Dasa-kawa fashion: uncool-cute looks you can’t take your eyes off

There are times when something’s so bad, it’s good again.

Dasa-kawa comes from 2 Japanese words with near opposite meanings. ‘Dasai’ (ダサい) – uncool and unfashionable – and ‘kawaii’ (かわいい), a word that’s now the international sign for cuteness.

So when they come together, ‘dasa-kawa’ meanssoooo totally lame, it starts to be cute and trendy again.

It’s a phrase that’s been around for a while. The US sitcom ‘New Girl’ got renamed ‘Dasa-kawa Shoujo & The 3 Musketeers’ in Japan. There are at least 3 sets of ‘dasa-kawa’ LINE stamps.

And it shows there’s more to Japanese fashion than kawaii or ‘alternative’ style alone.

Printed T-shirts and hoodies

Think of everything you’d feel embarrassed to be wearing on your front. Imagine it in full colour, covering a black (or white, red, pink or blue) tee.

See, we can hear you cringing from all the way over here. Some of the models wearing these tops aren’t even showing their faces in the pics…

But who’s gonna notice your face when you’ve got this stuff on? The louder the print, the better. If there are sequins, or fluffy bits, or other weird fabric sewn on, that’s all good too.

Do the J-fashion thing, and play it up to the max! A T-shirt nobody can stop staring at’s the perfect focus point of your outfit. Never mind why they’re staring your way, as long as you get that attention.

Ugly (Christmas) jumpers

Move over a sec, sleeveless tees – winter clothes can be ugly too! Japan jumped on this global trend faster than you can say ‘wow, that’s an interesting pattern, where’d you find it?’.

But we were shocked – shocked! – to find out Japan isn’t the home of the ‘Ugly Sweater World Championship’. They should let other countries host it, like the World Cup.

Festive designs feel even more awkward. They’re harder to get away with… in any month that doesn’t start with ‘D’ and end with ‘-ecember’. Unless you’re invited to a Rudolph-themed birthday party in the summer.

An ugly jumper’s ugly, no matter when or where you wear it. As with all other dasa-kawa clothes, to transcend ‘dasa’ and reach ‘kawa’ level you’ve gotta own it. Tell people they ended up on the naughty list this year, and you’re their lump of coal.

Any other time of year’s a good time to get your next Christmas outfit ready, at least. If an ugly-as-hell sweater’s not down in your letter to Santa, try some Christmas cosplay instead.

Retro 80’s and 90’s sneakers

You know the ones. Running shoes that look like they’re made from a block of broken white plastic, and coloured in with crayons.

The ugly sneaker (or ‘dad sneaker’ to some people, sorry dad) revival’s been going since around 2017. Shoe brands like Converse, Fila, Puma and Adidas have brought back – or reinvented – their chunky classics.

Sure, those thicker soles help you look and feel taller. (We’re looking at you, Nike Air Max.) Can’t deny how functional retro sneakers are made to be.

The ‘kawaii’ bit is everything you wear above your ankles, then. You kinda have to include shoes in an outfit if you plan on leaving the house. So dressing around them makes a bunch of sense.

But what if your big old, retro old sneakers clash with your super eye-catching T-shirt? If you’re giving that dasa-kawa look and attitude a fair chance, then who the hell cares?

Look as dasai as you dare!

However you like to dress, we bet there’s at least 1 J-fashion brand you’ll love wearing. Follow the ‘dasa-kawa’ trend, or look up any other Japan-inspired styles and co-ords you’re into lately.

To buy clothes, shoes and accessories from Japan, why not use DEJAPAN’s proxy shopping service? We take requests from fashion brand websites, and there’s no service fee on items.

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