rebel by adopting eclectic Japanese style
don’t care what other people think about us as long as we feel confident about
|Dressed to kill:
Hoang Viet Nga in her Japanese-styled outfit. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
You just don’t know what
it’s like being me" – the familiar war cry of most emerging teens. And
youngsters in Viet Nam today are no exception, pursuing a means of self
expression that will define themselves against those who came before.
In a predictable reaction
against yesterday’s fashions, those born in the 1980s or 90s (dubbed 8X or 9X
in Vietnamese) are throwing askance glances at their elder siblings Spice Girl
wedge-heels and hip hop baggy pants.
Now the kids are eyeing up
a different source for inspiration – Japan – where a new style called
Harajuku is all the rage.
Harajuku is all about
colour but it doesn’t really matter which colour. In fact, the more
contrasting the better, as the key to Harajuku is ‘clash’, according to one
outfits are a thing of the past" Minh Thu, 18, from Ha Noi Economics
College enthuses. "It’s not unusual to dye your hair pink and blue, it’s
new and cool".
But Harajuku isn’t just
about dress sense, it’s an identity. Harajuku pubs and clubs and shops are
mushrooming across Viet Nam’s major cities, with pockets of Harajuku guys and
girls hanging out and showing off their styles, catered for by shops like Ha Noi’s
Harajuku, Shark, Boo, Nute and Death.
No fashion would be
complete without an icon and for Viet Nam’s 8x, 9x generations into Harajuku,
it’s teen pop singer TP.
Often spotted HCM City’s
Yoko bar, TP is famous for her barrel skirts over studded baggy trousers and
armfuls of colourful wrist bands.
"I like singers who
have a style of their own. TP is one of them", says one fan, Pham Diem, 17
from HCM City.
"We don’t care what
other people think about us as long as we feel confident about ourselves",
Diem says, adding "then we want to impress others".
But for those who really
want to make a statement about how the young see the world today, followers of
Cosplay seek to emanate favourite manga characters. And it’s not just about
the clothes, as Cosplay fans also mimic the behaviour of their role models.
"We read a lot of
Japanese manga cartoons when we were younger and we still obsess over them,
especially characters such as Conan, Sailor Moon and Songoku", Cosplay fan
Kim Linh, 17, from Ha Noi says.
But according to Linh, not
just anyone can be a Cosplay fan. "If you don’t like Japanese cartoon
characters, then you won’t be able to act like one and it’ll be a
disaster", the teen warns.
One equally rebellious
course the 8/9x generation have taken concerns brand names. Unlike older
generations who’ll often wear a shirt more for the name than the cut, Linh and
her friends are not bothered who produces their clothes.
"Clothes can be made
in Viet Nam or China, as long as they fit well and look good we don’t
care", Viet Nga, 25 from Ha Noi said.
it like it is
But for youngsters today,
finding a voice isn’t just about wearing new styles.
are not enough. If you aren’t in with on-line chatting language, you’re just
a sucker", Linh Tu, 19 said.
For example, 8/9x kids are
using "ngui iu" instead of "nguoi yeu"
(boyfriend/girlfriend) or "bun cui" instead of "buon cuoi"
Despite complaints by
teachers and parents about the careless use of the Vietnamese language by
youngsters, nothing can stop the new ‘cool’ vocabulary from sweeping into
their everyday conversion.
Tu says, adding "but you know, we’re still serious in school. It’s just
it’s our own style and it lets people know who we are". — VNS