The newest emerging trend in body jewelry is finally here: kawaii. Kawaii is a Japanese adjective that means “cute” or “adorable,” and as you might imagine, it can be applied to almost anything.
The beginnings of the Kawaii movement in Japan are thought to have come about in the late 1960s and early 70s, when women (mostly teenagers) began to purposefully emphasize their more innocent, saccharin, and childlike side through their clothing, mannerisms, and even new styles of handwriting. This is the time period when exaggerated icons of super-cuteness like Hello Kitty began to emerge, and in the years since the kawaii industry has grown to encompass everything from clothing and accessories, to home decor, office supplies, electronics, beauty products, and now body jewelry.
For anyone who might be unfamiliar with the kawaii aesthetic, the main components translate pretty simply. The general look is all about rounded lines, youthful patterns like stars and polka dots, and the cartoon-style humanization of items that are largely inanimate. Hues remain mostly in the feminine and childlike palettes of pastels and brights, but where appropriate can include splashes of harsher, darker color. And one of the biggest emerging aspects of this trend lately involves the cartooning of foods; mostly sweets, fast food, and sushi.
For jewelry, especially in the world of piercings, the kawaii look is a breath of fresh air. Since fashion directions have lead us through the past five years or so favoring a more simple and monochrome 90s retro feel to piercing jewelry, the mega-dose of color, interest, and fun that this new style imparts are bound to catch on with the speed of a freight train.
Some of the more popular kawaii jewelry items include necklaces, belly rings, earrings, cocktail rings, and nose jewelry. And when mixed with solid brights or childhood motifs, these pieces become the cornerstone of an overall style that screams “literally too cute!”
Where we go from here will be up to the design directions of the jewelry industry and how this trend is received by piercers and their clients, but for now there may be just one thing to say: “kawaii ga daisuki da!” (I love cute).