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I delayed on writing a post about #N the new Neogal magazine for reasons. I was exhausted from being sick, and more importantly I felt that there have been a lot of rants on this blog lately. Rants coming from positive places, but well it seemed this blog had gotten negative.

My whole belief system is if you put positivity out into the world you’ll get positivity back. This boils down to what I like to call “bitch karma”. If you’re a bitch it’ll always come back to you, so best stay positive and nice. Not saying I deserve a halo, but I’m trying. But there’s going to be a rant in this one, or at least me calling out stuff, so be warned.

#N the new Neogal Magazine Introduction

#N is the new NeoGal magazine that came out in November 2014. I thought it was a one-of or what the Japanese like to call “mooks” or magazine-books. However they are now doing shooting for #N issue two so I guess it’s official as a magazine now. NeoGal is a new genre in clothing in Japan and I’ve talked extensively about it since it’s creation in 2013.

Most first issue magazines in Japan show up in bookstores and if they’re successful they trickle down to the impulse purchases of conbinis. Instead I actually found #N at a convenience store right near my Tokyo hotel for 650 yen (same cost of AneAgeha, more expensive than Larme and Sweet). Being in a convenience store first makes it have some distribution weight to it. It’s published by Million Publishing (ミリオン出版株式会社) which is an arm of Taiyo Tosho which publishes Larme.

#N contents

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#N at first glance is quite different than other Japanese magazines. Its size is actually 2 CM shorter and 4 CM longer than other magazines. And unlike all other Japanese media which is read from right to left with the binding on the right. #N uses the Western style of left to right with the binding on the left. Personally it feels a bit gimmicky, but that the magazine thought deeply about size and way of reading is commendable.

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NNight promoting the magazine featuring appearances by the three heads.

On the cover is former Ranzuki model and current Neogal icon: Natsumi Saito aka Natsumin. She strongly identifies as Neogal so she’s a perfect girl to put on the cover. She’s embarked on a pop music tour lately and currently derives her income from producing all sorts of teen consumed products. Natsumi Saito along with Fig and Viper producer Alisa Ueno and Evris producer Ayano Sasaki are the three current main models/heads of #N.

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Really loved this street snap page in particular. I felt it shows a lot of the variance of Neogal in one page. Harajuku-FnV-Evris-Sly

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Special shout out for Shibuya 109 Evris shop staff Marin who is the nicest shop staff. I have two shop snaps of her to come.

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This girl Tokine got a full page spread. With good reason. Wow!

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The magazine content itself feels half Western style and half Harajuku Fruits magazine style. There’s not much gyaru magazine influence in it. There are no brand highlights, make-up tutorials or coordinate tips. If anything the clothing is so far down the list, it’s actually more the real style of people that make up the majority. Or the it girls like the three heads who push Neogal.

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Advertising clubs where there will be club snaps, but it’s really just native advertising and clubs paying.

The Western feeling is the enormity of ad space but done more sneakily Japanese style with native advertising pushing music or other consumables.

 

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Two of six pages in the magazine that compromise just talking about clothing, hair or make-up.

A final review on #N

The magazine did feel a bit like instagram and used several model’s shots of instagram even. Maybe it reflects the more digital age. But instagram gives moments or pips of information, but doesn’t drive you to go back to your feed and look again at old photos. Instead it’s all about the new. #N left me feeling the same way, a magazine that’s easy to flip through but nothing that makes you open it again.

And thus far it’s only been an information and semi critique of #N and that’s all fine and good. But there’s just one little thing that I can’t ignore and #N highlights more for me about Neogal.

 

 

…and here’s where the calling out starts…

 

Neogal can be problematic and #N magazine only highlights that more

Neogal starters have always said they’re influenced by overseas, particularly Los Angeles in their style, or vintage. Alisa and Natsumi especially feel Neogal is LA looks with the Oakland booty Tokyo foundation. And LA street style has been rooted in Black and Hispanic heritage, because Los Angeles street fashion is on the streets those streets have color. A lot of what Neogal likes has been in the Hispanic and Black communities for a while. Evris is a bit different (more Americana /Vintage) and Harajuku mixing is not as influenced but Fig and Viper and #N are definitely looking to LA.

And to say that Neogal is the only one poaching from these communities would be a lie, but it feels like they get a pass and it’s not a pass they should get. Especially not with the evidence below.

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Inside #N magazine. Alisa Ueno appropriating and fakin’

She posted this on instagram and has since deleted. My favorite comment was: “She’s not about that life”

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#N and Neogal brands and trend creators are just using that style and making cash. And worse using that style without any representation from the Black or Hispanic communities. Alisa Ueno goes to LA to shoot her catalogs. She’s been in Los Angeles and all over. She sees the population, the multiethnic population. She’s not ignorant, she’s just playing dumb. Her current catalogs including “Good Girl or Nah” aka popular Black slang featuring all white models.

Edit: While I’m on the subject her Desi appropriation isn’t cool either. Bindis and desi-style nose rings aplenty.

Shima Hair salon a NeoGal salon and being appropriating x 1,000.

Shima Hair salon is a big hair salon chain in Tokyo and closely associated with Neogal. Working on the heads of all 3 #N head girls regularly and putting out some of the hair trends used by Neogals. They are the Neogal hair salon and they are featured in #N magazine.

They do a big hair show each year and for 2014 they decided to choose “Unity” as their theme. It is a huge event held at a concert hall and sold out for 2014.

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thug? really…. Check your racism. (Still on instagram)

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All Japanese models in black hair styles. Alisa Ueno also posted this with #thug.

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Do-rags, dreads, braids and baby hair.

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On Shima official blogs I did not see any photos of this part of the hair show. There were only two parts, and this was the bigger part. Even though it featured big names like Alisa Ueno, Wei Sun, and Ellie Rose. That’s some serious model cash to pay out and not feature. Also on Shima youtube they’ve shown every hair show on their official youtube but no 2014. My guess, someone called out their bullshit.

Sadly #N magazine uses two icons for their Hair shoots in the same way.

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Shima why are you making my fave problematic?

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Other popular hair salon ISM gets in on the action.

A side note on BGyaru:

BGyaru has been spoken about different ways overseas when people see it. It literally means black gyaru. And some gals that love it will say they want to be black. Which would cause so many side eyes overseas the earth’s axis could shift. However B-Gyaru has been positive about black (American) culture. BGyaru lovers want to do hip hop dance. BGyaru I’ve met are knowledgable about old school hip hop and consider some of the icons as gods. They mostly praise a 90s aesthetic and strive to keep it alive. The love of hip hop especially has grown a very strong Japanese hip hop movement and on the dance side while breaking has lost its fun with American youth, Japanese youth are still into it. The reggae love is also strong in Japan and reggae artists have done collaborations with Japanese artists.

I know of one Black American girl who worked for Shibuya 109’s BGyaru brand Baby Shoop. They even helped her secure a Visa to stay and work. So while I would in some respects consider BGyaru to be problematic, there’s many examples where it’s celebratory. But no matter the positivity Ellie brought up a good point of “my race is not a trend”. Appropriation vs appreciation. Your call.

Again this it just one white American girl’s opinion, please feel free to insert your own.

My skin color is white and it’s one of the reasons I’ve put off this post for a while. I’m speaking from a place of privilege and my race does a lot of shitty things. But it is worse to ignore when appropriation and poaching is occurring instead of speaking out.

EDIT: I would love to hear the opinions/critiques and personal thoughts of Black and Hispanic girls about this. Although it’s a subject I’m bringing up I’d rather push the voices of those appropriated to speak on this subject into the forefront.  :loveword:

EDIT 2: Please read comments below. Lots of different opinions and lovely comments across the globe about these feelings.

 

I really hope parts of Neogal and N magazine clean up their mess, because it could be a good magazine.

 

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Along with letting me photograph the mon Lily store in Ikebukuro P’ Parco, the mon Lily staff kindly agreed to pose for shop staff snaps for the blog. I’m glad I got to photograph them. I feel like their style is more reflective of everyday Larme girls. Swankiss seems to get the reblogs and hype with good reason. But Larmekei and Larme Magazine aren’t really about just flashiness or flounces.

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The angel wall proved the perfect place to take photos of them. I really need my own angel wall!

Since it’s a new store I guess there wasn’t a shoe requirement. It usually depends store by store if the brands make the shop staff wear their own shoes or not. I wonder if the girl on the left was a rock style lover?

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Lovely close-ups of their outfits. Everything looks very nicely tailored on them. I really like the interesting fabric/texture on the girl on the left’s romper (found here).

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They’re actually in matching tops with little hearts cut out of them (seen here).

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Outfits suited to two angels.

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Recently Larme is trying to focus less on eyelashes (judging by their current magazines makeup sections). She decided to forgo them and just focus on circle lens and liner. She also decided on a pink-red shadow under her eyes instead of sparkly for eye definition. This is an upcoming trend about how to deal with eyebags and definition. Using colored shadows instead of sparkle to give the eye more impact.

When you scroll up to the other photos her eyes are definitely making an impact in the shots not as close-up. So surprising without eyelashes and darker shadows.

The other shop staff went the eyeliner and eyelash route, so both are working for the brand.

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You can see her red-pink under eye shadow from this angle better. I’m unsure if it would work for my eyeshape, but the trend is neat.

She’s also in simple Seiso hair with a trend velvet ribbon. Little velvet hair ribbons were big this Winter across most genres. I love how the collar frills and stands up so well. I may have to get this top.

mon Lily in Larme magazine

Sorry about the quality of these pics. I just don’t have the time right now to take better pics and my back dies each time I scan so that’s off the table. I’ll try to do some better shots of other parts of Larme later. Definitely when the Larme series continues.

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Larme issue 13 did retro style icons mixed with current clothes. They used Yui Kanno x Jane Birkin and a Monlily dress styled as a top and dress.

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Then Maria x Brigitte Bardot which is tons of great inspo

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All the possible outfits. Love the knee length Larme feel.

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The blue apron dress on the right is a Larme x MonLily collab.

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Another Larme collab. This cute coat.

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Adorable shoes and barrettes paired with more pricey items from Isbit Daikanyama (another store featured lots in Larme magazine).

In case you missed it this is a three part quick series of posts about mon Lily and Yumetenbo. 

Part one: Yumetenbo’s niche fashion forrays and mon Lily’s Ikebukuro store

Part two: mon Lily review and picks to buy now for Spring 2015 

Part three: mon Lily Ikebukuro shop staff and images of mon Lily from Larme magazine (this post)

 

A post tomorrow for Christmas all about Christmas photos from Japan and then a break. But hope you enjoyed this full peak into the brand and more Larme in the blog  :loveword:

 

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Sweet Magazine Introduction

Since I’ve decided to talk about Japanese women’s popular fashion it’d be crazy of me to ignore Sweet magazine. By a landslide Sweet magazine is the best selling women’s magazine in Japan. Sweet (スウィート website) magazine started in 1999 is published by Takara Jimasha (株式会社宝島社). It costs 760 yen currently and comes with a present each issue. The magazine has ruled female tastes since 2010 and shows no signs of stopping.

Sweet magazine’s motto is “28 歳、一生”女の子”宣言” 28 is still a girl! Or often “一生女の子宣言” meaning I’m a girl for my whole life. It was founded on an Otona Kawaii base and still reigns as the queen of Otona Kawaii.

Otona Kawaii simply means adult cute and is a style format of casual girly looks that aren’t too youthful nor are they too sexy or conservative. The motekei / Otona Kawaii overlap is pretty strong. However Otona Kawaii mentality comes from “self” wanting to look cute for yourself, not to please another. Full description coming up in Japanese fashion terms part 2.

Sweet magazine represents what is most popular in mainstream Japanese women’s fashion. It’s targeted towards 25-30 range, but in reality it has a huge readership from 18 years to late 30s.

 

Sweet Magazine Chief models:

The chief models for Sweet magazine are well known beyond just the magazine. They appear on tv commercials, variety shows, dramas and product placements.

Rola – ローラ – 24 year old – former Vivi model, style maven, and big seller (English article on her)
Saeko – 紗栄子 – 27 year old – model and talent, previously married to Yu Darvish
Hinano Yoshikawa – 吉川ひなの – 34 year old – longtime model

and recently graduated Rinka – 梨花 – 41 year old – model / icon

Their supporting cast of models features mostly women in their late 20s (Alice, Kana Ooya) and early 30s (Coco Kinoshita).

 

#Treatyoself
The real motto of the magazine should be “Treat Yo Self!” because it claims to be for women in their 20s and 30s who aren’t afraid to spend a little. Since women are getting married later and later in Japan its led to an independence of women post college and before marriage that are living for themselves. This is the magazine capitalizing on this popular group of women.   The magazine almost completely ignores the working side of 25 year old life and onwards as if Sweet provides the distraction of work wear and life.

 

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Post Gal magazine group

Sweet has also been labeled with a group of magazines as Post Gal (ポストギャル). The others being Vivi, Glamorous, Gossips and Glitter. The readers of these magazines enjoy copying the styles inside the magazines and don’t mind following trends. Their goal is to dress Otona Kawaii and stylish. Their friends dress similarly. Their focus in more on girlfriends, not boys (not motekei). The magazines often feature half models (half Japanese half another race), such as Rola (Sweet) and Fujii Lena (Vivi) and the readers are dedicated fans of these exclusive models. They’re also interested in celebrities overseas and their style. Magazines such as Sweet and Vivi also bring in young girls as readers.

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Sweet using overseas celebrities showing off the crossbody mini-bag trend


Sweet Magazine contents and High-Medium Mix

Sweet and Vivi magazines have similar layouts and brands shared. Sweet focuses on a bit more girly and more mid-brand overseas brands.

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Sweet like Vivi magazine often starts out with a fashion story spread featuring former gyaru icon 36 year old Jpop singer Namie Amuro. While Vivi features other former gyaru icon 35 year old Jpop singer Ayumi Hamasaki.  Namie Amuro is often seen gracing covers and spreads inside Sweet.

High-Mid Style

Sweet’s fashion focus can be titled a High-Mid Otona Kawaii style

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Sweet’s tribute to the season’s collection of high brand accessories by Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu and YSL usually in each issue. High brand shoes and bags often take the first few pages of the magazine.

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The magazine also focuses on overseas brands that are mid-range priced. Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe, 3.1 by Phillip Lim, Jill by Jill Stuart

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These are then mixed with popular mid-range 20s-30s Japanese brands like Snidel, GVGV, Mercury Duo, and Rose Bud.

This mix isn’t really traditional high-low with a Chanel tossed over a Forever 21 top, instead it’s living your life on a 20-30 year old budget of nicer things. #treatyoself

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Sweet occasionally does budget sections, but they’re not the main focus of the magazine.

Sweet Trendcasting

Sweet magazine uses two ways to trendcast for upcoming seasons.

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The traditional Japanese magazine way of showing it on a model.

Sweet’s forecast of this year’s fall trends: check aka plaid and gingham

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The overseas style of showing runway collections like they did for their Spring trendcast.

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Sweet also is traditonally Japanese in the way it does street snaps. It dokusha models (reader models) for their street snap of floral print.

Sweet Make-up and Hairstyles

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Sweet make-up for an office style that is still “Otona Kawaii”

Just like Sweet magazine’s High-medium approach to clothing the same price range for make-up. They also use a mix of overseas and Japanese brands for make-up.

Overseas brands such as MAC, Chanel, Dior

But also Japanese brands like Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée, Visala, and Majolica Majorca.

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Compared to gyaru magazines their hair and make-up tips are quite simple and they focus more on quality of product and small steps.

Eyelashes are occasional, but eyelash extensions are also very common for readers.


Sweet Theme and Layout

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A collection of Sweet magazine covers from a recent event.

Sweet isn’t Akamojikei or Motekei

Sweet has gone against the Akamoji-kei magazine trend that was extremely popular especially around 2007. Unlike the Motekei boom that made CanCam and others rise to fame in the 2005-2008, Sweet isn’t about that.

CanCam has often been thought of as a magazine to read in your college years as you make the ascent into womanhood and catching your husband. How to look attractive doing so. What’s the best way to be conservative and just pretty enough. That concept feels more and more outdated which is one of the reasons Akamojikei readership dropped (along with the abandonment of popular models).

Sweet instead has subtly captured the market instead in two ways:  I think Sweet has captured the problematic thoughts of many 25-40 year olds. What is adulthood? How can I still enjoy myself? When does cuteness stop? The magazine has also tapped into the joy of being 25-40. Buying what you want, taking vacations, getting your own place, answering only to yourself. Compared to Akamojikei, Postgal magazines are outright feminist.

Sweet’s layout focuses on clean

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Sweet focuses rarely on a background if it ever has any. Instead the layout is a lot of white and crisp photos of the clothing. If there’s a background, the clothing makes a large appearance. The pages are mostly white and English often used as a decoration as much as a font.


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 Sweet’s own reasons for being number 1

Sweet’s readership has steadily grown in the 2000s. In 2008 it was 11th best selling and moved to the best selling in 2010.

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Sweet’s unbelieveable rocket ascent to the top

Sweet publishers thinks this success is for several reasons.

1. They had a popular bus tour that went from bookstore to bookstore to get people and booksellers hyped about the magazine. Which made many booksellers place “Sweet” in front of others”. Publishers in Japan have a 12cm rule which means magazines stacked up around each other you will only see 12cm and above so you should concentrate on that (see picture below). Instead Sweet’s publisher wanted to move the whole magazine to the front of the buyer’s view and focus on making sure that happened in bookstores across Japan.

2. They lowered the cost of the magazine and replaced the revenue with more ads and product tie-ins inside.

3. They include special freebies inside each edition. One notable one was a face roller supposedly retailing at 2,900 yen, far above the 700 yen price of the magazine. They had to do two reprints of that issue. The YSL pouch sold 1,000,000 issues and the kitson bag sold 1,500,000 issues.

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Inside a Kobe bookstore. Japanese publishers of magazines not in front only have 12cm to sell you on their magazine.

 

source: yoshimoto news | keieikikaku-shitsu/ | ifs | livedoor


 

Sweet has stayed number one magazine for 2 years and while that title can easily fall, its sister magazine for older women “In Red” is the second best selling magazine right now so the style is showing no signs of slowing down. However with the recent departure of superstar Rinka, it’ll be interesting to see how Rola, Saeko and Hinano hold down the fort.

On a side note: I’ve decided to lump these all together in the gyaru university tag. And expand it further just to a Japanese fashion university. Need more Japanese fashion learning? Head onto the Japanese Fashion University tag.  :up:

 

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Larme magazine (ラルム) is a new sweet style magazine that started in late 2012. Larme means “tears” in French and is pronounced like “Rarumu” in Japanese. It’s published by Tokuma Shoten (former Egg magazine publisher).

The editor-in-chief of Larme is former Ageha editor 28 year old Haruna Nakagori (中郡暖菜). She started at Ageha when she was 20 in 2006 as a part-time job and then when she graduated in 2008 and was promoted to part of Ageha’s editorial staff.

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Larme Editor in Chief Haruna Nakagori (in black) surrounded by Larme models

Larme isn’t Motekei or Gyaru, but something in between.

After the boom and success of Ageha, Ms. Nakagori proposed the Larme concept to In Forest in 2011 (now defunct publisher of Ageha magazine) and while it was originally approved, it got bogged down by upper management and never came to fruition. She left In Forest for Tokuma Shoten (former Egg publisher, current Larme publisher) in hopes create Larme magazine.

“Instead of in Akamoji magazines like Ray and CanCam you won’t see the front of the issue saying it’s “Attractive Black Hair looks” or “Spring Campus Make-up Bible”, “Larme” will have it’s own concept instead. The center of that concept is ‘this is what’s the cutest right now, that’s the reason it’ll stand out.”


 

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Sweet Girly Fashion Artbook

Ms. Nakagori states that concept of Larme is “Sweet Girly fashion Artbook” (甘くてかわいい女の子のファッション絵本). A sweetly cute girl (甘くてかわいい女の子) is the concept for all of Larme style. The image for the magazine is a girl 18 to 25 who lives reading and going to art galleries. Production always starts with this image of a cultured girl.

The first issue came out in September of 2012. Larme magazine started out as a quarterly magazine and by its third issue quickly grew to a bimonthly magazine (six issues a year). The original September 2012 publication had to be reprinted twice because the original printing sold out. The same happened with its second issue, both sold 10,000 issues. By the third issue it was selling 15,000 copies an issue which put it on track with longtime magazine “Ray” (source).

 


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Larme-kei

Larme’s creator states that she clearly wants Larme to stand out fashion wise from gyaru and akamoji styles. She wants people to call a look “Larme-kei” or to say “That girl is very Larme” or a designer or photographer to say “this could really fit into Larme”.

The term of Sweetly Cute Girl “甘くてかわいい女の子” is the basis of Larme-kei. Both are used interchangeably to discuss the look. Popteen used the “Amakute Kawaii Onna no Ko” to describe how gyaru is trending. While the popular model Amo is in Larme magazine, and has always been a slight sweet and aomoji style girl, even Amo herself by her fans is simply called Amo-kei with her style. However the look for Larme isn’t just Amo-kei.

 


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Harajuku darling AMO in a full page spread

Larme models

Larme didn’t hold a model search to find their models and currently has no plans to do so. Instead they’ve poached models from several different magazines and looks. Ms. Nakagori says Larme girls are Harajuku-like and Idol-like and Gyaru-like as long as they fit the look of a “Sweetly Cute Girl”.

Former Popteen model Yui Kanno (菅野結以 blog)
Harajuku princess Amo (blog)
former Popteen model Reimi Osawa (大澤玲美 Reipyon blog)
model and talent Risa Nakamura (中村里砂 blog)
former Ageha model Korotaki Maria (黒瀧まりあ blog)
Cutie model and talent Kondo Jasmine (瑛茉ジャスミン blog)
gravure idol Aizawa Rina (逢沢りな)
former AKB48 Watanabe Mayu (渡辺麻友)
current AKB48 Kojima Haruna (Kojiharu 小嶋陽菜)
current Nogizaka46 乃木坂46 Shirashi Mai (白石麻衣)

 


 

Larme and Trends

Ms. Nakagori states that she doesn’t want to shy away from trends that aren’t Larme’s style. Instead she wants to interpret trends in a Larme way. She gives the example that Neon colors were very popular, but Larme is a pastel-based magazine so instead she decided to do “Milky Neon”.

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Larme Magazine doing street trends but deciding to call them “Street Girly”


 

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Larme’s design

In order to make the magazine look more like an artbook than a traditional magazine there are no flashy side headlines in most magazines. The magazine also resists using black to highlight or outline words on the cover. The pages themselves are made from a thicker paper and are supposed to give off the feeling of more a keepsake than throwaway.

Inside the magazine it’s more focused on one large picture per page or an illustration to get the point across. Illustrator EcoNeco has worked with Larme as well as other girly illustrators like Mokoxxx. Each issue is also based around a theme or look. The first issue was “Antique” the second was “Dreamy” for the fourth issue it’s based on the 1962 film “Lolita”.

 


 

sources: blogos | model’s press | nogizaka journal

This is part one of the series on Larme Magazine.

Part one features history and creation behind the magazine
Part two features Larme brands and collaborations
Part three features Larme reader poll, see what the common bond is for Larme girls
Part four features style breakdown on popular looks for hair, styling, and nails for Larme girls

 

This post is part of the Japanese Fashion University section. Want to learn more in depth about Japanese Fashion? Click here

 

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