Recently on 2ch, Japan's largest forum, people have begun collecting images of college students decked out in similar outfits.
Online in Japan, this largely became a way to poke fun at college students—because, hey, making fun of college students is universal, no?
Not all these photos depict college students (though, most seem to). What's more, it's not clear if all the photos show "accidental" same clothes—or if some of them are just people screwing around on the internet. And, of course, not all college students in Japan dress the same!
College in Japan, like college pretty much anywhere, is an opportunity for young people to strike out on their own, reinvent themselves, and well, try to pick up dates. Thus, youth pay attention to fashion.
Over 95 percent of Japanese teens wear uniforms in high school. That might make it seem like they are more susceptible to following fashion magazine trends—maybe they are. But aren't Western kids just as susceptible? Aren't kids anywhere?
Some Japanese students have always been fashion savvy, ditching high school uniforms for cool threads on the weekends. Others might not have that same sense of style. It's the same for most Western college students; I remember thinking most people in college dressed the same! I also remember accidentally wearing the same clothes as other students in school—it happens!
There is a stereotype in Japan that college students equal plaid. According to Japanese site Byoukan Sunday, there's also a rumor that students studying the sciences are more prone to wear plaid shirts.
Commenters wrote that these students were all wearing similar clothes because either they all shopped at Uniqlo or they were all reading the same fashion magazines. Uniqlo might be likely; it's not expensive, making it ideal for college students' budgets. And if you look at the Uniqlo online shop, it sure has a lot of plaid—and stripes. Still, this is all speculation.
It looks like blue shirts are mentioned in fashion magazines for guys, which could explain the excess denim.
As Japanese site Byoukan Sunday points out, these photos—some of which were retweeted hundreds of times on Twitter—have made the leap to English language sites, where much seems lost in translation. The phenomenon is now a "strange new trend" among Japanese college students. Ugh... Hang on there, just a second.
What is for sure is that wherever there are people buying clothes, there are people accidentally wearing the same outfits. Heck, in the West, there are English language Tumblr sites like We Look the Same and I Like Looking Like Other People that chronicle similar outfits. And in the West, isn't the stereotype that all hipsters dress the same? And aren't Hollywood stars always wearing the same outfits?
This isn't a strange new trend. This is mass-market fashion.
大学生のチェック率が高いのはユニクロの影響！海外サイトで話題に [Byoukan Sunday]
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