Harajuku (原宿)isa neighborhood in the Shibuya district of Tokyoand a type of Japanese fashion called “Harajuku Fashion”, a Japanese Clothing stylecreated from the desire of theyouthof this district to free themselves from thevery strictdress codes of traditional Japanese culture.
In the Land of the Rising Sun, a rather peculiar clothing trend emerged during the 1980s in a popular district of Tokyo. Called Harajuku Fashion, in memory of the district of Tokyo where it appeared, this fashion managed to makeits appearancein the Western countries in the 2000s.
Let’s take a look at the main variations of this casual style that can be found nowadays in Harajuku, but also in other districts of Tokyo such as Aoyama, Ginza, Odaiba, Shinjuku and Shibuya. #intro
What does Harajuku mean?
The wordHarajuku(原宿)derivates from two Kanjis;原 (Yuán) meaning original and 宿(Yado)which refers to “a place in which someone lives or stays temporarily”.
During World War II, US army came and established their camp in the place that is known today as Harajuku district. Lots of barrack lots were built there at that time to accommodate the soldiers andnew shops were also created for military families. An artificial little city was then created inside Tokyo that was supposed to last only a few time.
Today, the combination of these two terms explains clearly what Harajuku represents in Tokyo, a safe place where Japanese people can escape the stressful lifestyle intheir city to express their originality and differences for a short period of time, without suffering from the judgement eyes of others.
Types of HarajukuStyle
To create the first glances of what is today called “Harajuku Style“, the young people of this neighborhood began by associating traditional Japanese fashion with Western clothing and accessories.
Proud of their originality, these young Japaneseboys and girlsstarted to show offtheir new embraced apparencesin the streets of their neighborhood, with their unique and colorful cuts of Harajuku clothing.
The message conveyed by the Harajuku style was a desire for independence from the social pressure imposed by elders to conform to the rules of Japanese tradition.
But today, Harajuku fashion has become much more diversified. It is now declined in many sub-trends which appear all over the place, even if the essence of the Harajuku style of the origins remains present.
Japanese Lolita fashion, which itself includes many variations, has become one of the most important characteristics of Japanese streetfashion and its popularity has quickly spread beyond the Japanese culture to other countries around the world.
Thought for women at first, this fashion style has several distinctive signs. Girls dressed in Lolita Fashion styleusually wear skirts or dresses at mid-height or longer with underneath big petticoats, to give volume from the hips. The long or short sleeved blouses they wear are often decorated with lace, frilly or ruffled to imitate rococo or Victorian fashion.
Another distinctive sign of the Japanese Lolita style is the wearing of stockings or socks that are fairly long and embellished with lace. As for shoes, Lolita fans usually opt for Mary Janes or boots.
Unlike other modern styles such as streetwear, Lolita Style Clothingis inspired by the French Victorian period, although other trends have blended together to create different Lolita styles today that we will document below:
Gothic Lolita Fashion
As its name suggests, Gothic Lolita Fashion isa variation of the Lolita style strongly inspired by Victorian Gothic culture. Taking up many dress codes from this universe, the Gothic Lolita style is distinguished by dark tones and the use of fashion accessories decorated with atypical designs.
It is not uncommon to find representations of skulls, skeletons, bats, spiders and other popular Gothic symbols printed or embroidered on Gothic Lolita Clothing, such as the main characters in the films directed by Tim Burton.
Other symbols such as iron doors and Victorian-era architectural motifs can frequently be found printed on aGothic Lolita Outfit. Finally, to complete their “costume”, fans of this style use accessories such as caps, rectangular hats and brooches.
The Sweet LolitaFashion comes from the unlikely marriage between the very popular Kawaii culture of Japan and the children’s fashion of the Victorian period. Children’s style, which is omnipresent in the outfits and accessories, is materialized by patterns inspired by baby animals and fairy tales.
Thegoal is to embrace this universeis to imitate through clothing the innocence and candor of children by using representations of their own universe.
The frequent use of pastel colors in the choice of outfitsenhances this effect, even if sometimes, darker shades are present in certain dresses or skirts of people dressedwith a sweet Lolita outfit.
As far as accessories are concerned, cat ears, big bow ties in the hair, pretty colorful handbags and small stuffed animals are the must have of the casual Sweet Lolita style.
Classic Lolita Fashion
Classic Lolita Fashion is the variant of the Lolita style that comes the closest to the ways of dressing of the Victorian and Rococo periods. Because of this return to more classical times, fantasy is a little less of a factor in the choice of colors.
Adopting this sub-style makes you look more mature. Floral prints and plain tones are frequently used, although it is not uncommon to find more complex prints in classic Lolita garments to make it look more casual or sweet. Sober accessories such as small ribbons, caps, rectangular hairstyles as well as hair corsets complete the clothing of a classic Lolita Style.
Punk Lolita Fashion
Still very rare today,Punk LolitaStyle is an experimental sub-style, which as its name suggests, mixes the punk universe with the Lolita look. This variant is rather difficult to characterize, because it sometimes seems to borrow the codes of deconstructivist fashion or to fall into eccentricity. Nevertheless, the Lolita punk look is largely inspired by the goth fashion.
Male Lolita Fashion – Kodona
Male version of the Lolitastyle, Kodona Fashion, also called “boy style” or “ouji”, is a variant of Harajuku fashion quite popular in Japan. Inspired by the Victorian men’s fashion, this style brings backsome interesting pieces of clothing thatalmost disappeared today such as the “prince’s pants”.
Prince Pants are shortbottoms of capri shape, which stop at knee height, and most often tastefully decorated (sometimes with lace on the ends).
They are usually accompanied by men’s blouses, top hats, long socks (which can go up to the knees) and many other clothes and accessories from the same period (straps, knobbed canes, gusset watches, etc.).
To take the refinement of a Kodona Lolita look one step further, we can add a period aristocratic jacket.
Another women’s Japanese fashion style derived from the Harajuku style, Gyaru Fashion,no to beconfusedwith the Ganguro look, which is one of its derivates, is a form of Japanese streetwear that emerged in the 1970s.
Very influenced by western fashion, Gyaru style strongly values girly-glam in women’s clothing. Beauty tricks such as wigs, false eyelashes, false nails, and others constitute the essential codes of this style.
Ganguro Fashion is a variant of Harajuku style that gained notoriety among young Japanese women from the 1990s, reaching its peak in the early 2000s. In reality, Ganguro style takes up and accentuates the dress codes of Gyaru fashion explained in the last chapter.
Globally, this style is a real festival of bright colors in the choice of clothes, whether it is mini-skirts, tie-dyed sarongs, T-shirts, short dresses, sweaters or others.A GanguroGirlis recognizable byits bleached hair, intense tan, false eyelashes, black and white eyeliner, etc.Shemost often uses bracelets, rings, necklaces and wear platform shoes as accessories.
For many people, Namie Amuro is the celebrity who first popularized Ganguro style. It is indeed by watching her media releases during which she appeared tanned with bleached hair, that many young Japanese girls triedto look just like her for the first time.
Of course, because Japanese Fashion don’t have any limit, more extreme forms of this style then appearedsuch as Yamanba Fashionwhich isalso calledManba Fashion.
Mostly worn by Japanese girls,Kogal Fashion(also called Kogyaru) is inspired by the high school uniform of young Japanese girls, but sexier. Indeed, the young girls who adopt this look generally have an outfitthat looks closeto the universal Japanese school uniform, but with a shortened skirt and longer socks.
The hair is generally dyed and decorated with a scarf. A typical outfit for a Kogyaruoutfit can include a blazer or blouse for cold weather.Mostly popularin the 90s, the Kogal style now has fewer and fewer adepts.
BōsōzokuFashionis no longer part of the clothing trends of today’s young Japanese generation, but was very widespread in the 1990s. Although it has almost disappeared from the urban landscape,
Bōsōzoku style clothing continues to be present in many Japanese artistic productions such as anime, manga and cinema. We can quote for example the amazing manga ofTooru Fujisawa, GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka).
Tokko-fuku worn by Yazawa Eikichi
A Bōsōzoku uniform is characterized by an outfit including a Japanese biker-like suit or a tokko-fuku (特攻), and a military overcoat with kanji inscriptions. Bōsōzoku boysoften wore the overcoats open, with nothing else underneath to cover their bandaged bust with matching baggy style pants and stuffed in large boots.
First appearedin the late 1990s,Decora Fashion spread widely in Japan and abroad. One of Japan’s pop idols, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, managed to make a name for himself in the world of Harajuku fashion, and has greatly contributed to spreading the DecoraClothingStyle even before he entered the world of music.
This Harajuku sub-style uses precise color coding to distinguish Decora looks from each other. Depending on the predominant color of the clothes, we will talk about Pink Decora for pink, Red Decora for red, Dark Decora for dark tones, Rainbow Decora for a mix of colors, etc.
Typical outfits ofDecora KeyFashionare composed of a plain color shirt and a hooded sweatshirt combined with a short tutu mini-skirt. The makeup is usually quite harmonious to match with the top. On the hair side, girlswearingDecoraclotheslook generally prefer a low ponytail, topped with a long fringe.
This last part, the most representative part of the Decora fashion, must be overloaded with lots of cute little objects. The desired effect is that the fringe as well as the front hairmust be considerably concealed by these small objects.
In addition, accessories such as leggings, socks, armbands and knee socks should also be layered one on top of the other inaDecora outfit. The most common patterns on these accessories are leopard prints and dental masks decorated with designs. DecoraFashion is less popular today, but is still very popular around the world.
Visual Kei Fashion
Japanese VisualKei Fashion is a sub-trend of the Harajuku style that emerged in the mid-1980s, thanks to Japanese musical groups.
The elements that distinguish Visual KeiStyle are impressive make-up, unusual hairstyles and eccentric and dazzling clothes. Possessing some similarities with glam rock and glam metal, the Visual KeiClothing promotes androgyny.
Over the years, a few variations of Visual Kei have managed to establish themselves as clothing styles in their own right: Oshare kei, Angura kei, Cult party kei, Dolly Kei and Fairy kei.
Oshare Kei Fashion
Oshare Kei Fashion is the declination of the Visual Kei from our previous chapter, and a variantconsider to be the most advanced of its time. In reality, it is an original look resulting from a mix between different patterns, bright colors and punk fashion.
Oshare Kei Stylediffers from the Visual Kei style, by a makeup a little more attenuated which puts much more emphasis on the eyes. People with this look often have facial piercings.
Like the Visual Kei, the Oshare Kei Clothing style is largely inspired by boy bands such as Aicle, An Cafe, Delacroix, Ichigo69, LM.C, Lolita23q, SuG, and Panic Channel.
Angura Kei Fashion
Wanting to get as close as possible to today’s GothicFashion, Angura Kei Fashion wins the prize for the darkest Visual Kei sub-style.
The must-have of the Angura KeiStyle are predominantly black outfits, with spikes and chains to add to the intimidating side. Dark and heavy makeup reinforces this impression.
Like Visual Kei and Oshare Kei, Angura Kei is both a clothing style and a musical genre. The most popular artists in this register are Guniw Tools, MUCC, Metronome, Floppy, and Nookicky.
Dolly Key Fashionis based on the Japanese perception of the medieval period, but also on the tales and legends of Europe.
Particularly inspired by the fairy tales compiled by the Grimm brothers or those written by Hans Christian Andersen, the DollyKey style incorporates a lot of vintage clothing and occasionally religious emblems and symbols. The store called “Grimoire” is an emblematic place in Japanto findDollyKeioutfits. This store has even been described as a “pioneer store of Dolly Kei fashion”.
Cult Party Kei Fashion
It is directly from the Harajuku Cult Party store (the current Virgin Mary), that the name of Cult Party Kei Fashion comes from.
The Cult party Kei Style is a rather new clothing style that uses objects borrowed from Christianity such as crosses or the Bible. Many people think that this style is a variation of the Dolly Kei.
Characteristic features of Cult party Kei Clothing include crosses made of wire, clothing with layers of light colored fabric, heavy use of cream lace, satin knots, and Christian patterned prints.
Compared to other looks derived from Visual Kei, the makeup and hairstyle of this style are less extravagant. In fact, light makeup that doesn’t emphasize the eyes and simple hairstyles adorned with roses are enough to achieve a successful Cult Party Kei outfit.
Fairy Kei Fashion
Fairy KeiFashion is a style characterized by its childish look, strongly influenced by the fashion of the 1980s.
The expression “Fairy-Kei” comes from Zipper magazine, although some believe it was Sayuri Tabuchi, owner of the fashion retailer Tokyo Spank, who invented it.
Fairy Kei Style characteristicclothes look is composed of pastel tones such as lavender, baby blue, light pink, mint green, light yellow, etc.
The printed fabrics feature all kinds of childhood motifs such as angels, cute little designs and designs related to toys popular in the West between 1980 and the early 1990s. They include designs by Barbie, Care Bears, Strawberry, Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Popples, Lady Lovely Locks, Polly Pocket, Wuzzles and My Little Pony.
When it comes to hairstyling,Fairy Kei outfitsare often distinguished by bleached hair in a pastel color even though leaving your hair natural is also very common. Hairstyles are simple and adorned with cute or pastel things with a scourge accessory: knots.
Mori Kei Fashion
The term Moriderivates from the Kanji森 which means forest in Japanese.SoMori Kei Fashiontakes its authenticity byexploiting the theme of nature through soft and comfortable pieces of clothingsuch as floating dresses and cardigans.
Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and wool are used with colors that are often pale and neutral, even if we can find floral designs or gingham patterns. The most used accessories in the Mori Kei Style are handmade or vintage, but always related to nature.
For a truehairstyle that fits this style,a Mori Keioutfitisaccompanied by popularized bangs (often curly) and braids. It’s a look comparable to the Dolly Kei, since women who adopt it should look like dolls, but more casual and simple.
Last but not least,HarajukuFashion also has a variant inspired by Japanese traditional Fashion. True cultural identity recognized worldwide for its beauty and elegance, the kimono continues to be worn in the streets in Japan, especially in Ginza.
Moreover, the solemn character of this garment has been preserved. Even today,Kimono Fashionstill is the most popularchoice during important moments such as graduation ceremonies, weddings, and more.
Young Japanese people mix tradition and modernity by wearing Japanese kimono with fashionable accessories and shoes. This sometimes results in young people in matching kimonos with designer bags instead of the usual basket, wearing sneakers or high heels instead of clogs and many other originalities.
What is a Harajuku girl?
A Harajuku girl is someone that doesn’t fit in the fade and boring lifestyle that Japanese culture imposes on all its inhabitants. Someone who has kept her childlike souland wishes to express all her originality and the person she really isinsideof her heart, in all honesty, in all transparency, in the eyes of all, at least for a few minutes.
Harajuku style is a mix of all the well-known Japanese sub-styles, for example Sweet lolita, Gothic lolita, Visual kei, Cosplay, Decora, Gyaru, cutesy fairy kei and punk rock clothing . Traditional Japanese garments like kimonos and wooden sandals have been infused into the style since the beginning.
Harajuku refers to the area between Sendagaya and Jingumae-machi, and is situated between the Shinjuku and Shibuya wards in metropolitan Tokyo. Harajuku is most known for its eccentric street fashion culture, hence the term Harajuku fashion.
Harajuku. Harajuku (原宿, listen ) is a district in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Harajuku is the common name given to a geographic area spreading from Harajuku Station to Omotesando, corresponding on official maps of Shibuya ward as Jingūmae 1 chōme to 4 chōme.
Despite the widespread nature of Western clothing in Japan, Japanese fashion is still influenced by traditional clothing, with people still wearing the kimono in daily life, though most people wear it only for weddings, graduations and other formal occasions.
People all around the world come to Tokyo just to experience the Harajuku vibe. While it may not be what you see in publications such as FRUiTS, it is the modern day Harajuku, still oozing with energy and bustling with new fashion tribes. It is still the spot where fashion trends are born and made.
Traditionally, layers, ruffles, and accessories help make Harajuku fashion stand out. There are also large followings around certain looks that are most popular in the Harajuku district.
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