Although highly praised for its ingenuity and fashion-forward consciousness, Visual Kei has its own fashion trends– especially now that certain bands have begun to see moderate international renown. It happens in every genre, really, that the bands that really make an imprint on the market start to create some horrible monster within their business. This horrible monster is called simply a “blue-print”, and is what every aspiring artist succeeding them follows in the hopes of finding similar levels of success. For example, ever since princeling band Alice Nine built a veritable fan-girl fan-base, pretty much every new Visual Kei band’s bassist has been styled to look identical to A9‘s Saga. They even try and match their physical appearance. It must be a tough world for any bassists who don’t look like his identical twins. I guess there’s always plastic-surgery.
But, to be true, my perspective on the whole thing isn’t nearly as bleak as I make it sound. It’s not all just grasping at the fame of the forefathers– not at all. I do believe in genuine and sincere appreciation of the preceding groups– they do become famous, and thus they do become role-models for the bands that follow. In this case, of course they want to get the same perm– they’re trying to invoke the same energetic power of the person they admire. I’m sure every single Visualist has experienced, on some level, trying to copy the style of their favorite artists in the same exact attempt to draw on the strengths of their role-model. Why we choose to judge so harshly the fans who are actually trying to make music for a living, I guess we will never know. “Plagiarism” and “copying”, we call it, without actually even thinking about what it is they’re doing, or trying to achieve. Those are cruel words, I think. While certainly there are agencies behind a lot of it, saying “dress him like Saga, and then he will be popular and steal Saga’s fanbase.” I think that there is also just as strong a possibility that the member himself is saying I admire and respect Saga-san and his bass playing. And then, whether done consciously or not, he begins to style himself in the same model he so respects.
Fortunately, many people who start out copping someone-else’s style usually (hopefully) come to draw on their own unique style and strength. At the beginning, though, the effort that it can take to move from Point A to Point B can be so great that the person in question may not feel like it’s possible, and as a result, they draw from someone else and use that as their inspiration that drives them to be able to summon the courage it takes to actually put themselves forward. Once they have moved from Point A to Point B, and it becomes time to move to Point C, then, they can actually look at who they have become, and realize that they no longer need to draw directly from the source that initially gave them strength. They are able to find their own strength, their own style, and emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon, stretching out its own wingspan, colored with its own unique patterning.