticking solely with their own, in some cases aged, aesthetic. It sucks, but that’s the reality of fashion business…

    Uggghhh, I could talk fashion with you all daaaay~~ Please keep following this. I’m interested in seeing what these brands do for summer and autumn.

  2. February 9, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    Oh man, great post! I really enjoy reading your blog BTW… even though I have not really made attempts at “dressing gal” in a while, I still like getting the first-hand information on what’s happening with it. :D …and your point is well made about what the heck do people mean when they say they miss the “old gyaru” even. LOL. I get that some trends are cyclical or you see bits and pieces of something from a season or two ago pop up again in current trends, but there are definitely overall looks that “define” an era of style.

    Many years ago when I was still a college kid and doing the gal thing (or as gal as I could possibly get being in America and not Japan, LOL) I would dress mostly hime or Liz Lisa style with some MA*RS stuff tossed in and would tend to lean toward one or two primary makeup/hair styles that I felt suited my face shape. I kept doing this even though it was out of date after a while by Japan’s definition anyway. I just found I liked that style/look and that it suited me so I went with it. And most people in the US would not have any clue if it was out of style or not on-trend anymore. (They mostly would just assume my friends and I wanted to look “fancy” that day.) But I found that “version” of gyaru suited me best and I’d still wear that again even now that it’s pretty well dead.

    It’s interesting to me that MA*RS clothing can still be had. The 2011 MA*RS style is still more or less “available” on their website but it’s definitely, uh, different, as you pointed out, haha. But out of all the brands it seems like it is most stagnant or is still “identifiable” as MA*RS. Though the outfits in the store window you posted definitely don’t scream “MA*RS” to me as much as the pink and black outfit. (Still cute tho, and I’d wear them if they came in my size, LOL.) Which is another point… if MA*RS website shipped overseas and they made a size LL, I’d probably order from them. But I can’t seem to find an item that would fit me and I doubt they ship overseas. On the other hand, Yumetenbo/DreamV on Rakuten Global does indeed ship overseas (albeit only EMS, zouch!) but I actually still continue to buy from them mostly b/c it seems they have extended their range of available sizes and it is not difficult to place an order. I am less likely to order from Japanese “brands” which require shopping services to use. (This was different many years ago when I had a personal shopper in Japan who was awesome and managed to get me the specific stuff I wanted at MA*RS and Liz Lisa.) I think brands can survive better if they sell online, willing to ship overseas, and extend their size range. This is just my opinion, though. I am not sure how true it is… but it seems there is a greater shift in general to purchasing online. There are instagrams and blogs featuring pictures of ‘dead malls’ in the US, which I found interesting. I wonder if the same thing is happening in Japan, and hence their desperate attempts at revival, like in your last post about Magnet?

    (Also side note – I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the stuff they sell on Yumetenbo Rakuten shop in relation to current gal trends in Japan.)

    You also mentioned there is a “de-sexification” culture shift happening across Japan now. I’d be curious to learn more about that. I honestly have not been to Japan since 2007, and I was living in Sapporo, not Tokyo, so I imagine there were some differences based on location alone, but I am curious about what you meant there. As in, host/hostess bars are more or less dead? Or it’s not “cool” to be sexy in Japan? Or is that different generations value different things?

    When I was at the height of my gyaru obsession, I was roughly 20/21 years old. I’m going to be 30 this year. It’s not that I don’t want to get dressed up anymore, but it’s just… a lot of effort. And the group of people who I used to dress up with no longer live near me, so I lost the desire to do it. Plus I’d rather spend my money on cute yet adult/professional looking clothes that I can wear to work or more casually so that way I get more than a couple wears out of them if that makes any sense? LOL. Come to think of it, most of the outfits I enjoyed styling years ago were more ‘cute’ than ‘sexy’ yet I always coveted MA*RS style. Might have been in my heart I felt that I looked silly in the ‘sexy’ gal outfits, and felt more secure/comfortable with my body/image in ‘cute’ floral Liz Lisa stuff….

    Sorry ramble-y AF reply, but in short: yay, I love that you still post here, please keep posting! & I miss dressing up in general whether it’s gyaru or other styles…but yea, things have changed, continue to change, that’s what it’s all about, but can be hard for someone (such as myself) who fell in love with gyaru years ago, so that’s the “idea of gyaru” in my mind, and I want to go back to that, but it’s more…err… practical (?) for me to go forward instead with a more adult look? (I dreaded the day I would type those words, but here we are, LOL.)

  3. PAOLO F****
    February 9, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    You mentioned there is a ‘de-sexification’ culture shift recently across all over Japan. What do you mean exactly? I’d be curious to learn more about that.

  4. Mary
    February 17, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    I like change in fashion but I think lately gyaru fashion has let me down because a lot of the trends now are very basic and normcore other than Larme. I am just waiting for something new and actually exciting to pop up. It doesn’t have to be “get wild be sexy” but I would prefer something a lot less watered down. Though I will always be nostalgic for the hay day where there were many different types of gyaru and lots of different magazines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


:) :( :icon_eek: :o :-S 8) :oops: ;-( :-D -_- :x :mad: :P :mrgreen: :wink: :roll: :?: :evil: :love: :panda: :depressed: :^_^;;: :yayblush: :cat: :cat2: :lovecat: :heartcat: :sadcat: :catno: :cheery: :smiley: :star: :stars: :star2: :bow: :dotbow: :rila: :korila: :marie: :alpaca: :heart: :hearts2: :hearts3: :eyelashes: :makeup: :shoe: :loveword: :omg: :lolpastel: :whaaa: :happydance: :yayyay: :rushed: :busy: :heartguy: :heartmouthguy: :rockoutguy: :stepup: :sage: :up: :peace: :sweatbubble: :regret: :heartbreak: :109: