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Influence of Japanese Fashion in American Music

Japanese fashion is a huge influence in America. With the ease of social media pictures of people wearing clothes from the Harajuku District have flooded the internet. Now people created their own Japanese street fashion inspired clothes to wear, sell, and trade. Some brands sell overseas and arrive to your house within a few weeks. Others go through a shopping service to obtain those items from stores that do not ship international.  Even in 2007 I remember having a few classmates that collected FRUiTS magazines and we flipped through them in high school.

High end American designers have looked to Japan for inspiration for new lines. The most well known for this is Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. products and Bastien looking to traditional Japanese aesthetics.

So when pop stars travel overseas for concerts of course they would pick up on fashion in Japan.

Gwen Stefani toured with her Japanese backup dancers for her solo album. She is the most well known for picking up Japanese fashion and featuring it in her music, designs, and performances.


Nicki Minaj is known for having various alter egos such as Harajuku Barbie. She uses different styles and personality traits to define her alter egos. The Harajuku Barbie alter ego is sweet and has a softer voice then others. Minaj takes more of a sexy look even when dawning this ego then the usual street fashion. She caught notice when she wore Shojono Tomo’s leggings on Good Morning America bringing the indie designer a lot of attention.

(video below contains lots of cursing)


Avril Lavigne released her music video that stirred controversy of racism. Although clearly inspired by Japanese “kawaii” aesthetics it has rubbed on people (including myself) the wrong way. I do think it is unfair that she take all the heat for how the video turned out because the people working on this clearly had a vision of a superficial view of contemporary Japan . Perhaps insensitive, but maybe we are just sensitive. Her video was shot for her Japanese fans and for her love of Japan.


They all take inspiration from Japanese fashion without trying to mimic it. So tell me what you think and if you know other American musicians (local or famous) inspired by contemporary Japanese fashion.  Maybe I can feature them. Thank you for reading!





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