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The Manga Shelf of a Fashionista

Lottie Spurgin

I’ve been on kind of a manga kick lately, and it’s sort of all I’m reading! The two most driving parts of my life are reading books and looking FABULOUS! An affinity for style, fashion, and all things stereotypically girly extends all the way to what I read. And if you’re into those kinds of vibes, here are some excellent picks that work great for two upcoming 2024 Reading Challenge prompts! Whether you’re tackling the April challenge of “Found In Translation”, the May challenge of “Fashion Focus”, OR just looking for some straight-up glam reads, we’ve got you. Just a heads up: these books are all 18+, BUT I’ve listed them from lightest to darkest!


Princess Jellyfish book cover

Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura

My current read while writing this, Princess Jellyfish is one of my all time favorite manga. It follows Tsukimi, an anti-social fujoshi obsessed with jellyfish and terrified of men, stylish people, and every imaginable social situation. Plagued with anxiety and still grappling with unresolved trauma from the sudden death of her mother, she spends all her time drawing jellyfish and watching them in aquariums. She has a sudden meet-cute with a super stylish girl, when Kuranosuke helps her rescue a jellyfish that isn’t being treated properly in captivity. Kuranosuke is pushy and clingy, and despite the closed off nature of Tsukimi’s home, an apartment COMPLETELY populated by NEETs, Kuranosuke invades all of their space and spends the night. It’s when she wakes up the next morning that Tsukimi discovers… Not only is she stylish, she’s a BOY! The manga is a hilarious and heartfelt slice of life, with lots of fashion and very little gender roles.


Paradise Kiss book cover

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa

Paradise kiss is a very realistic, almost gritty manga all while being about fashion, models, and the runway. A painfully average and painfully burnt-out highschool student, Yukari, is suddenly scouted by a group of fashion students to model for them. She develops friendships with the designers, and ends up in a toxic relationship with one named George. Paradise Kiss has a mature, striking story with fantastic character development and writing. The characters feel like you can genuinely reach through the page and sit them down for coffee. It’s a complex, painfully beautifully written story about unhealthy relationships- all while having stunning character designs, and really, REALLY good fashion.


Heler Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly book cover

Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly by Kyoko Okazaki

This book borders on body horror, and is definitely somewhere in the psycho-thriller genre. The story follows Liliko, an A-list model in Japan. Everyone who knows anything about the country’s biggest brands has seen her face plastered on billboards, representing the entire fashion industry. Unfortunately, beauty is temporary– and as she ages, Liliko loses her edge on the industry and falls victim to the never ending cycle of  newer, younge, hotter models gaining traction. In desperate attempts to remain relevant, she goes under the knife and can’t seem to stop. Fashion Unfriendly is an admittedly hard to watch commentary on the beauty industry, as you witness a beautiful woman ripping her body apart for relevancy.



Tomie book cover Tomie by Junji Ito

My favorite Junji Ito tale, Tomie, isn’t necessarily fashion-centric–but it is beautiful and horrifying femme-fatale centric, so it belongs on my fashionista manga shelf. The standalone novel follows Tomie, a breathtakingly gorgeous woman with sleek black hair and a signature beauty mark. It seems every single man who meets her falls head over heels in love with her, and in that fog of love, is driven to murder. Not just murdering anybody though, murdering her. Somehow, after every brutal death, Tomie just keeps coming back. She’s like an eldritch horror, a succubus, multiplying through seduction and violent passion. When a man chops her into small pieces, each one of those pieces grows a new Tomie. She torments her victims by surviving after their crime, driving them insane simply by continuing to exist. Over the course of the book, we meet one lover of hers who wants her completely to himself- and another who becomes mortified of her. It’s one of the most famous horror stories for a reason, and it’s a flat out must read.


Hope you enjoyed a look into this fashionista’s manga shelf. Look cute, read manga, shop small!

XOXO, Lottie