SAN JOSE, CALIF.— Arlyse Bunao, a freshman at Silver Creek High School, has always been fascinated with fashion since she was young.
“I started liking fashion through anime. I liked the character designs and wanted to replicate them because I thought they looked cool. It doesn’t mean I want to be a character. I strive for individualism,” said Bunao. A substyle Bunao embraced is lolita fashion, a Japanese fashion style influenced by the Rococo period. She likes the cute and feminine look it gives and she feels confident in it. She originally discovered this style from a show called “The Doll Life,” run by Filipino-American designer Cyril Lumboy and fell in love with it ever since.
Bunao thinks fashion is a way to express herself without people judging her. But it was also a struggle she faced while getting into fashion because she worried what others would think. “Be yourself. We should not care about what people think. Just have fun with it, really,” Bunao encouraged. Another piece of advice she has for dressing up is to coordinate colors and patterns. “I think colors and patterns are important, so try to match them. A lot of people don’t like matching them and it’s fine.”
Bunao likes to collect different clothes and accessories. “Most of my clothes are hand-me-downs or I bought them from the mall,” Bunao explained. She currently owns over 50 hair accessories. A goal Bunao has is to try new styles, like visual kei fashion (inspired by Japanese rock bands) and agejo gyaru (combinations of black and pink clothing), and to collect more lolita fashion pieces over time that she can wear.
Clothing also reflects on the wearer’s mood. This week, Bunao mostly leaned towards bold looks, indicating she was feeling happy. On Monday, the outfit was punk-inspired. On Tuesday, she wore kogal gyaru, a sub-style aimed around high school girls. Since it is Filipino history month, Bunao was inspired by her heritage and wore a similar outfit to Baro’t Saya. And on Friday, she tried out an emerging style called Jirai Kei.
Bunao has considered having a job involving fashion in the future. “I would like to continue dressing up when I get older because it makes me happy.” Bunao expressed.