Trying on Ank Rouge’s fukubukuro yami-kei starter kit.

There’s no shortage of kawaii fashion in Japan. In fact, cuteness is such a major part of apparel design here that a large variety of kawaii sub-genres have developed, and today our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa is turning her eyes to yami kawaii style.

Whether you call it yami kawaii, yami-kei, or yandeiru-kei, all those names derive from yamu, which means to be suffering from some sort of ailment or distress. That doesn’t mean that yami kawaii is some sort of Japanese version of the heroin chic aesthetic, though. Instead, yami kawaii adds a dash of edginess and attitude to the frills and other girlish accouterments of conventionally kawaii fashion.

One of the top yami kawaii brands is Ank Rouge, and to Ikuna’s delight this year they once again offered fukubukuro/lucky bags to celebrate New Year’s. Priced at 17,600 yen (US$121), each bag includes a coat (randomly in either white or black), at least one dress in the color of your choice (white, black, pink, or blue), and a selection of other clothing and accessories.

Ikuna got a white coat in her bundle, and her promised black dress was decked out with ruffles and ribbons.

Digging deeper into the lucky bag, she pulled out a button-up top that shows off the wearer’s bare shoulders, one of Ank Rouge’s most popular design elements, and a skirt with some very complex stitching.

On the accessory front, she got a compact backpack with a characteristically yami-kei aggressive cuteness to it, plus two fuzzy…

…well, honestly, she didn’t know what they were at first. Bracelets? Anklets? After doing a little research, though, she was able to determine that they’re hair scrunchies. Two of the same design might seem a little redundant, but yami kawaii fashion goes great with twintails, so a matching set makes a lot of sense.

With the contents of her fukubukuro now checked and cataloged, Ikuna bunched up her hair in tails, changed into her new clothes, and posed for the camera.

In keeping with the gloomy ethos of yami-kei, Ikuna did her best to create a cooly detached aura with her facial expressions.

However, midway through the photo session she switched things up and cracked a smile, which produced a whole new atmosphere.

While there’s a sort of tragic waif appeal to yami-kei style, Ikuna herself is full of life, and radiating mature confidence worked just as well, if not better, than a more oh-woe-is-me approach.

Of course, ultimately the clothes you wear and the look on your face are yours to choose however suits your personal taste and personality. For Ikuna, though, it’s nice to know that she can dabble in yami kawaii fashion even if she doesn’t really have anything to yamu about.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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