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|Kawaii fashion is an emerging movement in Japan started in the late 1980s by a group of young women known as \'cute girls\'.|
The term ‘kawaii’, meaning \'cute\', is often used in Japan for anything from small dogs to prettily-decorated cakes, but for fashion, it has a specific style. For clothes, it means complex outfits featuring layers, bright or pastel colors, decorative accessories and extravagant hair colors and styles.
Kawaii designs are characterized by intricate patterns and multi-layered patterns that are often based on animal or human forms. The word “kawaii” itself may derive from the Japanese word kawa (湯), meaning “water”.
Kawaii fashion is centered around the combination of cute animal forms and colorful clothing (hence its name). The clothing consists of simple pieces such as socks, t-shirts, tank tops and shorts with minimal detailing such as bows on the neck or wrist straps. Some outfits are designed to create an illusion of being larger than their actual size; however it does not represent the wearer\'s true body size due to the way their shape is exaggerated by adding extra layers.
For this reason many people have expressed concern about the increased acceptance of obesity among young Japanese people because some of these fashion choices create unrealistic proportions that can lead one into believing they are taller than they really are. There is also concern that using animals can cause misunderstandings between parents and children due to perceived gender differences between them (e.g., males wearing dresses as opposed to skirts).
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