Friday, June 22, 2012

Harajuku Lovin’
Just like singer and designer Gwen Stefani, I am a lover of Harajuku.  However, I’m not talking about her brand “Harajuku Lovers;” I’m talking about the real deal in Japan – Harajuku Girls.

The Harajuku district of Tokyo – a trendy and hip shopping district– is famous for its Japanese youth who wield the latest trends and edgy fashions to cut their individual style and self-expression.

According to Wikipedia, the term “Harajuku Girls” has been used by the English-language media to describe teen-agers dressed in any fashion style that infuses multiple looks and styles to create a unique form of dress.

So it is no surprise that, after her first trip to Tokyo in 1996, Stefani was inspired by the street style chic and absolutely helped to bring Harajuku to the masses.  She even dedicated two albums and her fashion line “L.A.M.B.” to the Harajuku fashion scene. 

In 2005, Stefani launched “Harajuku Lovers” her brand of apparel, fashion accessories, and stationary which is still wildly successful seven years later.  The concept for her brand came from the four “Harajuku Girls” that are Stefani’s back-up dancers and entourage.

Years later, the hype about Harajuku may have waned a bit in the U.S., but I recently found the site which completely got me fired up all over again. 

It helped me to realize that Harajuku is not the only street style popular in Tokyo. 

The Ganguro style represents the American teenager.  The basic look which Westerners would call “California Girl,” with bleached hair, dark skin, fake eyelashes and nails.
Cosplay is a more costumed-based style.  A cosplay enthusiast will usually dress as a fictional or iconic character from a band, game, movie or anime.

Lastly, Ura-Hara is another section of Harajuku, which caters to a mostly male population interested in hip-hop, graffiti, and skater fashion and culture.

According to, it posts – on a monthly basis – high quality pictures of the latest emerging Japanese fashion trends and street clothing worn by young fashionistas who walk the catwalks of the city sidewalks in Tokyo. 

Since I am careful about dressing my age!/2012/06/proud-to-be-friend-of-ricki-lake.html, I just tend to live vicariously through these Japanese trend-setters who use fashion as a symbol – more than style – to represent their individuality. 

Now, that is what I love …and respect …about Harajuku.

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