Popularizing hairdresser style
01 February 2008
Slightly-feminine, fashion-conscious male fashion
The trendier corners of the Japanese men's fashion market have split into two distinctive camps. On one side, the tan-skinned, silver-surplus O-nii-kei who raid the sales at Shibuya 109-2 for fur-collared nylon parkas and other trashy-machismo items. On the other side, there is a more feminine and intricate look based around Harajuku and Omotesando that has been come to be called Salon-kei.

The name "Salon-kei" was first used in reference to the specific styling and fashion philosophies of Tokyo's trendiest hairdressers seen in magazine Choki Choki (named for the onomatopoeia of scissors), but now has come to more broadly encompass the high-street-mix wardrobe preferred by young men with an interest in the more artsy side of fashion.

The Salon-kei look is extremely diverse, but marked by a few main features. First, Salon-kei is based on the concept of "mix" — whether mixing different genres/styles, mixing high-end brands with cheap mass-marketed items, or new collection pieces with vintage. This is essentially the same philosophy as the "Elegant Casual" style recommended by the magazine Popeye. Salon-kei kids may wear Dior suit jackets with tight black Uniqlo skinny jeans.

The second feature is a general alignment with feminine or neutered silhouettes rather than the open masculinity of either O-nii-kei or standard street fashion. The pants are tight, the shirts are layered, and the hair is long or dramatically short.
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