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Anime’s Influence on Global Fashion Trends

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Written by
Victor Hughes
  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
  • Icon Page 673 words
  • Icon Clock 4 min read
English (United States)
Academic level
High School
Type of paper
Cultural and Ethnic Studies
Paper format
Individual Essay Example

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Anime, which refers to a style of animation that originated in Japan, is one of the most important influences on contemporary dressing. The intersection of anime and global fashion is not a recent phenomenon, and the influences of this genre on sartorial choices go back several decades. This longevity of influence is evidence of the cross-generational appeal of anime. The unique clothing choices and creative character designs associated with anime have inspired various actors in the fashion universe, ranging from designers to consumers and even enthusiasts. Whereas anime influences are pervasive across the world of global fashion, Kawaii-influenced streetwear, cosplay culture, and the collaborations between anime and luxury brands are arguably the three greatest manifestations of this phenomenon.

Anime and Luxury Clothing Brands

The imaginative and colorful designs evident in anime have inspired fashion designers from various luxury brands for a long time. For example, Comme des Garçons and Supreme have both reimagined the Akira character on their accessories and apparel (Tan, 2022, para. 6). Clothing designers typically seek inspiration from anime characters in an attempt to connect with the audiences of this genre. Including anime features like character illustrations on clothing makes those items appealing to consumers of anime content, which boosts their sales. Hence, this inclusion of anime content in luxury clothing design demonstrates the influence this genre has had on the fashion universe.

Anime’s Influence on Global Fashion Trends

Cosplay Culture

Cosplay is a shortened form of the term “costume play,” which is an anime subculture where enthusiasts dress up as their favorite Anime characters. The primary reasons for cosplay include entertainment, escape from everyday life, belongingness, eustress, and aesthetics, while costumes, such as Sailor Moon school uniforms, can serve as objects of power (Reysen et al., 2018, p. 33; Yatron, 2022, p. 27). Cosplayers typically recreate character outfits with meticulous detail, and fan gatherings often become huge fashion events. The popularity of cosplay is one of the major drivers of anime-inspired clothing designs by major fashion houses, which are often on display at runway shows. Hence, cosplay embodies the influence of anime on fashion and provides clothing designers with a powerful medium to demonstrate their creativity.

Kawaii Aesthetics and Streetwear

The Kawaii aesthetic of anime has profoundly influenced global streetwear fashion. Kawaii, a Japanese term that means ‘cute,’ refers to a culture of wearing clothing that is excessively feminine, emotionally expressive, and idealistic (Jones & Lancaster, 2021, p. 48). Anime characters adorned with charming outfits and adorable features have fueled the rise in popularity of Kawaii culture across the globe. This trend has spread into various sectors of the fashion industry, especially streetwear. Modern streetwear fashion often features playful accessories, oversized hoodies, and graphic t-shirts, all of which are fundamental elements of Kawaii. Hence, anime, by popularizing Kawaii, has radically transformed our conceptualization of fashion and encouraged the embrace of unique, unconventional styles.


Anime has had a significant stylistic influence on global fashion. The popularity of anime characters has inspired the apparel designs of leading fashion houses, fueled the rise of cosplay culture, and popularized the Kawaii aesthetic. The intersection between anime and fashion has revolutionized the conceptualization of the latter. The introduction of anime-inspired design to fashion has breathed new life into the industry. As anime continues to grow in popularity, its influence on global trends is only likely to increase, further cementing its position as a major shaper of the fashion landscape.


Jones, S., & Lancaster, L. (2021). Kawaii revolution: Understanding the Japanese aesthetics of “cuteness” through Lolita and Madoka Magica. University of South Carolina Upstate Student Research Journal, 14(7), 48–57. https://doi.org/https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=uscusrj

Reysen, S., Plante, C. N., Roberts, S. E., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2018). Motivations of cosplayers to participate in the anime fandom. The Phoenix Papers, 4(1), 29–40. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/embg4

Tan, A. (2022, November 14). The influence of anime on the fashion landscape From the ’90s till today. Vogue Singapore. https://vogue.sg/influence-of-anime-on-fashion/

Yatron, C. (2022). 30 years later, re-examining the “Pretty soldier”: A gender study analysis of Sailor Moon. The Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, 3, 1–33. https://doi.org/10.21900/j.jams.v3.948

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