Every day, we learn new names for things in Japanese. Some of them are… well, we don’t think anyone asked an English speaker to check them first.
Whenever we see a popular brand with a funny name, we die a little inside. (And then check out the merch.) We made this list of our faves, so you can share in the awkwardness and interesting products.
The bold, strange name in Japanese street fashion since 2005. The boldest and strangest of them all, maybe? It’s in the top 5 weird names, for sure… alright, make that top 3.
Wacko Maria embraces their crazy image, and won’t let it go. Their T-shirt designs are always provocative. Even saying ‘provocative’ feels like an understatement. It takes a certain confidence to wear these clothes.
And when they’ve got a new theme or slogan, they shove it on as many items as possible. If you’re looking for something plain and simple, this ain’t the brand for you.
What we love most about Wacko Maria is the brand’s philosophy:
WE BELIEVE ONE CANNOT CREATE BEAUTIFUL THINGS NOR LEAD A BEAUTIFUL LIFE WITHOUT LOVE, DREAMS AND PASSION.
Yeah, they love their ALL CAPS so much. Shouty words to live by.
In Japanese, Calpis is pronounced like ‘ka-ru-pi-su’. Awkward, but not so bad, huh?
Now try saying it in English. Every native speaker’s accent comes out like ‘cow piss’. Which isn’t a drink you find in vending machines.
The company’s in on the secret, luckily. It’s become a running joke that people tell at introductions and training. Still, no wonder Calpis is branded as Calpico outside Japan.
Calpis Water actually tastes good, so don’t be put off by the name. It’s got a yogurt-like, milky flavour that’s not super strong. Unless you try drinking the concentrated stuff by accident. (The ideal balance is 1 part Calpis concentrate to 7 parts water, btw.)
(one after another) Nice Claup
It’s pronounced ‘clap’. (one after another) Nice Clap. Yeah, still sounds weird.
This fashion and accessory brand’s similar to WEGO, in some ways. Styles go from kids, to tweens, to teens, to young adults. Or, as the brand says, ‘from Girl to Lady, from Lady to Little♥Lady’. For anyone who wants to stay cute at heart, but be a little ‘mysterious’ as they get older.
Basics (tees, jumpers, dresses) are well represented, styles aren’t too niche, and the pricing’s reasonable. All those points make the brand nice and accessible for younger fashionistas. Nice Claup can give themselves a round of applause.
If you’re under 25, you’ll probably look nice in Nice Claup clothes. Hey, not many fashion brands can say they grow up with you.
titty & co.
The brand’s got a ‘sweet and vintage’ style, with a changing theme for every season’s new collection. The soft, feminine looks are more casual than, say, Liz Lisa or Cecil McBee. But still smart enough to wear to work, and then out for dinner afterwards. It’s a nice balance, giving the whole range wider appeal.
It isn’t in titty & co.’s usual style to put their name all over their clothes. Some brands do – Supreme, or BAPE, anyone? But there’s no risk of finding a shirt with ‘titty’ in huge letters across the chest. Which, if you’re not in Japan, is probably for the best.
When you’re in any other country, searching ‘Candy Stripper’ is way more dangerous…
The brand concept is ‘no rule, no genre, no age’. It’s a bolder, more ‘edgy’ fashion label. Which means a lot of pink and bright colours at one end of the range, and nothing but black at the other end. You’d maybe think a brand called ‘Candy’ something would be super girly, but some of the clothes are much more tomboy-ish and unisex.
Candy Stripper’s most popular creation is the My Little Candy ribbon bag. Can’t get enough glitter? Candy Stripper’s got you covered.
Could we admit wearing ‘Candy Stripper’ if someone asked? To be honest, the name on the label’s less surprising than the clothes. It’s not so much ‘oh hey, where did you buy that?’ as ‘what the hell are you wearing?’
‘Evian’ water being ‘naive’ spelled backwards is funny. But not funny enough. We’ve got a proper ‘naive’ brand here in Japan.
The Naive range (by Kracie) is all hair and body care: shampoo, conditioner, body soap, face wash, and so on. It wants to be the kind of brand the whole family uses. Seems to be working – Naive’s been around for over 20 years.
Kracie is a huge brand, so we’re gonna trust that Naive totally knows their skincare stuff. They tapped into the ‘family’ thing even more with limited-edition regional scents. Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, etc.) got plum, Hokkaido got lavender, and so on.
Knowing we’re washing with ‘Naive’ is the kind of thing that makes us giggle in the shower.
If you see any brand names more wacko than these, we wanna hear about it
What else should’ve been in this post? Leave us some inspiration in the comments.