Karasu zoku is an all-black style that head-started various black-focused fashion styles around the world. The style is now considered inactive, as the name is no longer used. However, its impact on the world of fashion can still be seen to this day, from high-end fashion shows in Paris, to street coordinates in Harajuku.

Name[edit | edit source]

The word "karasu" (烏) translates to mean "crow" in Japanese, and the word "zoku" (族) means tribe. The name of the style is presumably meant to reflect the all-black clothing that resembles a crow. [1][2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

Karasu zoku was brought about by two Japanese designers, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, who introduced the style in their 1982 Paris collection of designs entitled "Impact from the East", also known as "Destroy." The idea behind the style was to create an alternative fashion that was opposite of girlish and housewife fashions of the day. [1][3]

Style Basics[edit | edit source]

Karasu zoku style is relatively simple in its rules and regulations, but still manages to create a very unique style and silhouette. [4] 

Colors[edit | edit source]

The color scheme of karasu zoku is entirely black. No other color may be used. From pants, to shoes, to tops, to accessories; each piece will continue the black theme. However, it is not so important that the black's match, and some coordinates will include different shades of black, while others try to use only one shade.

Clothes[edit | edit source]

The karasu zoku style is all about bold, oversized clothing. The androgynous look, as well as asymmetrical cuts, were popular. Clothes were meant to cover the body shape, not enhance it. I general, the style was inspired by the aesthetics of the British punk movement.

Turtlenecks and scarves were popular, along with skirts that fell to the ankle. Distressed fabrics were also popular looks, with slashed open sleeves, wrinkled expensive fabrics, and other imperfections. Collared capes and black bustled skirts were also used, which gave outfits a witchy, vampirical look.

Makeup[edit | edit source]

Following its all-black theme, the classic makeup look for karasu zoku includes dark eye black eyeshadow looks, somewhat similar to a toned-down smokey eye. Other dark makeup may be used, or makeup may be kept minimal.

Hair[edit | edit source]

There were no required hairstyles for karasu zoku, but straight, sleek hair and choppy bangs were commonly seen hairstyles amongst those who wore the fashion.

Brands & Shops[edit | edit source]

The karasu were followers of big fashion names, and even contributed to the rise of a decade-long style obsession known as “DC burando,” or the obsession with wearing and owning the most popular brands, and displaying the symbols of those brands proudly.

Any high-fashion brand would do for karasu zoku, as long as the purchased pieces were black. Additionally, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo's fashion pieces were popular. [1][3]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Crow Tribe / Karasu Zoku." Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/_/3AFe9-fsR6q90g
  2. "Zoku." Wikipedia. November 26, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoku
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Stephanie Buck. "Japan's 'crow tribe' is the reason everyone started wearing black in New York." Timeline. August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://timeline.com/commes-des-garcon-crow-tribe-998dd7d344a2
  4. くまみき/Kumamiki. "The Karasu-zoku Make-up & How Kumamiki Became a Harajuku Girl." March 26, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7pEo9iLtzc
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