Anyone familiar with Japanese culture knows the phrase “出る釘は打たれる,” or “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” This phrase speaks to Japan’s conformity, a tenet of its culture which demands its citizens be normal. This desire is seen everywhere in Japan, particularly in fashion—and yet unique subcultures still blossom, even influencing trends on a global scale.
This shoot was inspired by the rise of kawaii culture. What initially started as a subculture characterized by frilly designs, pastels, and an obsession with anything cute has grown into a national phenomenon and global obsession. Its move into the mainstream is partially due to popular Japanese idol groups who have adopted the aesthetic to promote their image of innocence. Kawaii culture is also influencing today’s “soft girl” movement.
I selected the wardrobe and opted for colorful lighting to capture the kawaii aesthetic—and how it’s influencing trends as we speak.
Photos and Art Direction by Callie Bri Keels
Model by Kimberly Kim