Subcultures are responsive sociological occurrences that emerge & transform over time depending on the impacts of location, mainstream culture & changes in society to one or more individuals.
Milton Gordon in 1947 defined subculture as:
“…A subdivision of a national culture, composed of a combination of factorable social situation such as class status, ethnic background, regional and rural or urban residence, and religious affilitation, but forming in their combination a functional unity which has an integrated impact on the participating individual.”
Decora is a Japanese street fashion which is identifiable through display of bright, fluffy & innocent clothing along with excessive toys & accessories that are worn to create a characteristic of playfulness & childhood. Decora translates to “decorative” in Japanese, which ultimately means to dress up decoratively in order to show the kawaii (cuteness) aspect of self-expression in fashion. Outside Japan the fashion trend is presented primarily a costume (for cosplay).
An innocent, child-like appearance is achieved by wearing an assortment of babydoll dresses, Mary Jane shoes, bows, barrettes, ribbons & colourful stockings, all of which are heavily layered. The toys exhibited by individuals are often plastic or stuffed character products which are very colourful, blink, make noises & are closely related to young children. Hair is usually worn in pigtails or extremely curled, along with being dyed pink, blonde or auburn.
In 1997 the first issue of a Japanese street fashion magazine known as FRUiTS was published. Cover model, Aki Kobayashi, wrote articles about her style & her own hand crafted accessories. As a result of FRUiTS magazine girls began making their own eccentric accessories & the style became known as Decora. Decora girls (aka “Decora-chan”) would trade & sell their accessories in the Harajuku & Shibuya districts in Tokyo during the late 90’s, with the subculture peaking in the mid 2000’s. The trend has now divided itself into 4 sub-categories which are referred to as: ‘Original/Casual Decora’, ‘Pink Decora’, ‘Dark Decora/Koteosa’ & ‘Decololi/Decora-Lolita’.