Before I say anything else, I would just like to say that Neo Gyaru is actually not any continuation of the Gyaru fashion, but something completely separate. I think it’s an entirely new style. More than all the different types of Gyaru and other fashion, Neo Gyaru has a lot of girls with a specialized style. By the way, I’ve never introduced myself even once as a Neo Gyaru (laughs). Of course out style is no longer Gyaru so the name Neo Gyaru is perhaps not ideal, but people are already noticing our fashion and calling it that, so we just decided to go along with it. That’s how I feel about it (laughs). On Tumblr I often reply to messages from fans. Recently, I received a message from a fan abroad who asked me a question. “I want to hear your opinion regarding that Gyaru fashion has become Neo Gyaru fashion. Fans of Japan from abroad are criticizing that Neo Gyaru is not part of the Gyaru fashion, that it isn’t a major movement and is thus not part of the culture. As the pioneer of this style, how do you feel about it?”. I said it doesn’t really concern me (laughs). And then my comment got a lot of “likes” (laughs). When I was in my teens I was a Gyaru, so I can say that Neo Gyaru is different. I think people that say the two are completely different are right. The word Neo Gyaru has been used to describe us, so the media starts describing us at the next stage for Gyaru fashion, but I replied saying that that isn’t right. But it’s still something that doesn’t really concern me (laughs). It’s just that Tokyo doesn’t have a culture right now, so I want to make something new. In just 6 years we’ll host the Olympics, so I really feel like we must have something. I don’t call myself a Neo Gyaru but I have a considerable amount of fans that do, so if they call me that I will do my best to spread Neo Gyaru culture and think it would be nice if it turned from a subculture and into something more major.

まず言っておきたいのが、ネオギャルはギャルの進化系ではなくて、全く別ものです(笑)。全く新しいジャンルだと思ってる。いわゆるギャルよりも、よりファッションに特化してる子たちが多いかな? ちなみに私、自分でネオギャルです、って名乗った事1度もないんですよ(笑)。もうギャルじゃないので“ギャル”っていう言葉がちょっとアレですけど、でも、ネオギャルっていう名前を使って私たちのことを取り上げてくれるのなら、じゃあそれを使おうか……くらいの感覚(笑)。私tumblrをやっていてよくコメント返しをするんですけど、この前海外のファンの子から質問が来て。「ギャルがネオギャルに変わったこということに対して、ありさの意見を聞きたい。海外の日本好きの子たちは、ネオギャルはギャルじゃないって非難してるし、ネオギャルって全然マスじゃないからカルチャーじゃない。このスタイルのパイオニアのありさは、どう思ってる?」って聞かれて。それで私「どうでもいいんですけどw」ってコメント返したんですよ(笑)。そしたら、めっちゃ「いいね」の数がついた(笑)。私は10代の頃はギャルだったけど、ネオギャルはギャルだと思ってないし、私はみんな(=ネオギャルはギャルではない、と言う人)が正しいと思う。ネオギャルっていう言葉が使われて、メディアがギャルがネオギャルに進化したって言っているけれどそれは違うよ、って返事をしました。でもそれに関しては割と本当にどうでもよくて(笑)。ただとにかく、今、東京にカルチャーがないから、何か作りたいと思ってるだけ。6年後にはオリンピックもあるし、何かがなくちゃいけないって思ってる。自分で自分のことをネオギャルとは呼ばないけど、少なからず私にもファンの子がいて、ネオギャルって言ってくれるのなら、それを広めて、サブカルをカルチャーにできればいいな、と思ってる。

I think what all the Neo Gyaru are thinking and what you are projecting are definitely not different. It’s just because of the way you guys have been labeled (as Neo Gyaru) and, for me too, I think it’s something not to concern ourselves with too much.


Also, there just aren’t that many young people doing something, right? I think anything is fine, but we need some young people to start something new, otherwise how will Japan’s future be? I don’t think what I’m doing right now is that connected to a main culture or main stream, but if people like me increased, I think that’d be a good thing.

-あと他に、こういう事してる子ってあんまりいないじゃないですか。だったらとりあえず何でもいいから、何かこういうことをする若者がいないと、将来東京どうなんの!? って思っちゃうから(笑)。自分が今やっていることは全然メインストリームのカルチャーだとは思わないけど、こういうことをする子が増えればいいな。

By the way, I heard you are going to New York next year. Are you doing this to go study fashion?


No, not at all. I just want to change where I live. When people go to NY it is often seen as some sort of study abroad, but for me it’s just going to be a trip to America. I want to rent a showroom and get a lease. And make connections (laughs). I would like to be able to go to school, but I have work so who knows… There are language schools like Parsons and FIT, so it’d be nice to go, you know! These days, as long as you have a laptop you can go on living anywhere (laughs). And I can always come back.

いや、全然。ただ住むところを変えるだけ、っていう。N.Y.に行くっていうと留学と思われる事が多いんですけど、ただ渡米するだけ、って感じです。向こうでショールームを借りて、リースもやりたい。あとはコネを作る(笑)。学校も行けたらいいけど、仕事もあるからどうだろう……。パーソンズとかFITの語学学校があって、そこに行けたらいいなとは思うんですけどね! 今の時代、どこに住んでたって、パソコンがあれば生きていけるし(笑)。それにいつでも帰って来れるし。

I agree with you completely. It’s not as if we’re living in the 13th century (laughs). Change of topic, but your fans abroad often call you ‘cute’, right? How do you feel about this? Personally, I feel like more than ‘cute’ you have a ‘cool’ look.

話は変わりますが、海外の人に”kawaii”って言われたりしますよね? それってどう思っていますか? 個人的に、有砂さんはkawaiiというよりは英語の意味でcoolな感じなのかな、と思ったり(笑)。

I think it’s probably not part of Kawaii culture. My friends from abroad have called me cute before, but when we think of ‘Kawaii Culture’ Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and other Harajuku or Harajuku-like things come to mind. But just the fact they even know the word Kawaii honestly makes me happy, so of course being called Kawaii is something that makes me happy, too.


Please let tell me about FIG&VIPER. It’s quite an individualistic style, with a unique world view. What inspires your brand?


I go on vacations, often meet very fashionable foreign people, and always pay attention to what their attuned to, what they like. That’s the #1 place where I have my antenna pointing at right now. By the way, my favorite place for fashion is London! Everyone is fashionable and really put their all into their fashion. More than focusing on matching an outfit, they focus on balance, which is so interesting! And that….you know, is something I can use as a reference.

旅行とかに言って、海外のイケてるおしゃれな子たちに会って、その人たちがどんなものに敏感になっているのか、何が好きなのか、っていうところに1番アンテナを張っているかな。ちなみに1番好きなファッションはロンドン! みんなおしゃれだし着こなしがうまい。合わせ方というより、バランス感、こなれ感がすごい! あれは何なんだろう(笑)。超参考にしてます。

What are you ambitions for what’s to come?


Expansion abroad! I would also to try to challenge myself to do wholesale aside from on the internet. I want people abroad to wear FIG&VIPER too. And not because it’s a Japanese brand but, ideally, because it was in a shop with many different brands, and they picked it up simply by coincidence. I’m also thinking of expanding to Mens clothing!

やっぱり海外展開! Web以外に卸しにも挑戦したい。海外の人にもFIG&VIPERの服を着て欲しいです。世界中のit girlたちに着て欲しい! 日本のブランドだから、という理由ではなく、セレクトショップにあって手に取ったのがたまたまFIG&VIPERの服だった、っていうのが理想。あと、メンズ展開も考えています!

That reminds me, last month you went to Thai for an event. On Twitter you said, “Thai girls are sooo fashionable!!”.


Yes, they really were super fashionable! In malls, around TOPSHOP… There were cute girls everywhere. It was really invigorating. There was a lot of minimalistic fashion. And they were really good at pulling of that style! It was actually a primary factor in me thinking, “Wow, Japan is losing” (laughs).

-そうなんです、本当におしゃれだった! モールのなかとかTOPSHOPの周りとか……おしゃれな子でいっぱいだった。すごく刺激的だったな。ミニマルな子が多かった。ミニマル上手! なんか、東京負けてるじゃん! って思っちゃった要因の一つですね(笑)。

Lastly, please share a message with people abroad who have an interest in Tokyo or want to come here, if you have one.


It’s a very beautiful, clean city with very kind people… I said quite a bit about Tokyo, but it really is supposed to be a happening place, and there are also people that are fashionable. If you would come and see it for yourself, I think that’d be great.


-Earnest, honest and always facing forward, Arisa Ueno is thinking seriously about the city she loves, Tokyo. She’s reacting to the current situation and also fighting against it. The culture in Tokyo that will be made from now on could not have been realized without her influence. Interviewing with her I definitely feel that a new culture will be realized one day. I really look forward to what new type of culture will be born!



She showed us FIG&VIPER’s latest outfits.


This is the press room of FIG&VIPER. All the stuffs here are what she loves.


Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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