At the top of your head, how many modern-day Japanese fashion personalities can you name? Sure, there are pop-culture favourites Sailor Moon or Hello Kitty, there are also designers like Rei Kawakubo or the late Kansai Yamamoto. But if we’re really talking about a J-fashion influencer that’s known even outside of Japan, Naomi Watanabe is, without a doubt, worthy of a mention.
Aside from her recent campaigns and global ambassadorships for brands like SK-II, Kate Spade, and Shu Uemura, Naomi’s various features in Vogue in 2017 — as well as her undisputed ranking as Japan’s highest followed Instagram personality (9.8 million followers as of writing) — speaks about how much she’s made a name as one of the country’s most popular icons.
But what’s interesting about this is the fact is that Japan is known for having ideal ‘body type’ standards that lean more on petiteness often related to the concept of being kawaii (cute). This even covers women in their 30s to 50s who go to extreme lengths to achieve a certain level of thinness, as reported by Japan Association for Eating Disorders (JAED). So how and why is Naomi Watanabe making a difference?