Introduction

Harajuku

The best fashion styles in the world always make a bold statement. This statement is a clear message of one’s identity and a representation of their culture. Harajuku is no exception to this general rule.

Harajuku fashion stands distinct from all other types of fashions since it mirrors a powerful movement that rejects strict societal regulations and obligations. In this way, Harajuku fashion rejects the pressure endured just to fit in. While many fashion trends and cultures are subjected to the limitations of specific time periods or other restrictions, Harajuku fashion has proven that it is here to stay till the very end.

Aren’t such vibrant and unique fashions intriguing? Are you curious to know how it came into existence? Do you know anything about its striking features and characteristics? Or are you simply looking for inspiration to adopt Harajuku fashion style?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you definitely came to the right place. If not, we will participate in a friendly wager to convince you otherwise. Let’s begin!

A Brief History

Contrary to the popular belief, the roots of this culture can be traced back to the early 1980s. The common misconception that it came into existence much later is only because it gained fame in the west around twenty years later. Today, with the rise of cosplays and comic cons, Harajuku fashion on Japanese streets is gaining more popularity today than it ever has.

This fashion style is actually named after the Harajuku Station located in Tokyo. Harajuku is situated between Shinjuku and Shibuya and is known for its lively environment and artistic sense. The fashion is quite prominently used here so as to allow people to express themselves to their heart’s content. Hence, this fashion has streaks of geographical influences and inspirations embedded in it.

Transformation Shaped by the Japanese Youth

This fashion actually began with the local Japanese youth taking to the streets with distinct, colorful and vibrant clothes. Later, this gave way to the merging of western clothing with the traditional Japanese wardrobe. It was a message from the youngsters that they were ready for a change. It was time to put their own mark on the fashion industry by dressing however they liked.

Pedestrian Paradise

The Japanese phrase “hokousha tengoku” translates to pedestrian paradise. Harajuku fashion is extremely famous in this regard as pedestrians use this fashion style to mingle and use the unorthodox way to challenge the conservative parts of society.

Harajuku fashion also gives the message that diversity begins at a local level. With Japanese streets crowded with people following different subsets of Harajuku fashion, this style offers freedom unlike any other fashion sense.

fashion sense

The Representatives of the Harajuku Fashion

Quite simply, the fashion is an option for anyone who is truly interested in the liberty it offers. It is for you if you can’t wait to revive your inner child and dress up to represent how you truly feel.

However, if you are the sort of person who likes to stick to the rules and prefers the traditionally conservative styles, Harajuku may not be the perfect option for you.

Harajuku Fashion

Features of Harajuku Fashion

The Harajuku fashion style is a mix of all the renowned fashion styles of Japan. It is an infusion of the old and the new. A few of the sub-styles that are mixed to form the Harajuku fashion have been mentioned below:

  • Gothic Lolita
  • Punk rock
  • Sweet Lolita
  • Gyaru kei
  • Fairy kei
  • Decora
  • Traditional kimonos
  • Wooden sandals

It should be noted that a lot of categories other than the ones listed here exist, and these categories also have further sub-categories that are open to exploration. Hence, this fashion is vast and diverse in every sense.

Accessories

Harajuku fashion on the Japanese streets is the one style that does not care about sophistication and glam. That sounds outrageous, right? But who cares? If you want to wear that plastic flower clip usually worn by a seven-year-old, no one should stop you. A few other common accessories include:

  • Wild hair accessories and colors including neon hair
  • Backpacks worn by children
  • Eye lens to give any color to your eyes according to your preference

Customized Harajuku Looks

Many people who are into the Harajuku fashion style opt to make their own look. How do they do it? It is quite simple actually. They choose whatever they like and then mix it all up. Since the Harajuku style promotes the notion that more is better, people may choose to layer clothes as well. Creativity and imagination are the ingredients, so the sky is the limit!

The section below will now cover some of the most famous Harajuku styles in detail.

Visual Kei

Visual Kei

This style is commonly referred to as “V-Kei” in Japanese streets. Inspired by artists like David Bowie, this style includes features of heavy metal, rock, and punk music. “Emo” hair is common with this style.

Other physical factors include piercings and dark makeup. Multiple piercings across the face (such as on the eyelid, nose, lips, and tongue) are common. As far as makeup is concerned, it is not unusual to see people wearing heavy eyeliners, metallic eye colors and dark lipsticks.

When it comes to clothing, people go for ripped jeans, boots, and black leather jackets. The color scheme used in this fashion is usually dark, going from dark blues and blacks to purples, browns and grays.

Gyaru Kei

Gyaru Kei

“Gyaru” comes from the English word “gal.” Like the name suggests, this Harajuku style encompasses the essence of a wild and expressive teenage rebel standing up against the traditional image that girls are forced to adopt.

People going for this fashion style rely primarily on factors like fun and party. They opt for fake lashes and nails as major features that make up their appearance. Other features include bleached hair and stickers as decorations for the face.

As far as clothing is concerned, this style encourages people to go for stuff they truly enjoy. For this reason, they may opt for designs like the super casual Hawaiian shirt. Tie dyes, animal prints and other dramatic clothing are common under this category of Harajuku fashion commonly seen on the streets of Japan.

Lolita Kei

Inspired by the Victorian era, Lolita stylists are usually seen with corsets and wigs. Their skirts allow them to be distinguished from followers of other Harajuku styles. Tutus, knee-length skirts and stockings fall under this domain as well.

The inspiration from the Victorian era may lead followers of this style to wear gowns and long skirts on the streets. Many may choose to attach a modern sense to it by changing their hair or attaching a modern accessory to it.

Fairy Kei

Fairy Kei

Pastel colors define this Harajuku fashion style. Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony are common subjects of conversation among people following this pretty style. It is common for followers of this style to dye their hair to pastel colors or wear similarly colored wigs. If you see someone following this Harajuku style on Japanese streets, you will not be surprised to find them boasting the same color tone from head to toe.

Many people may choose to exaggerate their wardrobe by going for wings and adding one pastel layer over the other. This style not only represents peace but also promotes child-like innocence and being true to who you are.

Conclusion

The Harajuku fashion style can be considered to be among the world’s most eccentric yet fun trends that allow you to express yourself in creative ways.

Taken up by the people roaming the streets of Japan, this fashion style is a journey of self-love, self-appreciation and self-exploration. In other words, it encourages people to be who they truly are. It further equips them with the courage needed to break society’s conservative norms. When you follow the Harajuku fashion style, you are promoting the notion that there should be no pressure to fit into a specific category.

While reading this, you may think that this culture is simply “weird” or puts the people following it in an awkward position. The truth, however, is that this fashion trend has freed people. We all wait for the comic con and cosplay seasons to unleash our creativity; imagine living in a place where every day is lived with the same expectations. This style has transformed the community into a vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic society.

Harajuku fashion has solidified its place in the fashion world. It has proven that unlike the weak fashion trends that fade with time, Harajuku is a lifestyle which is here to stay for all times to come.