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Maximalism & Kidcore: How FRUiTS Magazine is Still Inspiring Fashion Today

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‘My interest in fashion stems from the way people express themselves through the clothes they wear — it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes individual designers make, what is important are one’s thoughts and ability to express them, one’s life and it’s relationship to the environment. When such elements are combined, they create a sculpture. This sculpture I call street fashion.’

This is what Shoichi Aoki wrote in a 2001 compilation book for FRUiTS Magazine, the legendary Japanese streetwear magazine that ran from 1997 to 2017. Aoki would take to the streets of Tokyo, photographing people wearing cool outfits. The magazine didn’t have the usual editorial features, or even really adverts — it was all about the individuals’ fashion. Perhaps this is why, having returned last week from a five-year hiatus, its maximalist style ethos never truly went away.

Skirts over trousers, 'ballet-core' before it was 'ballet-core', and so, so much more — some of our favourite looks from FRUiTS

Whilst it has been called ‘anti-fashion’ and even the ‘weird girl’ aesthetic, contemporary maximalism is all about building unique outfits, often with clashing prints and colours, and of course, layering.

TikTok maximalists have been blowing up with ‘get ready with me’ videos, with the majority of comments unsure if their outfits are satirical or not. But most of the time, these outfits have great levels of thought behind them; Myra Magdalen on TikTok, for example, has blown up for her maximalist fashion, and in one video, she styles her outfit based around Twilight, printing pictures of the Twilight dads onto a long-sleeved shirt. Sound bizarre? Well yeah, it is, but that’s the beauty of it. Maximalist fashion is so well-thought and nuanced that it often becomes an expression of the wearer.

Maximalism was featured majorly in FRUiTS. Harajuku, the fashion district in Tokyo, is famous for its experimental fashion — often years ahead of the West — and this was shown in FRUiTS. But maximalist style is slowly creeping into fashion in more conventional ways. Clothes with funky patterns are a great example of this, alongside unique accessories, which can make any outfit look so much more individualistic. Jewellery with charms are great pieces within any maximalist’s wardrobe, allowing the wearer to mix and match their accessories without buying excessively.

The ‘kidcore’ aesthetic is maximalist at heart, too, and its colour palette is especially reminiscent of FRUiTS. ‘Kidcore’ takes inspiration from childhood, incorporating bright colours (often primary) and motifs from kids’ clothing, such as pony beads and butterfly clips. This style has a slight overlap with 00s fashion, too — we can see this especially with the jewellery, which all look straight out of Lizzie McGuire. FRUiTS would take photos of people from all kinds of subcultures, and since this was 00s and Harajuku street style, people would wear clothes with a childish twist.

Dressing like a childhood doll is in, something replicated in FRUiTS' street style picks

Maximalism is the perfect way to express yourself through your clothes, and after the pandemic, why not treat every event like a special occasion, and take thought into what we wear?

Keep up to date with FRUiTS (including purchasing new English translations of their archive) & discover the latest in Japanese street style on their Instagram page.

Words by Lucy Eaton

& edited by Lucy Eaton

(@llucyeaton on IG)


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