Fashion Fraction: Focus On [“Other Keis”]

Welcome to your dose of Fashion Fraction here on Project: Lixx!

For this Focus On, we’ll be talking about the “other keis”- meaning a bulk of Japanese street fashion that includes oshare, decora/fairy, gyaru/ganguro/kogal, shironuri/mori girl/dolly/cult party, and even bosozoku. Some of these are more well known than others but don’t have nearly the amount of subgenres as Lolita and Visual Kei do.
Please remember- I am no expert in these fashions nor do I necessarily partake in these styles.

So, let’s get started!

Antic Cafe

Oshare Kei: This is the fashion I am most familiar with since some of the first few bands I got into when I found the Visual Kei scene were Oshare. Now, Oshare is technically a subgenre of the generic Visual Kei term… but why didn’t I include it in my Focus On Visual Kei article? For me, oshare was better suited to start out this article since it is more street fashion and not as “outlandish” as most of the other subgenres of Visual Kei tend to be. Whether you agree with my logic or not; I’m not here to debate that. Fact is Oshare Kei is first on this article and it’s awesome.
Many would describe Oshare Kei as the “happy-go-lucky version of Visual Kei”. It’s brighter and toned down in terms of hair and makeup. It’s more fit as a “Harajuku Street Style” since it has a practicality behind it and you can wear it every day versus the costume-like attire associated with basic Visual Kei. It still has its punky roots and some can “bend the rules” by not necessarily toning down their makeup or hair. This genre is one of the few that is inspired by musicians and some bands that are classified to dress in the Oshare Kei style are Antic Cafe (seen as the main band in the Oshare scene), SuG, and LM.C.

Fairy Kei

Decora Kei

Decora/Fairy Kei: These are fashions I see the most of at conventions accompanied by lolita. Decora can be rather plain in terms of the actual clothing style since the focus is on accessories and how many you can incorporate. A sure-fire image for decora is lots of hair pins and necklaces- typically rather “gaudy”. Decora also helped to spawn the trend of “decoden” or decorated denwa (phone) since even phone cases can be used to help accessorize an outfit. Some say that decora “merged” with or was “replaced” by Fairy Kei and some aspects of Lolita in Japan but the fashion by itself is still popular overseas. While Decora may focus more so on darker colors with some neon and very rarely pastels, Fairy Kei loves pastels. Fairy is seen as a hybrid mix of decora and lolita with an 80s toy flare, mixing inspiration from franchises like Carebears, Rainbow Brite, Jem & The Holograms, and Barbie.


Gyaru/Ganguro/Kogal: “Gyaru” literally means “girl” and emphasized on more “man made beauty”. These 3 styles are seen as “rebellious” for the idea is to break the rules on what is defined as pretty. False nails/lashes and wigs are some of the favorite additions to the look. Contrary to popular opinion, “gyaru” is not limited to tanned skin, blonde hair, and dressing in provocative attire. “Ganguro” is a style that has always interested me and I love drawing it. It does have a focus on the tanned skin along with a specific “panda” makeup style. “Kogal” is a form a gyaru that bases itself off of school uniforms but with shorter skirts, loose socks, coloured hair, and sometimes a scarf. Some state that kogal has declined since the 90s and ganguro has declined since the early 2000s but, as we all know when it comes to fashion AND music, nothing is truly dead or unheard of.


Mori Girl
Dolly Kei
Shironuri/Mori Girl/Dolly/Cult Party Kei: If you follow the amazing Minori, you probably already know what shironuri is. It means “painted in white” and definitely has perked my interest since I started following the well known shironuri artist a few years ago. The only real rule is the white makeup- everything else can be blended and adapted from other styles. “Mori girl” means “forest girl” and can be categorized by flowy garments in neutral colors but also patterns such as floral and gingham can be added in. Mori is a part of the dolly kei subgenre which is termed as “Japan’s view of the Middle Ages and European Fairy Tales”. Dolly Kei takes a lot of inspiration from stories from The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, using vintage clothing with some religious symbols. The one that focuses most around religious symbols is Cult Party Kei. This is a rather new term to me and it seems to be coined rather recently. As Wikipedia describes the style, “Common aspects include crosses wired in yarn, layers of fabric in soft colors, lots of cream lace, satin bows and bible prints.” The make-up and hairstyle is not as over the top as other styles. In fact, Cult party kei is often worn with natural-looking make-up without any larger emphasis on the eyes and simple hair-dos with roses.” Cult Party Kei is also another subgenre of Dolly Kei- meaning Dolly Kei could have been the main genre for all of the subgenres mentioned in this section.

Cult Party Kei
-Dark- Cult Party Kei


Bosozoku: This one makes me laugh.  Not in a mocking way… but just in a “huh” kind of way. Some sources state that this style hasn’t been popular since the 1990s, but I have seen the stereotypical character in anime and manga. Wikipedia describes the look as “a uniform consisting of a jumpsuit like those worn by manual laborers, a type of military issued over-coat with kanji slogans. These are usually worn open, with no shirt underneath, showing off bandaged torsos and matching baggy pants tucked inside tall boots.” Can we also include pompadours?

I hope you enjoyed this installment of Focus On…!

In the future, after I get all the vague generic versions done, I can do even more in depth Focus On’s! If you have any questions, comments, or anything to say- feel free to comment it here or privately email me at

I will see you the third Tuesday of the month for a special convention fashion coverage article! See ya~