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We Owe These Fashion Trends To East Asian Culture

If you’re anything like me, your first intro to East Asian culture was Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers line. Though it was a fun caricature at best, it lacked the rich historical roots created directly within the culture. While it felt progressive at the time, Stefani’s line just didn’t hold up. 

However, we’ve come a long way in acknowledging East Asia’s true influence on fashion. From platform shoes and heel-less heels to Korean streetwear and bucket hats, East Asian fashion has so much more to offer and it’s time we educate ourselves on what those fashion trends are in honor of AANHPI Heritage Month

Platform Shoes

In the 1990s, Atsuzoku, or platform heels, quickly became a huge trend among young girls, and soon enough, shoe brands were cranking out high-soled kicks left and right. Brands like La Carte, a popular Japanese shoe brand in the late ‘90s were ahead of the curve with their chunky platform sneakers, often white or with colorful stripes, leather boots with up to eight-inch heels, and wooden heeled shoes with cutout heart designs. Honestly, these designs make Dolls Kill’s current offerings look like child’s play.

@ddaenqss

zara platform boots unboxing // got these platform boots for my txt act: lovesick in manila concert outfit hehe #zara #zarashoes #zaraboots #kpop #kpopconcert #txt #txtconcert #platformboots #concertoutfit #actlovesickinmanila

♬ These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra

Heel-less Heels 

Of all the fashion pieces that Lady Gaga is known for, one of the most iconic examples is her heel-less shoe era in the early 2010s. Casual wearers of heel-less shoes might have seen them as a quirky fad, but the history behind heel-less shoes is much more complex. Japanese fashion designer Noritaka Tatehana drew inspiration from traditional Geta shoes — sandals with a flat, elevated platform base — and incorporated elements of a clog-like design. Originally used as work shoes in the Yayoi period, Geta evolved into a fashion item during the Edo era. 

Korean Streetwear

Since the late 2010s, Korean streetwear — heavily inspired by hip-hop fashion — has become a major global trend due to its gender-neutral vibe that anyone can rock. Baggy pants and hoodies are staples for all, but there are slight differences. Women typically pair loose-fitting tops with tight pants or leggings, or crop tops with baggy bottoms adorned with straps and chains.  Color schemes include black and white, with women wearing more colorful designs. For men, the look is similar, featuring oversized shirts and bottoms, mimicking 90s hip-hop fashion.

Bucket Hats 

@riaxla

the best bucket hat I own 😫 #disneyhats

♬ Old Disney Swing Jazz – Nico

Recently, bucket hats have become popular casual streetwear options, with black being a preferred color choice. However, colorful versions exist with many featuring sunflowers, frog ears, and bears. Originally worn by fishermen and farmers for rain protection, bucket hats transitioned into fashion items in the 1980s and are now a staple for both sexes in Korean fashion.

These are only a few of the many fashion trends we owe to East Asian culture. Nowadays many of these trends are being popularized in the Western world, but we must give credit where it’s due and acknowledge the contributions East Asian has had on not only their own culture but ours. 

Milan Parker

Agnes Scott '24

Milan Parker is an Entertainment and Culture writer for Her Campus national, where she covers the latest news in pop culture. She is a recent graduate of Agnes Scott College. She is also a member of Her Campus's Election Team, interviewing 2024 Electoral Candidates running for the House of Representatives and Congress. Outside of writing for Her Campus, Milan spends her time writing poetry, some which have been published in Alloy Magazine at Emory University. Currently, she plans to release a written mini-series of her favorite 2000s childhood memories, titled "Confessions of a Y2K Kid". When she is not on the lookout for the next big story, Milan enjoys online shopping, cozying up in libraries, discovering new music, spending time in nature, and taking to the streets on her inline skates. To this day, she's still perfecting the perfect skate routine.