A Dream Dress for Girls: Milk, Fashion and Shōjo Identity

  • Masafumi Monden
Part of the East Asian Popular Culture book series (EAPC)


The image of shōjo is largely conveyed through visual cues of dress, gesture, and appearance. With the exception of the now well-documented Japanese Lolita fashion, however, theoretical analysis of the association between shōjo and dress is still a rarity. Paying particular attention to fashion brand Milk, and romantic ballerinas and Victorian girls as underlying inspirations, this chapter aims to uncover significant meanings behind shōjo fashion. It contends that fashion aesthetic is crucially intertwined with the process of crafting and sustaining the image of shōjo, and further that this aesthetic subverts the stereotypical equation of girlish (shōjo) femininity with derogatory sexualization, values denounced as passive and unfavorable in many Euro-American societies. The shōjo fashion aesthetic, this chapter argues, inverts these negative associations into positive and empowering ones.



I am very grateful to D. J. Ellis for his careful reading of and feedback on this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masafumi Monden
    • 1
  1. 1.The Faculty of Design, Architecture and BuildingUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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