The start of spring arrived with its beautiful colors and warm weather. Despite these fluffy feelings that swelled in my heart, the end of an era was looming in the background. Koakuma Ageha had announced it’s death for the second time in less than a decade, and along with it, the retirements of the iconic cover models Rina Sakurai and Emiri Aizawa. Around the same time, Shibuya 109 building changed its overhead logo to a bright pink and purple motif that had yet to grow on me, when the red hued contrast against metallic silver had been a long standing beacon, representing the gyaru subculture for decades.
Heisei was coming to a close while Reiwa was opening the gates to new beginnings.
I would be lying if I said I had not felt melancholy realizing all of this.
Heisei had brought us so many memorable things. Personally, I found that it was the era of true diversity. There was a niche that literally catered to everyone. If you liked rock and goth culture? There was a culture for you. If you liked sexy? There was also a place for you to embrace your sexuality.
The term “kawaii” had even solidified itself in pop and media culture as people began to outwardly embrace their subjective form of what it meant to be “cute”. Heisei was big and loud. Reiwa was starting off too quietly from my perspective – fluffy demure outfits that are quite conservative in comparison.
Heisei had brought us so many memorable things. Personally, I found that it was the era of true diversity.
However, I began to realize that, with the warmth of the springtime and the closing of an era, there could be a silver lining! Egg magazine suddenly announced a physical publication revival. New charisma girls were stepping into the forefront. Onee brands started growing on me. Throwback fashion was coming back at a new angle, and lord knows how I love to reminiscence over the old.
As a nod to Kohakuma Ageha, the magazine I had adored for so long, I posted a mock magazine cover on my Instagram account with the title “Papillon Magazine” on April 2nd, 2019.
To my surprise, within hours of posting and going to sleep for the night, my Instagram message box was flooded with interest about “Papillon Magazine”. There were multiple people insisting that this be an actual magazine for the gaijin gyaru community.
Among them, a cute friendly gal named Lala contacted me disclosing that she wanted to contribute to the magazine with her designing experience, and make this project a reality. I was so impressed with the logo she submitted that I was curious to see if anyone else would send a portfolio of their work as Lala did, so I asked via Northern Galifornia’s (my gal-cir) page.
Once again, to my surprise, so many people came forward wanting to help. The post for my search got massively shared by members of the online community and huge community pages.
I had never expected there would be a huge interest in something that had been a low-key dream of mine!
I have always wanted to write about Japanese fashion. However, I thought it was not plausible to do because of social media platforms like blogging, Instagram, and YouTube that hold more interest nowadays than a readable publication. But, suddenly, “Papillon” was becoming a reality!
My mourning of losing things was being replaced with the need to be proactive. If something was ending, I should try my utmost best to start another. Even if it was just to prove to myself that it could be done! With the help of everyone — both gyaru and gyaru enthusiasts — this magazine exists. I honestly do not feel like I can fully take credit for such a thing. This was my first big project with the gaijin gyaru community (and gyaru community as a whole!), and I have been able to grow closer to you all by getting to know each and every one of you by working together, and by exchanging enthusiastic messages of excitement or ideas about “Papillon Magazine”.
So after all of this, what does “Papillon” mean to me? I find that while it started out as a nod to Koakuma Ageha – I realized soon after that something that every genre of gyaru fashion has in common is butterflies. The motif is in every substyle you can think of and I honestly think a butterfly is quite representative of gyaru! All of us grow like butterflies. We encounter a metamorphism to be what we choose to. Whether it be our best self from the inside or out (I think both are crucial personally!).
We all sought out this fashion culture for one reason or another. I truly think through gyaru, we have changed as people. Much like butterflies do!
We chose a colorful ever changing color-scheme for our logo not only to cater to every substyle in gyaru fashion but to also represent all forms of inclusivity! We are a rainbow of people from every different walk of life and from every part of the world. It’s something that should not only be embraced but celebrated.
We are a rainbow of people from every different walk of life and from every part of the world. It’s something that should not only be embraced but celebrated.
That’s exactly what I hope Papillon Magazine will do for all of you who have supported it, whether it be through involvement or just by reading!
To say I’m shook at not only the response we got but the blessings we received before our launch is an understatement. There’s absolutely no words to describe the feelings I feel as I finally get to reveal the first issue that has a lot of painstaking work and tears (no really) put into it!
I hope all of you enjoy the fruits of the labor. May this new era open new possibilities and ideas from many places all of the world to bring gyaru fashion back into the forefront!
Once again, thank you all so much for all of your support! Finally, here is your magazine!