Decora Kids

Shojono Tomo's creation for Nicki Minaj

One of the most visually arresting Tokyo street fashion tribes, decora kids take their name from a shortened version of the word decoration. And you’d be hard pressed to find a group of kids more decorated than these guys. Thought to have originated with eighties singer Tomoe Shinohara, everything in this style is geared towards creating an overall impression of childlike playfulness. However, underneath the layers of colour and frivolity, a lot of time and energy has gone into constructing their elaborate look.

The decora look relies on heavy accessorising, endless rows of rainbow hair clips, wrists obscured by gummy bracelets and pretty beads, badges, big ribbons, and even cuddly toys dangled from belts or bags. Boys will often incorporate sailor suit elements, and in contrast to the fitted garments of their female peers, baggy trousers or even pyjama bottoms are favoured items of clothing. Although this street fashion demands a high tolerance to eye-popping colour all over, the essential shade for most decora kids is pink- the more lurid the better. Wearers clink and jangle as they stroll through Toyko, trailing wheeled suitcases embellished with characters like Hello Kitty, Stitch or Minnie Mouse. Candy floss pink, mermaid blue and lilac are popular hair colours, often layered in rainbow stripes. Even hair is tame when compared to decora facial decoration, which can involve heavy glitter, gems, bindis, and even stickers or rub on character tattoos- however make-up is shunned as too overtly fussy and adult.

More than any trend, decora is influenced by the individual’s personality over any overarching stylistic movement. Brand names are often shunned in favour of thrift store finds or homemade creations. It’s about celebrating what you love and being free. Even decora kid shoes are free and easy, unlike other Tokyo street trends which feature teetering heels or toe crumpling boots, this style calls for easy-going flats, with Converse or vintage style high tops popular choices. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that in a few short years decora kids will have to put away their glitter and toys to don the conservative Tokyo corporate uniform that makes them fetishize this free-spirited childish look. But until the day these flamboyant Tokyo street style followers have to kiss good bye to Hello Kitty and co, decora kids will be strutting the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, wild haired and stickered up to perfection.