Published on September 22nd, 2014 | by shibuya0
There is no need to tell you that fashion and Shibuya go hand in hand. Shibuya, the utmost fashionable district of Tokyo, is popular among young gals and guys in their teens and twenties. It is full of shopping outlets and amusement spots, and is a birthplace to the latest Japanese fashions which later spread throughout Japan. Therefore Shibuya fashion is the most interesting topic for the young crowd.
Japanese gyaru (gal) mostly in their teens or early twenties congregate in Shibuya and surrounding areas to reveal their individuality and passion towards the latest trends of fashion. The central point for Shibuya fashion and other activities is the Center Street which has flocks of fashion shops, game centers and fast food outlets. It is crowded with teenagers almost 24/7. The famous 109 stands here and the area in front of it is a popular meeting place for the Japanese fashionistas. Another one is the Jinnan area which targets the young casual market.
One of the latest Shibuya fashion is Manba. How can you identify Manba? Manba is characterized by weird rouge face-makeup and rose-pink outfits most of the times. The appearance of this Shibuya fashion sometimes resembles that of a Halloween costume. You may get scared of its first look. However, its lasting impression is that of cute comic characters.
If you want to go deep for understanding Manba, you will have to go back to 1998 when the Ganguro look had hit the Shibuya fashion. The word Ganguro is a blend of “Gan” meaning face and “kuro” meaning black. Ganguro look was an exclusively female Shibuya fashion popular amongst girls in the age group of 15 to 20 years. They wore micro-mini skirts, platform boots and bay-colored hair, and frequented tanning salons to get their skin done in golden brown color. Ganguro girls were marked by self-confidence, self-assertiveness and antisocial personality. Ganguro style became outmoded in 2000.
Manba and Center Guys
Manba is a twist on Ganguro that hit the Shibuya fashion scene after Ganguro. It was nicknamed mamba, wordplay on yamba – the meaning of which is humorously derisive and it is “mountain hag”. The manba of today take pride in wearing deep-tanned skin, just like their precursors sporting Ganguro style, but have made an addition of unique hairstyles, clothing and face makeup. However, more than the looks, there’s something more – Manba has generated its male counterpart, called Center Guys. These are almost exact copies of the Manba girls. Both of them sport bushy hair that is colored pink, white or orange, and prefer to wear outfits with the Alba Rosa fashion label. Faces are adorned with white eye makeup, lipstick and stickers having designs of stars, flowers and hearts.
Manba is quite a milder version of the rebellious Ganguro and so, the youth involved in this Shibuya fashion trend have received an overall social acceptance. With their love for shades of pink, cats and cute things, the manba teenagers have enamored the general public of Japan.
The previous Shibuya fashion phenomenon Gaguro arrived in the late 90s which was a time when the Japanese financial system was seeing instability. The ganguro style represented a shrill, yet quiet complaint against the conditions. On the contrary, manba of today seems to reveal a desire to flee away from the pressures of financial system, and live life without worrying much about future and plans.
As it happens with most of these crazes, manba too will one day give way to another craze and it is just a matter of time to see when it happens.