Ganguro Girls & Manbas
The Look: Gonguro means ‘black face’ – artificial tanning and/or foundation for black women is made to look even darker by being contrasted with ‘high bleach’ blonde or neon mutli-colour hair, panda eyes and white lipstick. Brightly coloured minidress + super platform boots complete the Gonguro look. Manba and Center Guy style takes this even further with shiny decals stuck on the face + extreme hair extensions – and, perversely for the male Center Guys, the addition of natural colour moustaches and goatee beards. Manba girls and Center Guys also love clothes from the Alba Rosa brand – now hard to come by because as soon as these anti-fashion extremists discovered this brand it went under because its fashionable customers deserted it.
The Time: Gonguro Girls early in the ‘90s. Manba and Center Guys come at the end of the 90s and into the 21st century.
The Place: First the Shibuya district of Tokyo but spreads throughout Japan.
Influenced: Part of an explosion of radical, experimental anti-fashion in Japan which continues to reverberate around the world.
... even today most Japanese women still strive for the lightest possible skin but near the start of the ‘90s a few renegade girls and women started deliberately bucking this trend by showing off incredibly dark, artificially created tans – the colour of which was further emphasized by the use of white bleached or candyfloss coloured hair, dazzling white panda eyes and whiter than white lipstick. They called themselves ‘Ganguro’ meaning, literally, ‘black face’ and there were soon thousands and thousands of them spread throughout Japan - as if the country had been invaded by all female extraterrestrials with a penchant for make-up unequalled throughout the galaxy ...