Three very similar, yet completely distinct fashion trends: Kawaii, Creepy-cute, and Pastel Goth. These alternative styles are often mixed and matched. But they all have their own vibe.
Kawaii is a part of Japanese culture that equates to “cuteness.” The literal translation of the word means the act of blushing, because something is so cute. Kawaii is typically associated with cartoon/anime, bright colors, sweetness, and positivity. Examples of kawaii characters include Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pikachu, Little Twin Stars, Pompompurin, Hamtaro, and Pusheen cat. Kawaii can be represented in art, comics, illustrations, TV, products, toys, food, home decor, almost anything — including fashion.
Kawaii fashion aims to look cute, small, young, and bright/colorful. Fashion includes influences from famous kawaii characters.
Clothing is often oversized, such as baggy sweatshirts or loose-fitting tees — however not limited to it. Crop tops or anything small or tight-fitted is typically paired with something larger — example: large sweatshirt with leggings, or crop top with high-waisted sweatpants.
Common items of clothing: tee-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, crop tops, pleaded skirts, overalls, jumpers, dresses. It’s typically comfortable and made of soft material.
The message of kawaii fashion is extreme positivity, happiness, and light-heartedness. Logo t-shirts may include jokes, riddles, or something designed to put a smile on your face. The style is very simplistic. The goal of kawaii fashion is to not take life so seriously, but have fun with fashion, embrace smiles, laughter, and all things cuteness!
Creepy-cute is a form of fashion that takes the cuteness of Kawaii and makes it… creepy! Unlike kawaii fashion, creepy-cute is much more dramatic and embraces themes of darkness, death, occult, etc.
Creepy-cute fashion takes things we consider uncomfortable, scary, or even disturbing — and depicts it as soft, sweet, and adorable.
Colors are almost exclusive to black mixed with pink, purple, or baby blue. There is always some type of symbol such as a star, moon, cross, tombstone, ghost, etc. There is an emphasis on hair, which is usually an unnatural color — whether it be dyed or a wig. Big bows and hair clips are worn.
This type of fashion is very bold and expressive. It stands out from the crowd and goes against mainstream wear. It’s not meant to blend in.
Pastel goth fashion is a subset of goth fashion. However, instead of all black, it embraces pastel colors.
Pastel goth and creepy-cute are similar styles, many would say they are the same exact thing. The difference is that creepy-cute is a kawaii-influenced aesthetic, while pastel goth is an entire culture that is influenced by gothic music, gothic literature, and so on.
Pastel goth takes goth fashion and adds a splash of light shades. It embraces the duality of the dark side & light side coexisting.