Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roger Saechao's Be Green Challenge Week 4 Blog 4

            This week’s be green challenge thus far has been the easiest and I am glad that this is the last week of the be green challenge. Due to the amount of work load from school, I was really occupied with studying which made me forgot about the be green challenge. Therefore I did not have the time to surf the web for Christmas shopping or going to the stores.

            In class we talked about Japanese street fashion and how Japanese teens are producers of street fashion. The definition of street wear we defined in class is a part of an urban adolescent youth street subculture that makes a particular statement. This definition relates to Asian Americans by using hip-hop as a way address concerning issues in the community. According to the reader Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion Yuniya Kawamura stated, “Japanese fashion has inspired many fashion professionals in the West”. This statement is also equivalent to the Western society who watches anime which inspires them to dress like their favorite anime characters. Here is an example from anime con where these group of women are inspired by their favorite anime show and dressed up as their favorite anime characters.


Yuniya Kawamura. "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion" Reader

Panhia Vang - 4th Week!

The Go Green Challenge comes to and end today. Honestly speaking, I haven't gone Christmas shopping, yet. As horrible as it sounds, I waited for today to pass by before I start shopping for Christmas gifts; but on the bright side, four weeks went by quick and smooth. I didn't go shopping for clothing nor things I didn't need. My busy college student lifestyle contributed  a lot to a successful go green challenge. The more busier I get, the less I think about shopping, but there were times when I seriously wanted to stop and go shopping to clear my head. It's an awful stress reliever resort, I know. Beyond today, I don't think I'll be able to keep the mentality of the go green challenge, but I definitely will feel a little guilty when I splurge myself with expensive receipts.

This past week, we discussed about cultural appropriation after watching "Yellow Apparel: When Coolie Becomes Cool." In one of the parts, interviewees stated that henna were cool, but they didn't know the context of what, where, and when henna were used in South Asian cultures. Many celebrities adopted the South Asian cultural aspects to their fashion style during the 80's and it's been coming back throughout the 90's and early 2000's by artists like Selena Gomez and Beyonce.

I came across a video that discusses whether cultural appropriation through celebrities are acts of racism. As discussed in the video, some celebrities apologized to have offended some fans and people, but others denied that them wearing other culture's clothing or adopting their ways does not mean they are making fun of a particular group. Instead, these celebrities find it interesting and beautiful and thus refuses to apologize.
Are These Celebrities Being Racist?

When I see celebrities sporting other culture's fashion, I don't find it offensive unless it is being used in a particular context that, in any way, makes the specific cultural group question their sincerity. When I see other people wear Hmong clothing, I feel a sense of pride that they admire my culture and the clothing to want to wear it.


Movie: Directors Sonya Mehta & Sheng Wang. “Yellow Apparel: When Coolie Becomes Cool.” (2000)
"Are These Celebrities Being Racist?" YouTube. YouTube, 3 July 2014. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. .

Be Green Challenge Week 4: Jillian Mariano

I have always been a dark one.  I loved alternative rock and emo music and other things that made middle schoolers seem edgy.  I was a shy, bullied wimp with over-protective parents and I wanted to be emo but I didn’t want to be called emo.  I longed for angst and I think I’ve finally found that which I so craved, but they always said to be careful for what you wish for.  I identify with those Japanese teens on the street, being born into a world where capitalism promised you a legacy of one stable life after another, after another, where your dad would get a job in a company and then you would get a job in that same company and your kid would get a job in that company too.  Then you realize the economy is crashing and you can’t get that job because it’s getting exported to another country where they’ll make the people there work ten times as much, in a cramped little dungeon, for a fraction of the pay.  Then you go to college and realize you are drowning in a violent world where a little boy gets shot point blank for playing with a toy gun because he seemed “suspicious” and Mark Wahlberg wants to be pardoned for beating one Vietnamese man half to death and punching another in the eye so hard he made him go blind.  I haven’t bought anything.  I have trouble eating, sleeping, and living in this world. 
Those Japanese teens look like this. 

 And I look like this.

"Here Are Some Other Crimes Mark Wahlberg Needs Pardoned." Gawker. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.
Kawamura, Y. "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion." Current Sociology 54.5 (2006): 784-801. Web.

Kevin Lee - Blog #4

Be Green Challenge Week 4
            As the final week of the “Be Green” challenge comes to an end, I can only confess the truth. I was not able to complete the challenge this week because two of my clubs had White Elephant, and I had to buy a gift under $10. However, I am glad that the presents I bought brought smiles to the people who opened my gift.
            This week we read about Japanese street fashion, or Japanese fashion in general, which I am very interested in. Having never been to Japan, I do not know how much of the teen population in Japan has influenced the fashion in Japan. However, I do know that Japanese fashion has been spreading not only throughout Japan but also throughout the U.S. Most of the Japanese fashion in the U.S. come from Japanese websites that advertise and/or selling clothes from Japan that are in style. These fashion styles are made by Japanese high school girls who have been “extremely influential in controlling fashion trends” (Kawamura). These girls set the fashion trend because all they want to do is to stand out and be noticed. It is interesting to see that these wanting-to-be-fashionable girls have influenced the character designs of some anime series. I have seen some anime series that have characters who either cosplay as a Gothic Lolita or are designed to be a Gothic Lolita.
Gokou Ruri (Kuroneko) from Oreimo 
Victorique de Blois from Gosick
            As you can see, these anime characters have been influenced by the fashion of Japan, which is something that I did not expect. This goes to show that people in America are not the only ones that are influenced by Japanese fashions; Japan itself becomes influenced and entranced by its own fashion. I have learned that Japanese street fashion is a very powerful thing.


Kawamura, Yuniya. “Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion.” Class reader.

Wendie H. Vang - Blog 4

Fashion Systems, Scarification, Tattoos, and Not Being Green

Finally, the end of the quarter has arrived. I learned a lot in this course, such as fashion systems, sneakers, tattoos, textiles, commodity chains, hair, and so much more. In the last readings Kawamura was discussing how not all fashionologists had the same definitions for a fashion system. Some of them included clothing as display of fashion while others believed clothing was fashion.
            In one example, Kawamura compared simple fashion systems to complex fashion systems (Kawamura 2006, 46). Her simple fashion system example was the Tivs of Nigeria. They scar themselves for fashion purposes and the scars vary from generation to generation. I went online to read more about this, since I’m fascinated by scars and tattoos. In one article the author wrote that the scars represented status and wealth (Knoxvillage 1982). This statement would lead me to think that certain scars represent a certain status or wealth, but Kawamura’s statement makes me wonder how fashion would fit into this. If patterns change from generation to generation, then how would the community know which scars represent which status. From a different source about African scarring, scarring was expensive which meant the more scars you had the more money you owned.
Woodblock Print
            Before this class, I was hesitant to admit my interest in tattoos. However, after reading about the origins of tattoos and what tattooists think of their work, I’ve come to appreciate their life choices more. I like the floral and goldfish designs. I can handle the demonic images, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to accept that culture completely. I also like henna as well. I like basically anything floral patterned. I want to learn more about different cultures, because I want to know more about how others see the world and not because I want to wear their clothing and feel like I need their approval. No one can claim a type of clothing is theirs and only theirs. It’s very selfish and narrow-minded.
            Overall, this course made me appreciate my culture and other cultures. For the begreen challenge, I must admit that I failed. Yesterday when I was at Michaels, I ended up buying a load of Hello Kitty and My Little Pony toys for my little sister. I’ve gotten into the habit of giving her unnecessary gifts. I can stop myself from getting unnecessary things, yet when it comes to her and my younger brother, I feel like I need to buy them objects to get there affection. I tried coming up with an excuse that it was okay to get the gifts, but I couldn’t think of one. I failed and I probably will continue to fail.

Bawa, Soriyya. “Tattoo Arts and Their Cultural Connections.” Fashion, Style, & Holiday Issue October 2011. web. 7 December 2014.
“Body Decorations & World Cultures: Henna or Mendhi patterns.” web. 7 December 2014.
Kawamura, Yuniya. “Fashionology.” Berg. Oxford and New York. 2006. Print.
Knoxvillage 1982. “Heart of Darkness: Scarification or Cicatrisation.” web. 7 December 2014.
Kuniyoshi, Utagawa. “Shoki and Demon.” web. 7 December 2014.
Mullowney, Paul Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing.” Print.
“Scarification.” web. 7 December 2014.

Be Green Challenge Week 4- Alicia Luu

Challenge Update: This week I went shopping at a local Davis consignment shop and bought two articles of clothing.

This week's reading was about Japanese youth influence on fashion. These young girls are very fashionable in their own right and later work in boutiques and clothing stores taking on the dual role of sales associate and stylist (Kawamura). However, their influence has expanded globally due to the rise of Japanese fashion websites and mobile apps. 

I am one of the avid followers of Japanese street fashion and frequently check blogs and fashion websites about the latest Japanese trends.One of my favorite Youtube channels is Harajuku Kawaii TV which features Japanese models who talk about different aspects of the "kawaii" Japanese lifestyle.

Harajuku Kawaii TV

reoccurring theme in their videos is the emphasis on personal style and desire to find the cutest/coolest items possible whether it is clothing or toiletries, but this also implies the need to be bold and confident in one's personal aesthetic. It doesn't matter to these girls whether the clothes they buy are new or home-made as long as they fulfill their personal aesthetic requirements. 
This is a mentality that I have adopted after being exposed to these young women and their lifestyle and hope to continue this type of consumption practice.

SourcesHarajuku Kawaii!! TV. "FASHION REPORT "NUDE TRUMP" │ 原宿SHOP "NUDE TRUMP" 中田クルミ やのあんな #HKTV 034". Youtube.
Harajuku Kawaii!! TV. "ビレッジヴァンガードお買い物バトル 瀬戸あゆみ 木村ミサ │ Model's Shopping Game HKTV #087". Youtube.
Kawamura, Yuniya. " Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion." Reader.

Kristina Gong, Blog #4

The challenge will be over in a matter of days and I cannot wait! Not so much in terms of shopping for myself, but I really need to get a start on buying Christmas gifts / birthday gifts for friends and family. I know it kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge, hoarding a whole bunch of stuff in my online shopping cart waiting to click “purchase” once this challenge is over. I would love to craft gifts and write really thoughtful cards as my presents, but with finals coming up cutting so close to Christmas, I wouldn’t have enough time to craft anything decent.
However, I’m sure my wallet appreciated [for the time being] me not shopping for this past month, even though I probably just spent all that money on food.
With that said, I’m sure I will be hitting the malls after finals are over for retail therapy. Thankfully, after reading this week’s reading by Kawamura about Japanese teens as producers of fashion, I’ve learned that fashion doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive and designer. The idea of the upward flow theory (as opposed to the downward flow of the elite setting trends) exists, so my wallet does not necessarily have to suffer too much as a result of me wanting to “keep with the trends.” Kawamura points out that Japanese fashion does not come from the professional Japanese designers, but is led by high school girls who have become extremely influential in controlling fashion trends. I Google searched “Japanese Teen Fashion Trends” and found an article with the top Japanese Street Fashion Trends of Summer 2014. The majority definitely did not start with designers, such as sneakers, ripped jeans, and sports jerseys.

However, teens influencing fashion isn’t a groundbreaking concept, as this phenomenon was seen as early as the 1920s in the West. At this time, social norms for teenagers were changing. More teens were going to high school and college, rather than going straight into work. The idea of “dating” and unchaperoned social engagements also came about, both of which contributed to teens being able to spend more time together in groups. The fashions of this era reflected the newfound freedom teens had as a result of changing social norms.  

"Influence of Youth on Fashion." Fashion, Costume,;Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations,;Footwear through the Ages. 2004. (2004, January 1). Influence of Youth on Fashion. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from

Kawamura, Yuniya. " Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion." Reader.

Top 10 Japanese Street Fashion Trends – Summer 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2014, from

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mandy Lew - Blog 4

                The last week of the Be Green Challenge is coming to an end and I’m happy to report that I did not purchase anything outside of the guidelines for this challenge. As the end of the quarter is approaching I’ve been busy with final essays and projects so I haven’t had much time to even think about shopping. Although shopping nowadays can be as simple as clicking a button on a website, I have not given in. The ease of purchase and increased methods of distribution leads to increased similarity in style of dress. The amplified popularity of internet bloggers and vloggers makes it easier for many people to purchase the same items and dress in the same style.

                Although there are fashion bloggers who have huge followings, there are also others who diverge from these standards. These people wearing out of the ordinary outfits are often hoping to be unusual to stand out from the crowd. Teenagers in Japan developed and are still developing different fashion cultures and subcultures to explore and express their identities. Through experimenting with fashion, Japanese teenagers are able to visually display individualism while creating and influencing new fashion trends. Yuniya Kawamura’s article on Japanese street fashion explains the process of how Japanese teenage girls are creating new trends, getting recognized and then sought out by companies to aid in clothing development. Through dressing in ways that differ from what society deems as “normal” wear, people express their individuality. From the short documentary on Lolita Fashion, wearers describe this method of illustrating identity by letting their clothing do the talking. These cultures and subcultures are apparent but are not limited to the streets of Japan; its popularity can be seen across the globe.  Wearers of these subcultures do not dress differently for the sake of dressing differently; they view it as a lifestyle. I’ll end this blog by sharing two videos on different styles of Japanese street fashion worn by people in and outside of Japan. Although located in different locations, wearers of these fashion styles share the desire to express their individualism.

Kawamura, Yuniya. " Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion." Reader.
Sugar Coated - A Short Documentary about Lolita Fashion. 72U, 2013. YouTube.
What Harajuku Girls Really Look Like | Style Out There. Refinery29, 2014. YouTube.

Venice Santos Blog #4

Be Green Challenge
It is the end of the Be Green Challenge and although I cracked last week, I am still proud to say that I did not buy anything this past week! This challenge was a great way to limit my spending and through the readings and films we've watching in class, I start to think about what and who goes into making the things I buy. Even though I was unable to go the full four weeks without buying anything new, this challenge definitely helped with self-control and saving me money. I am glad though that the challenge is finally over, so I don't have to be too limited on the things I can buy since the Christmas season has come!

Through class discussion in groups, I discovered that many people not only dress like their favorite characters (like depicted above) for conventions or once in a while, but for everyday use! It is very intriguing how different cultures are of Asians in America and Asia. U.S. born Asians have found this style of clothing through watching Animes or video games and thus usually dress like this during big conventions like Comic-Con and Asians in Asia are more used to this "costume-style" way of dressing. Many Japanese teens have become producers of street fashion through trending what the latest characters or styles are. For example, the school uniform look is popular through not only Animes, but it reflects the structure of Japanese schools. 
This Asian look taken from Anime characters still resemble features of Western influence. One prominent example are the size of character's eyes. Of course Asians are known for their small, almond eyes and with character's have big, circular eyes the message is sent that not only clothing should be copied, but facial features to truly incorporate into one's fashion. This goes to show that the "American look" is still a big part of how other countries change their styles to assimilate to the West. 

Bhachu, Parminder. “It’s Hip to be Asian.” Class reader.
Kawamura, Yuniya. “Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion.” Class reader.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Be Green Challenge, Blog #4: Tammy Hsu

Yay, last week of the challenge! Also almost done with the quarter! However, I have to admit that I have not changed much. For this challenge, I pretty much did what I normally do: go window shop and buy nothing. Nevertheless, I still feel relieved that the challenge is finally over. When I was doing the challenge, I felt a sense of obligation. When I shopped, I kept thinking about all the things we learned in class. Now that the challenge is over, I can just go window shop and tell myself that I do not need new things, rather than reminding myself that these items are made in sweatshops.

During my trip, this is what I saw when I went out at night
In this week’s lecture, we talked about how Japanese teens are the producers of Japanese street fashion. In Kawamura reading, the author talks about how Japanese girls spend a lot of money on clothes, makeup, and accessories. Japanese girls set up new trends, such as the kogal phenomenon, and influence other countries’ fashion. I decided to look up recent fashion trends in Japan right now, so I found this list that shows the top street fashion trend for summer 2014. In this list, most girls choose something that are western. None of these show their Japanese culture. It seems like these girls are embracing the western culture completely.

More picture from my trip
I also have had some personal experience with this particular trend. I went to Japan this summer, and I noticed that a lot of people dressed very differently (at least, compared to what I would see in the United States). They chose something that I usually would not wear, such as super short skirt and platform sandals. I felt like they did not care that they might stand out in the crowd; rather, they merely wanted to express their own fashion statement. I really admire these people because I never have the courage to try out something that is really different from my usual style.

"Top 10 Japanese Street Fashion Trends – Summer 2014." Tokyo Fashion News RSS. N.p., 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
Kawamura, Yuniya. "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion."