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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.)

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

And shop staff

2011 looking cute

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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…

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

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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.

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I occasionally scan YahooNews Japan (the google of Japan) for gyaru items and I stumbled across this AbemaTV program about Gyaru technology.

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It starts off with a reporter searching out interesting stories in Shibuya. In a completely non-scripted non-planned way (sarcasm)

The reporter’s reaction is “uhhhh what’s this?”

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They stumbled across two gyaru that call themselves “Gyaruden (ギャル電)” = Electric Gal.

Their names are Mao-san (pink hair) and Kyouko-san (grey hair). And say “ギャルによるギャルのためのテクノロジー” Because we are gyaru we make technology for gyaru. But really this story goes deeper than that and involves two interesting gyaru so let’s get into it!

gyaruden-partypeople

They started making flashy (pun intended) six months ago. And they do it for the “party people” (パリピ paripi some gyaru slang for you)

gyaruden-workspace-rainbow

The reporter then goes to visit their workspace where they make their Gyaru-den accessories.

It’s located in a place called Rainbow Souko (レインボー倉庫 site) which is a chain of coffee shops and workspace collectives. Their space is at Rainbow Souko 2 (here’s a map of how its laid out).

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Mao in fab deco glasses at work building a LED lightup earring.

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Like the one she’s wearing.

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Predictably the reporter gets a gyaru makeover and learns to construct her own LED earrings.

Then she sits down and asks about the girls lives. Kyouko-san says she hasn’t really had any schooling instead she’s learned on the streets. And the reporter is like “Oh you’re self taught” and Kyouko goes “Ohhhh you can say that”. Her current profession is pole dancer (usually pole dancers in Japan work as gogo dancers in clubs and keep their tops on. Judgement free either way just an FYI).

Mao-san says she is a college student at a trade school learning about electrical construction. But she says she wants to keep her own style doing it.

gyaruden-singularity

The reporter asks why did they get into this?

Kyouko says “The Singularity”.

Which is some deep stuff.

Let’s let wiki take care of this:

The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity)[1] is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

Yup. Lots to take in there.

Either way they’re doing some cool original stuff. Check out their twitter: https://twitter.com/galden999

Here’s the static news story on Abema times about the Gyaruden group (here) and official Youtube video (here) and they also got to be in a Nike Japan commercial (here).

I think it’s a new way to look at being flashy in a style that’s definitely toned down.

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