23 June 2008

Harajuku: Street Couture

Harajuku, the name generally given to the area surrounding Harajuku Train Station, in Tokyo, Japan, is internationally recognised for its extreme youth fashion. Every Sunday sees young men and women indulging in mostly costume pieces of wonderous invention and style. Bursting onto the scene in the Olympic year, 1964, Harajuku fashion encorporates a fusion of Japanese notions of 'cute', 'cool American' and 'British rebellion', thereby blending styles such as Punk, Hip Hop, Hello Kitty, Disney, Lolita, Gothic, Cosplay and other equally fascinating fashion 'sub cultures'. The most striking stylistic movement, and the one that intrigues me greatly, is the Visual Kei. Visual Kei sees ultra dramatic make up paired with artistically sculpted hairstyles and almost androgynous styles. The elaborate and beautifully crafted costumes are one of a kind and often one can not help but be in awe of the creativity and detail.

The Harajuku area is quite literally a crossroad for Tokyo youth fashion, with the two main shopping streets of Omotesando and Takeshita Street. Whereas Takeshita Street caters to an undeniably youth based clientele, with many shops catering to various sub cultures and the street being populated with a number of fast food restaurants, Omotesando stands in sharp contrast. Omotesando has everything classic from Chanel to Prada, yet still aware of its youth market, high end trendy stores such as Nigo's highly sought after A Bathing Ape are also to be found.

For me Harajuku fashion is somewhat of a Sub Cultural Street Couture - taking elements from various styles and creating a piece of art, fully thought out and realised with hair, make up, clothing and accessories. Although I personally would not wear much of it, I like to think of much of it as an inspiration - a small piece or detail can inspire an everyday outfit. I find it refreshing and wonderful to see that places such as Harajuku exist, a place where fashion is free from restraints and people can be truly artisitc in their ideas. The closest I may ever get to such extreme and beautiful styles is probably the t-shirt I'm wearing today -

Currently playing: Teardrops - Massive Attack / We Made It ft. Linkin Park - Busta Rhymes



  1. Great post. One of the things that is awesome about Harajuku is how many subgroups there are within it and all the varieties of Japanese streetwear that do exist. It's also awesome how all-out the teens will go, none of this slightly wild looks, but every thing imaginable without hesitation. I got to see firsthand in Japan too. ^_-

  2. I ADORE Harajuku - especially in the Japanese street wear books, FRUiTS. Such inspiration for color and originality. I must get to Japan - asap.

    I tagged you, bb! xo

  3. I'm afraid I've tagged you to reveal your seven spring songs

  4. I love love love this post!

  5. ilove ur blog! :) it has alot of details...
    nicely put about the harajuku culture, japanese, at some way, are really intriguing.. :)

  6. Great post!!! I love your blog too .. definitely adding it to my daily hits! Your 'all about Harajuku' post was pretty perfect. But it's not just Harajuku .. all the places in Japan I have been is free from fashion restraint!! That's why I love it here. People can express themselves however and I have never seen anyone criticized or made of fun! Everyone oooh's and awww's .. and all you hear all day long is '..aahh cho kawaii'. haha.

    p.s. oh yeah and last year they rebuilt the BAPE store. It's way cooler/futuristic modern and alot harder to find if you don't know where it's at! The last time I went about 14 people asked me where it was when they saw my BAPE shopping bag. ahha.

  7. Harajuku is quite intersting, in that is bitterly dissapointing to go there!

    The pictures make it look lovely, but when you go there, you realise all the clothes are really poorly made out of really tacky fabrics. I thought it would be old- fashion charming clothes, but they were kind of like Barbie clothes-cheap and mass produced out of plastic fabrics. I found it ironic also that the subcultures are based around 'originality' but there pretty much 3 different subcultures that are completely static and within them, there is nothing but same-ness. They're all just carbon copies of each other. And the shop in Harajuku all sell the same stuff. It's really dissapoinitng!

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