Very few people in the western world can relate to the exotic street fashion sense of Harajuku, even though it is incredibly famous in certain circles all around the world. Long before popular western brands came into existence, Harajuku fashion has already made a name for itself.
This fashion style has been in existence since the early 1980s but began gaining foothold in the west not too long ago. This exotic mode of dressing initially began with young people hitting the streets, dressed in colorful outfits made from a mixture of Japanese and Western attires.
The message was clear, these individuals don’t care what you think about their dress sense and they will wear what they feel like wearing. In a sense, Harajuku fashion was a movement against the pressure to fit into the status quo.
Nowadays, even though the street fashion style still remain, Harajuku now stand for a lot of different things, such as the chance to stand out and be unique.
Is Harajuku dead?
There have been lots of rumors and counter rumors all over the blogosphere and fashion world that Harajuku as a fashion style is dead. This is a misconception. Like everything else on earth, Harajuku evolves, and people who are spreading the news that Harajuku is dead may be trying to say that the culture is changing or evolving.
While it’s true that several early 90s Harajuku style are going out of fashion, several other sub-cultural styles are coming up to substitute for those declining. Trends, styles and fashion come and go, but as long as at its core it continues to attract people, it remains very much alive and in vogue.
The truth is that modern Harajuku culture spans a number of years and in that time, a number of trends have come and gone. In some cases, icons passed away or well known brands closed shop but despite all these changes, there’s always a group of people willing to pick up the gauntlet, start a new trend and attract the attention of old and new fans.
Who can wear it?
Harajuku is popular with both males and females, but female Harajuku fashionistas tend to receive more recognition from popular media such as magazines, blogs and fashion designers. Many of the more popular Japanese fashion cultures have been traditionally centered on females. From fairy kei, décora, Lolita, dolly kei to mori and gyaru. However, in recent times, a new culture has appeared on the scene with the intention of doing away with years of gender stereotypes. This fashion style is what is known as Harajuku.
Anyone with a sense of style and fun can wear Harajuku; and individuals with conservative dress sense may not find it easy to adapt. However, if there’s a part of you that love fun stuffs, playing dress up and generally having fun with your attire, then you’ll surely enjoy Harajuku, as it gives adults the opportunity to dress as teenagers and have fun while at it.
How to wear it
Those who are familiar with Harajuku fashion style will realize that it’s a combination of virtually all the known Japanese fashion sub-styles. For example, there’s always something to do with Sweet Lolita, Decora, Fairy Kei, punk rock and a whole mixture of other sub cultures found in a complete Harajuku ensemble. Even long lived traditional Japanese wears like kimono and geta (wooden sandals) can be found in the mix.
As long as you have a couple of Japanese attires, you can combine them with your original western wears to get the exotic Japanese street fashion look. Vintage or retro clothes are also a great idea to mix in to your look. The idea is to pick what attracts you and mix it all up. The idea behind Harajuku is that the more clothes you layer up, the better it is.
The right Harajuku accessories
If your plan is to accessorize Harajuku with tasteful jewelries, then you may need to reconsider. Harajuku is best worn with little bits of odds and ends as accessories, such as plastic jewelry, old school earrings and bangles, nerdy glasses and really colorful carry- on.
For instance, if you still have that really colorful and outrageous backpack from when you were a kid, it would perfectly complement your Harajuku dressing. You can even borrow one of your grandmas’ corny handbags. To kill it completely, you can pick up any one of the colorful and exotic collections from Harajuku Fever to complement your Harajuku dress.
When it comes to the hair, nothing does it better than a crazy hairdo, Goth styles or really colorful hair. There’s neither a limit nor a trend to work with. The idea is to do something that makes you stand out. Contact lens and tattoo are also a part of the Harajuku culture; this is why it is said to be a blend of modern and vintage.
The bottom line is that although it may look like it, Harajuku has no guidelines. Anyone can wear whatever they feel comfortable in that makes them stand out. You don’t have to bother if your clothes are a match or not. If you like what you are wearing and you’re comfortable in it, then it’s good enough for everyone else.
Most people consider Harajuku to be a teenage thing. Truth is, there’s no age limit to who can dress Harajuku style. Everyone from kids, to teenagers, adults and grandmas can enjoy the freedom associated with dressing your own way. You can dress one way today, and choose to dress another way tomorrow. You should not be restrained by the dictates of what the society assumes to be normal. At the end of the day, it is all about the freedom to express yourself.
A lot of people may find Harajuku style weird or childish, others will find it very attractive, but the type of people you meet should not deter you from making the statement you want to make with your fashion style.
There’ll always be people excited about trying on new things, which means there’ll always be people willing and ready to embrace the fun and freedom in Harajuku.