Japan has a reputation for being fashionable. Just take a walk down Takeshita Street, "kawaii central," near Harajuku station. This insanely crowded pedestrian shopping area is jam-packed with fashionistas and trend hunters searching designer boutiques while munching on elaborate cotton candy.

Nevertheless, the neon color of consumers' sweets is entirely apropos of a higher calling. This youth-driven area is seen by many as a bellwether for the larger trend of "kawaii" fashion.

Indeed, the wide-eyed, hair-dyed, shoppers and store clerks here are on the cutting edge of Japanese fashion. As such, manufacturers are known to establish “antenna shops” throughout the shopping district. These test-marketing stores display the latest and greatest, shilling prototypes for test-marketing purposes. If it catches on here, it may just become the next big thing throughout the country.

Cotton Candy Fashion and Pastel Colors

Although it's been a few years, the last time I was on Takeshita Street, I was struck by the pastel fashion intermixed with the dark wave stylings of goth outlet stores. Whenever I could push my way through the crowds of overexcited teenagers into a store, the items on display seemed reminiscent of Melanie Martinez’s “K-12.” A kind of avant-garde, “cotton candy” nightmare featuring the coolest kids I’ve seen in a long time.

I suppose it makes sense that Takeshita Street is just as famous for sweets, crepes, bubble tea, and king-sized rainbow cotton candy. If you're unfamiliar, have a look below:

Nevertheless, these pastel-colored stores and sugar-addicted youth are harbingers of a forward-thinking and all-encompassing trend increasingly important throughout the country—genderless and unisex fashion.


Not far from Takeshita street is one of the premier vendors of kawaii fashion. Santonibunnoichi offers a colorful mix of casual styles with an omnipresent sense of a 90s throwback party. Indeed, the vibrant pastel shades of their selection make for expressive pop outfits. The store is popular nationwide and has been the subject of much online attention.

Yet, perhaps one of the most striking aspects of Santonibunnoichi is the store clerks, several of whom are young, trendy, and overtly androgynous males. Staff believe that, whether gay or straight, everyone should wear what makes them feel comfortable.

As such, their shop embraces fluid gender identities and uni-sex fashions. Operating as a kawaii and trendy thrift shop, the store offers numerous garments for customers shopping outside of binary norms. The store also offers cosmetics and accessories, popular with both male and female shoppers.

Unisex fashion

Santonibunnoichi is demonstrative of a more significant trend. In recent years, unisex fashion is growing in popularity across Japan. With numerous K-POP performers and online influencers championing the style, young people, in particular, are choosing to dress more fluidly.

Indeed, genderless fashion is growing in popularity with trend hunters fed up with the norm. Genderless proponents insist the style is distinct from cross-dressing and has nothing to do with sexuality. Whether gay or straight, the driving notion is that one's body need not to be accessorized based on one's biological sex.

As a youth-driven phenomenon, the trend is especially common on SNS platforms like Twitter. Moreover, one Instagram couple is recently making a splash. Under the handle pecotecoo, Peco (AKA Pecochan) and Ryuchell are a devoted heterosexual couple. On their account, they live an Instagrammable life flashing kawaii and genderless fashion.

90s Throwback

Genderless and kawaii fashion is strongly influenced by the 1980s, and even more so, the 1990s. Peco and Ryuchell’s outfits are no exception.

Cosmetics are also an essential part of the couple's life. Both Peco and Ryuchell have an exceptional eye as well as a steady hand.

Here’s Peco dressed as a cowgirl for Halloween. She has on sunkissed freckle makeup that Ryuchell helped her apply by watching demos on YouTube.

Fans are quick to express their support:

  • “This is the cutest married couple ever.”
  • “I can imagine you two making a fashion book.”
  • “You have a really good sense. Very interesting."
  • “Pecochan’s red hair really suits her. It’s way too cute.”
  • “I love Pecochan and Ryuchell's way of thinking. They both have the same sensibilities; it's so amazing that they found one another."

Fans of Disney

Like many young Japanese people, Pechochan and Ryuchell are huge fans of Disney. Whether it's hanging out at home, dressing up for Halloween, or time at the park, they make the franchise a part of their lives.

And Baby Makes Three

A few years ago, the couple had a baby. While the couple hides their child’s face on SNS, they make it widely known to their followers that they are parents. More importantly, they take the time to explain how they maintain their fashion, and enjoyment of their hobby, with a child at home.

They are doing something right. The couple was recently featured on the cover of Mamagirl, a maternity and lifestyle magazine. Here they are at the photoshoot.

The couple explained to the magazine that its important to enjoy fashion. According to them, wear whatever you want, even if you wore it the day before. Indeed, the couple particularly likes 90s fashion for this reason. The style always feels right, whether your pregnant, breastfeeding or whatever. It's easy to coordinate.

Finally, the couple changes their style to match the season. Peco chooses different bags, opting for clear plastic bags during winter months. Ryuchell, on the other hand, changes his skin color and makeup to match the season.

By - Luke Mahoney.

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