Japanese Fashion Street 2017? – 15 things to know

It’s been more than a year since our Japanese Street Fashion 2016 article. Because of the speed with which trends, brands, stores and people from the Japanese fashion scene come and go, an update is expected .

Harajuku? – the unique district of youth culture in Tokyo? – retains its long-standing title as the center of the Japanese fashion scene in 2017. There are many other trendy neighborhoods in Tokyo and Osaka, but Harajuku remains the main indicator of general health and of the fashion orientation of the Japanese street. Trends, brands, personalities and businesses are perceived here first? – then spread out.

Our overall impression of the Harajuku fashion scene in 2017 is that it is significantly stronger than in 2016.

Harajuku welcomes each spring a new “generation” of children? At the moment the Japanese school year begins in April. Most of these new Harajuku children ages 16 to 20 are students (who often visit a school of fashion, design or beauty) and experience the freedom of early adulthood. Some of them are high school students who have reached an age when their parents feel comfortable on their own, and another group left Tokyo for work, school or other reasons. ,

When a new generation of Harajuku arrives, the previous one diverges. Those who leave a college or business school decide that it is time to move to “real life” and get out of the street. The average boy Harajuku does not spend more than four years as an active member of the scene. This cyclical turnover of about 20% of the total population of the scene means that Harajuku’s personality can change radically from one year to the next.

Judging by the young people we have met on the street so far, the 2017 Harajuku class is full of creative and passionate young fashion friends. This year’s group of kids seems to be more experimental and enthusiastic about street fashion than we’ve seen in recent years. This is good news for the near future of Harajuku. We have not seen new stars like Hirari Ikeda, Juria, Kyary, Peco or Yutaro. That is, it is too early to predict what could happen if this new group of children develops its own place in the scene.

Last year, Japanese fashion continued to have influence in Asia and around the world. The current Louis Vuitton collection Kansai Yamamoto, Marc Jacobs’s controversial Harajuku inspired the fashion show, Rihanna from Harajuku influenced the Fenty collection with Puma and the stunning Comme Des Garcons exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Established Japanese designers are raging around the world as the next generation of Japanese fashion arrives in Harajuku with a lot of anticipation. Let’s take a look at the themes, trends, personalities, brands and shops that can shape their future – and ours.

Here are fifteen things we consider important to understand the state of Japanese fashion in 2017.

A selection of Harajuku Street Snaps that we shot in 2017.
1. Harajuku is not dead no matter what you read
Japanese street fashion has changed international news a little this year, but not always for a good reason. From CNN and I-D magazines to a very shared Quartz article on various inappropriate blog posts, the English-language Internet was happy to report that Harajuku was “dead.” It is a cliché at this stage to dismiss stories as “false news”, but modern media report shocking and heartbreaking titles to get more clicks. “Harajuku is dead!” Sells a lot better than the more specific “Harajuku is changed”.

The reality of the same “Harajuku is Dead” is simply the following: many Harajuku subcultures of the 90s are in decline.

Some of the well-known Harajuku subcultures that formed in the mid-1990s – especially those that are clearly visible, which the foreign media calls the “kawaii” Japanese style – are finally in fashion. Children with these specific styles are increasingly rare on the street. Even the Harajuku fashion brands and boutiques, which developed around these declining subcultures, have unfortunately closed down.

So, it may be true to say that “Decora”, “Visual Kei”, “Gothic Lolita” or “Fairy Kei” are in decline, but the CNN or the average vice-reader will have no idea what you’re talking about . Deputy “Harajuku” for the name of a relatively obscure subculture and the number of clicks of the titles increases exponentially.

There are legitimate challenges for Harajuku, as outlined in our 2016 article. These complex issues are ignored by most bloggers, who prefer to equate the lack of teenage girls with colorful hair clips to the imminent death of fashion. Japanese street in general.

One of the essential elements of Harajuku in particular (and of Japanese fashion in general) is its constant evolution. Trends come and go at breakneck speed. New ideas are experienced and rejected, often before they can be properly named or documented. The speed of fashion in Japan makes them different from the rest of the world. No one here is waiting for a trend that lasts forever. Yet, we can expect the fashion subcultures of the 90s – as cultivated and loved as they are – to remain forever.

Harajuku is not a specific style or look? – It’s a special area of ​​creativity. Many iconic fashion subcultures originated in Harajuku, but none of these styles define them. Harajuku is a neighborhood where people – many of whom are future Japanese creative leaders? – come to experience fashion without being (widely) judged or discouraged; where they are rather encouraged to test original aesthetic concepts and theories to get immediate feedback from peers and strangers. Harajuku is basically an open-air laboratory for new visual ideas. As long as he continues to attract and encourage young creatives, Harajuku remains very much alive.

FRUITS Magazine

2. FRUiTS Magazine Completes Print Run, Breaking the Hearts of the World
The emergence of most of the “Harajuku is Dead” articles is the fact that FRUITS – the widely responsible publication of the “Harajuku” fame outside of Japan – interrupted the publication of its legendary print magazine earlier this year.

Since 1996, FRUiTS founder Shoichi Aoki has been sharing Harajuku’s colorful and creative street fashion with the world. Available from Tower Records and other international bookstores before the advent of fashion blogs or social media, FRUiTS has inspired a generation of influential designers and creative designers around the world.

When Aoki announced that FRUITS had printed his latest issue, many tears have been shed. FRUITS was more than a document of Harajuku culture – it had become a popular part of culture. Many interiors and fashion exteriors could not imagine Harajuku without FRUITS.

Like everyone else, we were very sad that FRUITS stopped publishing. But in reality, print magazines around the world are dying. FRUITS never had a strong digital presence? – And if they asked people to pay to see images on a website, 2017 is not a popular business model. Social media gives everyone free access to an unlimited number of Harajuku street photos in real time every day.

In several interviews after the announcement, Aoki said he would not find as many children as he wanted to take pictures in the streets of Harajuku as in the past. This quote (sometimes incorrectly translated as “there are no more cool children in Harajuku”) was used to justify some of the early titles “Harajuku is Dead”.

Another reading of his interviews shows that Aoki’s favorite era of Harajuku fashion dates back to the late 1990s. We also love Harajuku Street Fashion from the ’90s, but that was twenty years ago. Times have changed and Harajuku children too. As mentioned earlier, a clearer message that could be found in these interviews with Aoki might be that some of the 90’s Harajuku styles are in decline.

Aoki himself definitely did not give up on Harajuku. We still see him pulling street clothes several times a week. He plans to continue publishing FRUiTS photo albums and working on other Harajuku projects in the future. He even pitched a winding ball to the opponents and published a new edition of the FRUiTS magazine at the end of June.

Aoki is absolutely right: Harajuku Street Fashion has changed a lot in the last 20 years. If it did not change, it would really be dead.

KERA Magazine

3. KERA Magazine is online only
Harajuku’s subculture leader since 1998, KERA Magazine, also announced the end of its draw in the first quarter of 2017. Unlike FRUiTS, KERA plans to continue as a pure online publication. Nevertheless, the double blow of the best fashion magazines in Harajuku, which simultaneously exerted pressure, hit many people.

FRUITS has published full-page street photos with very little text and almost no advertising, a documentary of the Harajuku scene that makes fashion talk.

In contrast, KERA is a life magazine and guide for a different format and audience. In each issue of KERA, in addition to Street Snaps, you’ll also find detailed updates on the latest subculture trends, make-up and fashion tutorials, brand news and news updates. The magazine’s music and manga are relevant. Several times a year, KERA has also published Gothic & Lolita Bible, the world’s first Lolita fashion subculture guidebook – another title that ends.

FRUiTS magazine has inspired Harajuku children by documenting the most creative and unique personalities of the street fashion scene.

KERA gives detailed instructions on how to achieve the perfect appearance of certain subcultures such as Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Gothic, Rock Style, Visual Kei or Decora. KERA offers a constantly evolving collection of reader models (Dokusha) directly from Harajuku streets. These amateur fashion idols demonstrate the best way to wear your hair and makeup while presenting the right brands for all other Harajuku subcultures.

In general, KERA focuses more on established young subcultures and FRUIT has been more individualized. It was not unusual to regularly see the most extraordinary street children in both magazines. Both magazines congratulated and encouraged and supported the Harajuku Street scene.

KERA magazine did not leave? – It has just switched to an online format. In addition to the new online publication, KERA plans to continue to operate the KERA Shop e-commerce website and KERA’s associated shops.

The new KERA website has just started and it is still too early to say what impact these changes will have on the Harajuku scene. Much of what KERA offers to children across Japan is now on social media, especially on YouTube, where countless young Japanese fashionists – including some old and current KERA models – wear makeup every day. tutorials.

Although the shock of the loss of two beloved print magazines has been worrisome in the short term, it is still unclear what could have a lasting impact on their disappearance on the fashion scene of Harajuku Street.

When the legendary Surfer Magazine closed after 50 years of existence, surf historian Matt Warshaw was asked what impact the magazine’s decline would have on surfing culture. His answer may be revealing to those who are worried about the decline of KERA and FRUITS: “Not at all, not yet, just to confirm what has long been obvious is the end of the print. had a sense in front of the internet – no more, no more. ”

Harajuku cream and milk soda

4. Harajuku cream soda is 50 years old, Harajuku milk is 47 years old
Again, most of the Harajuku is Dead talks in recent months are directly related to the decline of fashion subcultures in the late 1990s (and the magazines they record). But on a large scale, styles like Decora and Fairy Kei? – and of course FRUiTS Magazine and KERA Magazine too? – are the recent history of Harajuku.

The legendary brand Harajuku Cream Soda celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017. Cream Soda was founded in 1967 by Masayuki Yamazaki. While Yamazaki died in 2013, sodas cream? And the famous soldiers of the Pink Dragon shop with their fifties on the rock’n’roll aesthetics market and the proto-punk exterior attitude completely intact.

In 1970, Hitomi Okawa founded Milk? – The Proto-Lolita fashion brand and the now iconic Harajuku Kawaii boutique. Forty-seven years later, Okawa is still the creator of Milk – and the brand and shop remain popular with today’s Harajuku children.

The history of modern Harajuku spans more than half a century. Countless trends have come and gone during this period. Once iconic brands have closed the store. The main designers and personalities are dead. The bright new buildings have replaced garages as a preferred retail space. The magazines jumped in the air and then disappeared. Despite all these changes – or perhaps because of them – Harajuku attracts new generations of Japanese children every year.

Fanatic Magazine Tokyo

5. Fanatic Magazine? – Harajuku Kids Step Up
While FRUiTS and KERA give up the pressure, a group of Harajuku children tried to fill the void with their own print magazine.

Fanatic Magazine is a new print publication created by four students of Tokyo’s famed Bunka Fashion College. These young women are all fans of FRUiTS Magazine and? – How FRUIT? – They want Fanatic to inspire and encourage creative fashion in the streets of Harajuku and throughout Japan.

Released only four times a year, Fanatic does not have the splendor of mature publications such as FRUiTS and KERA. But the fact that these four young Japanese women? – with a lot of support from their friends? – began to publish his own magazine, proving that passion is widespread in the Japanese fashion scene.

You can find more information about Fanatic Magazine in this article.

If you are interested in Harajuku culture, the four Fanatic founders of social networks are worth it: Haruka, Rizna, Fuki and Mei.

Aiba Runa

6. Aiba Runa? – 20-year-old fashion designer, Kawaii Room Decorator and New Harajuku Icon
Aiba Runa is a 20-year-old Japanese icons and fashion designer whose popularity has increased dramatically over the last year. In 2016, she created her own brand RRR By Sugar Spot Factory as part of an incubator program at Vantan (Tokyo Fashion College, where she attended). Recognized for her social media skills (she has nearly 100,000 Instagram followers), her fun personality, and her business savvy, Runa has become one of Harajuku’s emerging stars.

Aiba Runa describes her style with four words – “Colorful”, “Pop”, “Unique” and “Kawaii”. She loves cute vintage toys, vintage fashion and images from the 1960s to the 1990s. Unlike pastels favored by Queen Harajuku Kawaii Queen Peco (and her trademark Peco Club), Runa is generally seen in loose outfits in a range of bold colors. Their brand and style are similar enough to appeal to many Japanese teenagers and pre-teens who have made Peco a superstar.

Aiba Runa first caught her attention as a 16-year-old student when she posted pictures of her kawaii bedroom decor on social media. The décor of their RRR By Sugar Spot Factory ephemeral shops and Harajuku Weekend Shop is built around the room aesthetics of Runa’s kawaii teenager. In addition to being able to meet Aiba herself (she works every weekend in store), kawaii Interior Design attracts fashion-conscious young women who are twice as enthusiastic about a perfect shopping experience.

What sets Aiba Runa apart from many like-minded people is that their followers have proven they are willing to spend money on products they create and store. Japanese media reported that LaForet’s RRR By Sugar Spot Factory online shop sold over 4,000,000 JPY ($ 40,000) of merchandise sold last week, attracting a first line of hundreds of girls.

Some of the decades-old Harajuku kawaii subcultures may disappear, but young producers like Aiba Runa – born around the same time as FRUiTS Magazine and KERA – maintain the Japanese kawaii aesthetic by reinventing their own generation.

Pink princess coconut

7. Coco Princess? – Harajuku Street Style Star, 6 years old
Although Harajuku is a youth-dominated neighborhood, we have never seen a booming street fashion personality as young as Coco Hamamatsu? – a 6 year old girl who literally grew up in Harajuku.

Coco’s parents run the famous Harajuku Funktique Tokyo vintage shop. Originally located in Iwaki Prefecture, Fukushima Prefecture, the tragic earthquake and Tohoku tsunami in 2011 forced the family to leave their home and the original Funktique Fukushima store. When Coco arrived in Tokyo at the age of four months, the family was warmly welcomed into the community on Harajuku Street.

Since 2012, Coco is regularly on the weekend at Funktique Harajuku. In recent years, when Coco went from a cute baby to a fun kid with a strong personality, she started turning her head with her incredible street style. With a mother who has been wearing Harajuku kids for years, a father who is a vintage fashion buyer and access to all the Funktico Tokyo stock, Coco definitely had a leg up. But all this is not as important as the way she wears her outfits and the super cute poses she falls in when a camera shows her direction.

Coca’s cheeky style has long been popular in the streets of Harajuku, but the international fashion media have just discovered it. She was recently featured in Vogue, Nylon, directed a short Vice documentary on her, appeared in a Shiseido campaign and garnered more than 150,000 followers on Instagram.

While fashion for young Coco is still a fun pastime, the circumstances of her arrival in Tokyo, combined with growing up in the streets of Harajuku, will give her a unique perspective on life as she it matures. Coco is certainly a Harajuku personality who looks to the future.

Fanatic girls with Tasha Mud and HeARTofCOOL, Monaca Girls and A-Pon

8. Vintage Colorful Girls, Nostalgia Showa & Revival 1960 – Kawaii Street Fashion is alive
We spend days, months and years on the street in Harajuku and are always looking for new fashion subcultures. Especially in the early stages, it can be difficult to discern the difference between a simple trend and a possible new subculture. Even if a new fashion culture appears, there is no guarantee that it will have enough fans – or long enough – to make a name for itself.

The kawaii style, inspired by nostalgia, both for Showa Era fashion (1926-1989) and FRUITS Magazine of the late 1990s, is one of the most promising new subcultures on the streets. from Harajuku. The vintage style – which does not have a catchy name yet – looks like a super-colorful grandmother’s fashion worn by pretty young Japanese women. The colors and patterns are alive and give fans a more daring look than the popular pastel street styles. The girls have always worn colorful vintage fashion in Harajuku, but the recent introduction of this new style makes us believe that something more could be going on.

The major inspirations behind these looks are Japanese, British and American fashion from the 1960s and 1970s. A retro style is often accented by a sweet but cheeky swagger reminiscent of the 1950s pin-ups and the Showa Era bad girls. In addition, many of these colorful girls return to FRUiTS Magazine (late 1990s) as a golden age of Japanese fashion and find their strength in the intrepid mix of styles, materials, colors and patterns. The individual pieces come from vintage stores, often redone (adapted) and superimposed (a recurring element of Japanese fashion) for maximum impact.

This colorful vintage style is not yet fully developed, but we can see several different groups (as well as individual pendants):

Rizna, Fuki, Haruka and Mei from Fanatic Magazine

Fanatic Girls & Bunka Fashion College Students
The girls of Harajuku at the origin of Fanatic Magazine are the group that supports most this colorful style in Tokyo. These young women are all students at the prestigious Bunka Fashion College in Japan, so their individual details are ripe – a little more conceptual and experimental – than many girls. Fanatics organize fashion shows and distribute their magazines in popular stores to encourage other Tokyo fashion school students – as well as influential members of various Japanese shops – to experiment with their own colorful vintage styles.

Monaca Harajuku

Monaca? – Harajuku Street Fashion Circle & YouTuber
Harajuku fashion / club group “Monaca”? – Whose members are budding dancers, actors, models and Japanese designers? – wear a retro style fashion very colorful. Many Monaca girls are younger teens who take elements of Peco’s fun teen and Aiba Runa on Vintage Kawaii in their bold and happy look.

Three members of Monaca follow in social media: Mio, Shinako, Rimariri and YouTube channel Monaca.

Kawaii Osaka girl. Photo on Runa Purple.

Osaka vintage colorful girls
Several groups of Osaka girls are also experimenting with this new colorful look in social media. His styles seem closer to Monaca than to Fanatic. The girls from Osaka also featured in HR, the Japanese print magazine, whose road cracks have helped Aiba Runa’s career.

Two of Osaka’s colorful girls who love vintage on Twitter: A-Chan & Runa

In addition to publishing their magazine, the Fanatic Girls organize Harajuku Street fashion parties in Tokyo clubs. Monaca Girls have created their own YouTube channel and are very active in social media. All the different groups regularly appear in Japanese street style magazines, fashion sites and even occasionally on television.

The combined activity and social interaction between his followers increases the possibility that this new popular style is evolving into a full-fledged fashion subculture. To do this, there would probably be a name and at least a popular fashion icon that regularly wears this style. Time will tell if it goes, but now, this colorful street style is a phenomenal phenomenon.

Japanese fashion of the 1960s. Photo on the other
1960s
As mentioned above, there was evidence that the nostalgia of the 1960s is gaining popularity among Harajuku girls, who love Kawaii. There are many shops in Tokyo where you can find the colorful fashion of the 1960s – real vintage items and new designs inspired by the aesthetics of hippies and mods. We also see him in the street, although he has not yet achieved great popularity.

At first we did not know if it was worth calling the 1960s a trend – especially because many vintage brands and boutiques mix in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Then Harajuku super icon Peco announced his latest collection Peco Club.

Club Peco

Peco is the most popular icon of Harajuku kawaii in recent years, with millions of dedicated teenagers (“peco girls”) on social media and a long list of Peco club collections. Renowned for the ’80s and’ 90s, he inspired purple and pastel fashion and décor, but this time, Peco went to the 1960s. The new collection entitled “Welcome To The Peco Club 60”, with material promotional “Let’s Swing!” Glorified, inspired by “Hairspray”, the classic Campy set of the 1960s by John Waters.

Peco has proven to be attuned to the most important trends for the youngest generation of girls in Harajuku. If she says that the Swinging 60s have arrived, we will not argue!

To learn more about Japanese fashion Japanese inspiration, discover these two shops:

The shop of the 1960s and 1970s
The other
A vintage shop from the 1960s and 1970s popular in Nagoya for over 20 years. They daily publish a colorful retro fashion on Twitter and Instagram.

Starblinc Japan
Starblinq 60s
A retro Japanese fashion brand inspired by the 1960s. Also active on Twitter and Instagram.

How Harajuku boys look in 2017

9. New Generation Harajuku Boys – “Punk Influences, Japanese Designers and Gosha”
When people think of Harajuku – both in Japan and abroad – they tend to think of Harajuku girls. There are some popular boys in every generation of Harajuku, but girls have dominated the scene for decades.

But in recent years we have seen a wave of fashionable guys from Harajuku invading the streets. It is not uncommon for Harajuku-ites to hear for a long time how many fashionable boys are on the street compared to the number of fashionable girls.

On the Japanese fashion scene, children challenge and inspire each other. When a person creates an extraordinary look, other children try to surpass that look by doing even more work and pushing the envelope further.

Nobody knows why boys seem to win Harajuku, but the sudden popularity of kei without sex is a popular theory.

With the rise of the kei without sex last year, the boys from Harajuku completely stole the show from the girls. Peco was the most popular Harajuku girl of 2016, but she was also overshadowed by Ryucheru, her well-known partner of Kei. Although the novelty without genre disappeared in 2017, the boys of Harajuku remain in a cycle of inspiration and strong challenge.

The Harajuku Boys class of 2017 does not have a unique style, but there are some popular themes:

2017 Retro Streetwear Looks? – Reign Supreme Belts and Shoulder Bags

Sporty Iron Retro Streetwear
Is there a street scene on earth that did not feel the power of Gosha Rubchinskiy (and Demna Gvasalia / Lotta Volkova de Vetements)? Maybe somewhere, but that’s not it. Gosha’s ironic-sporty retro collections rocked the Harajuku scene with the rest of the planet. This year, we have seen a rise in menswear that combines the nostalgic influences of Gosha’s sportsmen and hipsters-punks with elements of Japanese and Korean streetwear. Logos and sentimental graphics, striped trousers, neon accents, waist pockets and shoulder bags, quilted shirts, hooded shortcuts, high-waisted pants and shortcuts, belts, belts, sunglasses, suspenders, tubular socks and sneakers.

Although Gosha deserves a lot of recognition, the best kids in the street do not wear a standard look. As the best of FRUITS Magazine of the 1990s, today’s kids remix and interpret international trends with a Japanese twist? – socks and braces with kanji instead of Gosha’s Cyrillic script; a kimono coat replaces a sports jacket; Platform shoes replace retro sneakers. There are also popular Korean Harajuku streetwear brands (More Than Dope, ESC Studio, etc.) that offer their own look for the ironic and sporty streetwear.

As creative inspiration grows and shoots in all directions, many of the pieces used by Japanese children to assemble these looks come from vintage stores and resale shops in Tokyo, like the much loved Kinji Harajuku. Ein schönes Element der nostalgischen Ästhetik von Gosha ist in erster Linie, dass die Looks zwar so frisch sind, dass sie aber gleichzeitig sehr vertraut sind. Sourcing Weiterverkauf hält nicht nur Preise auf schülerfreundlichen Ebenen, sondern stellt auch sicher, dass jeder Look? – und dabei erkennbare Themen hervorrufen? – bleibt einzigartig.

Obwohl Goshas Ideen unbestreitbar Trends in der heutigen japanischen Streetfashion-Szene beeinflussen, ist es keine einseitige Beziehung. In der Tat war es eine japanische Modemarke, die Gosha in erster Linie seine große Chance gab.

Harajuku Punk inspiriert Street Styles. Spitzengruppe von Ken Daimon.

Punk (Mode) ist nicht tot

Ein weiterer großer Einfluss auf die Mode vieler Harajuku-Jungs der neuen Generation ist der Punkrock der 70er und 80er Jahre – besetzte Lederjacken, Patches und Abzeichen, Sicherheitsnadeln, dickes Make-up aus schwarzen Augen, Krustenhosen, Denim, Dr. Martens und kräftige Haarfarben . Einige der Kinder sind tatsächlich in Punk-Musik, während andere nur denken, Sid Vicious und Siouxsie Sioux sahen cool aus.

Ein Großteil der Punk-beeinflussten Mode wird vom Träger aus Wiederverkaufsstücken handgefertigt (oder neu gemacht). Für diejenigen mit einem größeren Budget hat sich die von Kritikern gelobte koreanische Streetwear-Marke 99% IS als beliebte Marke der heutigen Punk-liebenden Harajuku-Jungs gezeigt. 99% IS-Designer Bajowoo? – nicht weniger als Rei Kawakubo und G Dragon? – findet man oft bei Harajuku-Kids in Underground-Tokyo-Punkshows. Selbst für Punk-Kids, die sich (verständlicherweise) seine Stücke nicht leisten können, kehren die Ästhetik und das Styling des Designers in vielen Looks wieder, die wir auf der Straße sehen.

Harajuku Mullet Frisuren. David Bowie von Brian Duffy. Taro von Taro

Der Meeräschen ist zurück, große Zeit
Nennen Sie es eine “Meeräsche”, “Hockey Haar” oder “Szene Haare” – eine der heißesten männlichen Frisuren auf den Straßen von Harajuku in diesem Jahr ist kurz in der Front und lang in den Rücken. Der Look ist ironisch und retro? – in der Regel spikey oder rasiert in der Front, selten schwarz, oft leuchtend bunt? – erinnert an Aladdin Sane-Ära David Bowie mehr als Wayne’s World.

Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto und Issey Miyake auf den Straßen von Tokio

Yohji Yamamoto, Comme Des Garçons und Issey Miyake (Re) Surge
Wenn Westler an japanische Mode denken, kommen Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto und Rei Kawakubo sofort in den Sinn. Viele andere japanische Designer haben einen weltweiten Be

kanntheitsgrad, aber die Geschichte hat dieses Trio zu den Göttern der japanischen Mode der 1980er Jahre gezählt. Obwohl ihre Flagship-Stores nur einen kurzen Fußweg von Harajuku entfernt sind, hat die Beliebtheit dieser legendären Designer in der Tokyoter Streetfashion-Szene über die Jahrzehnte zugenommen (vielleicht wegen der hohen Preise oder der Wahrnehmung der Labels als “High Fashion”) “). Aber in den letzten Jahren haben Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto und Issey Miyake ihren rechtmäßigen Platz als führende japanische Streetwear-Marke zurückerobert.

Während alle drei Designer für bahnbrechende, geschlechtsneutrale Kollektionen der 1980er Jahre bekannt sind, sehen wir in der heutigen Streetfashion-Szene, dass sie mehr von Männern getragen werden als von Frauen. Boosted by his long-running Y-3 line with Adidas, Yohji has the most traditional “streetwear” support. Comme Des Garcons?—?coming off the show at the MET in New York, several Supreme collaborations, and an ongoing relationship with Gosha?—?is the most revered (if harder to wear). Besides a recent Tokyo museum show, Issey Miyake may not have done anything specific to excite fashion-conscious kids, but the brand’s incredible heritage and history are apparently enough on their own to kick off a resurgence on the street.

If you’d like to keep an eye on the new Harajuku boys, below is a sampling of male faces that have either appeared or gained traction in 2017. Because some of these boys only showed up in the last few months, their overall social media follower numbers may not be huge?—?but their visibility and momentum are on the rise.

Harajuku Boys of 2017 on social media: Nosuke, Ryunosuke, Nashu, Shota, Ayumu, Bunta, Manaya, Takuro, Kota, Ryuma, Yuuta, Cheney, Ryosuke, Room Boy Pony, Daiki, Yuya, Taro, and Shuhei.

Faith Tokyo, Oh Pearl & Never Mind the XU LaForet + NMXU

10. Never Mind the XU, Faith Tokyo & Oh Pearl?—?Hot Harajuku Boutiques For Her
Every year in Harajuku a few shops rocket in popularity. They help set trends for the neighborhood, attract huge crowds, and see their styling copied by numerous lower priced competitors. Occasionally these boutiques are able to hold their positions at the top for a few years (see Bubbles Harajuku), but most often they cool down pretty quickly (see Avantgarde Harajuku) as the next wave of “it” shops rise.

We’ve selected three shops that are extremely hot with the newest generation of Harajuku girls. These are by no means the most popular shops in Harajuku —low priced trend chains like Spinns and WEGO easily take that crown?—?but they’re at the top of many “must visit” lists. Young trendy “Harajuku Girls” aspire to look like they frequent these boutiques in 2017.

If you’d like to see what trendy Harajuku high school girls look like on social media, check the feeds of Sarah, Beni, and Misa.

Never Mind the XU & Never Mind the XU LaForet

Never Mind the XU?—?From Trendy Asian Streetwear to Pitch Black Street Goth
Opened in the back streets of Harajuku two years ago by the owners of Dog Osaka, the tiny Never Mind the XU boutique’s popularity grew so quickly that they soon opened a second location inside of the famous LaForet Harajuku department store. XU (as they are known by fans) carries select independent Asian and international streetwear brands as well as their own original labels. Nothing here is overly expensive because their clientele is young?—?and uber trendy.

The aesthetic is generally, but not always, monochrome?—?with curated looks sometimes crossing the line from just dark into total blackout street goth. This is the shop that made Demonia “Stomp” platforms a must-have for countless black-bobbed Japanese teens. Huge chokers, lots of metal O-rings, miniskirts, crop tops, Vivienne Westwood-esque plaid, ripped denim, and fishnets are never in short supply. In addition to goth, bondage, and punk galore, Gosha and Vetements influence is felt strongly here as well?—?especially in their selection of young Korean streetwear designers.

Popular import labels include More Than Dope, AnotherYouth, Basic Cotton, DRINKSCANCODE, Esc Studio, Open The Door (South Korea), FU·XU·RY, Morph8ne (Thailand), MISBHV (Poland), Long Clothing, KTZ (UK), DVMVGE (Taiwan), OS Accessories (Philippines), Demonia, NIN3, YRU, Dimepiece, Richardson (USA), and more.

XU employs several popular Japanese street style icons?—?including Chiiiii, Cham (ex), Baek, Motoshige, Yuito, and Sench1?—?as shop staff. Chiiiii and Cham recently launched their own fashion brands, Chiiicky (Cheeky) and Bercerk?—?both sold exclusively at the XU family of boutiques. Drawing on Cham’s own personal style, Bercerk’s genderless aesthetic is especially dark, with gothic and fetish elements dominating the trendy streetwear components of the initial collections.

Never Mind the XU won’t be mistaken for high fashion anytime soon. After all, their clientele is almost entirely trendy high school kids. However, the shop is a modern example of the unique remixing of styles that happens on the streets of Tokyo. Sure, one hoodie might remind you of Vetements, the platform boots might look a bit too Hot Topic, and that t-shirt emblazoned with Kim Jong Un’s face and the caption “Nuke Kid on the Block” is way over the top. But wait until you see how a 16-year old-Japanese girl puts them all together?—?with a corset, resale destroyed denim, neon animal print knee socks, and fishnets.

Faith Tokyo, Harajuku Vintage Boutique

Faith Tokyo?—?Familiar Vintage Boutique Hitting All The Right Notes
Opened in 2015, Faith Tokyo is a vintage and resale shop run by the same team that previously launched Bubbles Harajuku. Bubbles has maintained its title as one of Harajuku’s most trendy and popular teen boutiques for several years now, all but assuring that Faith would be a hit.

Flaunting their motto of “Vintage and Bad Clothing”, Faith’s concept and aesthetic is intentionally grungy contrasting with Bubbles’ bright pinks and purples. Bubbles?—?particularly their ongoing Peco Club collections?—?draws in mobs of very young (junior high) cheerful girls. Located next door, Faith gives Bubbles customers somewhere convenient to go as they mature and begin experimenting with more edgy personal styles.

Key Faith items over the last year are the ubiquitous ripped out jeans with fishnets underneath, chokers (also a popular Bubbles item), vintage metal t-shirts (sometimes cropped), animal print, Converse high tops, old Thrasher, and plenty of long canvas belts (would be hard to find a trendy Tokyo shop right now without a selection of canvas belts). Overall, the shop has a rock and roll feeling with some Catholic imagery (The Virgin Mary is so popular in Tokyo vintage circles that a popular shop shares her name) thrown in for good measure. In addition to 1970s-1990s vintage, Faith does stock some limited original designs and deadstock items.

Though targeted at a young audience, Faith Tokyo’s back story evokes nostalgia from many longtime Harajuku-ites. Bubbles Harajuku originally opened in 2011 as a respected vintage shop curated by a popular Harajuku street style personality. Under new management years later, Bubbles morphed into the trendy youth super brand it is today. Faith Tokyo’s emergence allows longtime Bubbles staffers to re-establish the cool little vintage shop lost to history.

Oh Pearl Harajuku

Oh Pearl?—?New Kid On The Block, Run By Popular Vintage Buyer
The tiny Harajuku vintage shop Oh Pearl opened in the Spring of 2017, but the director has been a fixture of the Harajuku street fashion scene for years. Manitas (aka Mani) was the buyer for Nadia Flores en el Corazon (aka Nadia Harajuku)?—?once one of the hottest boutiques in Harajuku, and still a popular stop for Japanese teen girls.

Located in the same building as Faith Tokyo just a few meters from Bubbles, Oh Pearl has been a hit from the day it opened. The pink-walled shop?—?sparsely decorated with vintage memorabilia?—?still has a just-opened feel to it, but Harajuku girls clearly believe in Mani’s curation. Trusted vintage buyers are powerful tastemakers in the Japanese street fashion scene, and Mani has spent years making a name for herself.

Two essential Oh Pearl items we see everywhere on the street in Harajuku right now are an Ikea-inspired cross body bag (with Oh Pearl emblazoned on the strap) and a variety of colorful knee socks.

There’s no way to be sure whether the shop’s current popularity will hold or not, but so far in 2017 Oh Pearl is one of Harajuku’s most talked about boutiques.

Nosuke, Muyua, Bunta, Yuya, and RAW

11. Boys in Skirts?—?Genderless Fashion Still Rising?
Last year’s buzzword for Harajuku was “Genderless Kei”. The genderless media hype has faded somewhat, but in its place we are seeing an increasing breakdown of old gender rules in Tokyo street fashion. Whereas the first generation of genderless kei boys tended to flamboyantly flaunt traditional gender norms, this next generation of boys simply ignore the rules without fanfare.

The most obvious visible sign of young Harajuku-ites disregarding gender rules are the increasing number of boys wearing skirts, makeup, and heels.

Tokyo has always been home to a small group of high level conceptual male fashionistas who wear gender neutral skirts by the likes of Comme Des Garcons, Yohji, or Junya. International streetwear brands like HBA and KTZ have included skirts (or aprons) made for men in recent collections. There has also long been a number of gender neutral and transgender Japanese street fashion personalities. However, the newest Harajuku boys are increasingly wearing women’s skirts and other items purchased at regular womenswear shops. These are not worn as high concept statement pieces, or as political messages on gender roles, but rather as coordinates that the young men think look good with whatever else they are wearing.

Men’s makeup has been popular for years in Tokyo street fashion?—?especially among fans of K-Pop?—?but we’ve recently seen an increase in young men wearing subtle makeup, again as a standard accessory rather than a bold statement. High-heeled gender neutral boots are another item that today’s Harajuku boys have no problem incorporating, even into more traditional “streetwear” styles.

Japanese genderless kei superstars like Genking and Ryucheru are household names in Japan, pushing the envelope so far that it’s become easier for average Harajuku kids (I-D Magazine recently released a short YouTube documentary on genderless kei styles in Harajuku) to casually ignore traditional gender rules.

Japanese Television God and Harajuku Lover Matsuko Deluxe

12. Personality Trumps Fashion For Some Budding Harajuku TV Personalities?
“Harajuku” itself has become a famous brand, both in Japan and with the huge crowds of international tourists that flood the streets everyday —creating new challenges for the neighborhood and its fashion scene. We covered many of those still-relevant issues in our 2016 Japanese street fashion article, but the popularity of the neighborhood has increased even since then.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a boom in Harajuku kids featured on Japanese television shows. The arrival of the Genderless Kei Boys sparked local TV’s renewed interest in Harajuku?—?with Matsuko Deluxe leading the charge. As Harajuku girl Peco and her flamboyant significant other Ryucheru blew up into celebrities recognizable by the average Japanese person, TV producers scoured the streets of Harajuku searching for the next batch of budding stars.

In the past, the most famous Harajuku kids tended to have an exceptional?—?often extreme?—?personal style. The effect of the new television boom saw some Harajuku kids getting popular based more on personality than fashion.

Television shows were looking for people with comedy-ready personas. They began featuring Harajuku kids who dressed in relatively normal fashion but who had personalities appealing to TV viewers. Television appearances greatly boosted social media followers and name recognition, launching several Harajuku fashion icons who, while stylish, did not push the limits of street fashion like previous generations of Harajuku stars. These budding TV personalities may not all sport extreme “Harajuku” styles, but they do continue to inspire the public’s curiosity about Harajuku fashion.

There has been concern on the street that mass media attention could increase the number of fame seekers (rather than fashion lovers) in Harajuku. However, in our experience young people who stick around Harajuku are the ones excited about fashion, regardless of their original intent. We’re optimistic that the wave of young Japanese kids who began visiting Harajuku based on recent TV coverage will one day mature into the neighborhood’s future fashion stars.

More Than Dope at Agem, Style Nanda, Konvini & Exo Popup Shop in Harajuku

13. Korean Fashion Still Popular On The Tokyo Streets
Though the international K-Pop boom has cooled a bit, South Korean music and fashion remain influential in several Tokyo street fashion circles. While older generations looked to G-Dragon and 2NE1 for style inspiration, groups like EXO and BTS are the favorites of Japan’s next generation K-Pop loving kids.

Korean web trend shop Style Nanda just opened a bright pink building on Takeshita Dori (Harajuku’s most famous teen shopping street) to big fanfare?—?and long lines. Low priced Korean makeup brand Etude House now has at least three locations in Harajuku (including two on Takeshita Dori). At the higher end, Tokyo-based Korean label 99%IS has had a big influence on the latest wave of punk-inspired Harajuku menswear styles.

2016’s genderless kei boys?—?the ones we saw on the street in Harajuku, not the TV personalities— were inspired largely by Korean makeup and beauty trends along with minimalist Korean fashion (a lot of skinny jeans and t-shirts). This year, Korean designers working in “streetwear” motifs similar to Gosha and Vetements are making names for themselves on the streets of Harajuku.

A growing number of popular Harajuku boutiques support South Korean streetwear designers in 2017. Never Mind the XU has lead the way in making Korean designers like More Than Dope, Open The Door, and AnotherYouth hot with trendy high school age Harajuku-ites. Agem Tokyo is a boutique in Urahara (backstreets of Harajuku) that specializes in Korean streetwear, carrying a large list of labels including Attention Row, VEI-8, OY, VSR, AJO, I Am Not A Human Being, Sleazy Corner, DoDoDo, Basic Cotton, More Than Dope, and Esc Studio.

Inside of the Laforet Department Store, a growing number of shops carry Korean brands. Select shop KONVINI, which just opened in March, stocks exclusively Korean labels including Baby Centaur, MSKN2ND, Rocket x Lunch, Liful, LMC (Lost Management Cities), D-Antidote, Andersson Bell, Eyeye, Freiknock, and many others.

Several young Korean designers have gone beyond just selling at Tokyo select shops, and are now visiting Japan regularly and launching their own limited time popup shops in Harajuku. More Than Dope’s ten-day popup at LaForet was so popular that we saw a big spike in Harajuku kids wearing the brand on the street even weeks after the shop had closed. Korean streetwear brands Esc Studio, Open The Door, and Another Youth each held their own successful popups inside of Never Mind The XU’s Harajuku boutique this spring.

And Korean fashion brands aren’t the only ones doing popup shops. In May, the South Korean boy band EXO took over the entire popup space on the 2nd floor of LaForet Harajuku?—?a space that usually hosts six separate shops —for S.M. Entertainment’s three week long EXO-CBX band goods and fashion popup. Earlier in the year, another Korean group, YG Entertainment’s iKon, held their own popup at LaForet. Legendary Japanese designer Michiko London Koshino also released a collaboration collection?—?introduced during a runway show inside of LaForet Harajuku?—?with Korean label NONA9ON (YG Entertainment) at the end of 2016.

While media in both countries likes to emphasize differences between the Japanese and Korean governments, young creative people in Korea and Japan are ignoring controversy and finding mutually beneficial ways to work together. Judging by everything we’ve seen in the last year, we don’t anticipate Korean fashion and music’s presence in the Japanese street fashion scene fading away anytime soon.

The Four-Eyed, Chaos Market, and Haruno

14. Haruno, The Four-Eyed & Chaos Market?—?Buzz-Worthy Tokyo Boutiques Off The Beaten Path
Though Tokyo is a sprawling city, discussions of the street fashion scene inevitably revolve around specific neighborhoods— Harajuku, Shibuya, Omotesando, Koenji, Shimokitazawa, Daikanyama, Nakameguro, Aoyama, Akihabara, and a few others.

Each popular fashion neighborhood has a well-established, if not always accurate, identity. Harajuku is avant-garde, streetwear, and sometimes crazy. Aoyama and Omotesando are for luxury high brands. Koenji and Shimokita are vintage and quirky, Nakameguro and Daikanyama are hipster, Akihabara is otaku, and so on. Shibuya had a strong identity as well, before losing it in the collapse of Japan’s once-famous gyaru subculture.

With neighborhood identities strongly defined, how do Tokyo designers/buyers face the challenge of launching a new shop untainted by preconceptions? The solution chosen by most is to spend years carving out their own niche inside one of Tokyo’s existing street fashion friendly neighborhoods. The less likely (and more challenging) option is to choose a location where no one expects to find a next level streetwear boutique, then work to build a community around the project.

Haruno (Shibuya), The Four-Eyed (Shinjuku), and Chaos Market (Nakano) are three buzz-generating Tokyo boutiques that chose the most challenging option?—?each hoping to convince open-minded customers that the future of Japanese street fashion is along the road less traveled.

Haruno Shibuya
Haruno Shibuya
Haruno (???) opened in 2014 on the seventh floor of an aging building along Fire Dori not far from Tower Records in Shibuya. Other tenants in the twelve-story building include a tattoo parlor, nail salon, vinyl record store, random offices, and various small cafes. Like many underground boutiques in this area of Shibuya, first time customers will likely need a map and some luck to find it.

Though Haruno has been around for several years, we only started seeing Harajuku kids wearing items from the shop in substantial numbers over the last year. The newest generation of male Bunka Fashion College students seem especially interested in the boutique and their handmade pieces. Many of the same kids who frequent the legendary Dog Harajuku are also now finding their way to Haruno.

The shop’s founder Ryota Yamazaki was well known in the Japanese fashion industry before starting Haruno, having worked as a buyer at the influential Shibuya vintage shop Nude Trump for six years. Like Nude Trump, the vibe of Haruno is funky, with bright pink walls decorated in colorful vintage posters and handmade curiosities.

Considering Yamazaki’s background, it’s no surprise that 70% of the store is dedicated to highly curated designer vintage with a focus on edgy pieces by the likes of Comme Des Garcons, Junya, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Ann Demeulemeester, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and Marjan Pejoski.

The other 30% of Haruno’s stock are one-of-a-kind pieces from Yamazaki’s own punk-inspired brand Anti (as in Anti-fast fashion). Each Anti piece is handmade either from scratch or remade from existing vintage pieces. Many Anti items?—?especially the jackets?—?are immediate recognizable on the street by their exposed stitching, patches, badges, safety pins, tassels, zippers, and neon faux fur accents. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call some of the Anti pieces we’ve seen on the street “extreme”. In fact, they are extreme by design?—?a statement by the brand’s creator on the beauty of handmade fashion and against today’s trend toward mass production.

Haruno also stocks a selection of vintage fashion magazines and books, including old issues of Harajuku style bible FRUiTS.

The Four-Eyed Boutique in Tokyo

The Four-Eyed Shinjuku
If your goal was to hide an underground boutique somewhere no one into edgy street fashion would ever possibly think to look, you’d be hard pressed to find a better location than sandwiched between love hotels in Tokyo’s famously seedy red-light district of Kabukicho. This bizarre location for a fashion-forward boutique sounds more like a manga setting than real life, but welcome to the world of The Four-Eyed.

Opened by Keisuke Fujita at the end of 2016, The Four-Eyed started generating buzz on the street right away. That is partly a result of Fujita’s pedigree as a longtime photographer for legendary street fashion magazines FRUiTS and TUNE. Fujita literally knows just about everyone in the Harajuku scene?—?from the high school kids up to the shop, brand, and media owners.

The Four-Eyed’s location in a part of Shinjuku known more for drunk salarymen and hostesses than fashionistas is intentional. Fujita was looking for somewhere unencumbered by the baggage that comes with “Harajuku”, “Koenji”, “Shimokitazawa”, or other similarly branded fashion districts. While walk-in traffic is likely to be null, the shop is not far from the campuses of several top Tokyo fashion schools. It’s also a quick (five to ten minute) train ride from Harajuku, Shibuya, Aoyama, and other districts that attract hoards of shoppers every day.

Fujita worked on the concept for a Tokyo select shop for several years before the actual opening. As a longtime participant in?—?and observer of?—?Japanese street fashion, he believed that surfacing young underexposed designers would bring much needed freshness to the existing landscape. Fujita jumped into the fray rather than wait for someone else to make the changes he wanted to see. One of his key stated goals of the new project is to “make an impact” on Tokyo’s street fashion scene.

If Haruno reminds us a bit of the early days of the iconic Dog Harajuku, The Four-Eyed is more in line with anther famous?—?if less flamboyant?—?Japanese boutique, Candy/Fake Tokyo.

The Four-Eyed’s inventory is split with about 60% of the shop dedicated to up-and-coming international designers and 40% curated vintage pieces. Fujita does most of the buying on the menswear side, while his partner in the boutique?—?the Japanese stylist Maiko Shibukawa?—?manages the womenswear selection.

The shop specializes in edgy underexposed designers from Japan and all over the world. A sample of the currently stocked labels includes Chin Men’s (Taiwan), D.TT.K (Tokyo), Eckhaus Latta (USA), Martine Rose (UK), Carne Bollente (Paris), FANTHING by FancyHim (Tokyo), Y/Project (Paris), ALYX (NYC), Charles Jeffrey (Scottland/London), Ottolinger (Switzerland), Mimi Wade (UK), A.V Robertson (UK), and PERVERZE (Japan).

The Four-Eyed also hosts periodic in-store popup shops and other special events to promote young designers. With their background in photography and styling, Fujita and Shibukawa create ambitious original visuals for the fashion brands they stock, as well for as the shop itself. Those editorial shoots— available on the Four-Eyed bilingual website?—?express the shop’s aesthetic and vision far more clearly than any text.

Chaos Market at Nakano Broadway

Packed with anime figure shops, manga bookstores, cosplay boutiques, idol goods, retro video games, and even several Takashi Murakami-owned art galleries and cafes, Nakano Broadway is Tokyo’s second most popular otaku destination?—?behind only the otaku capital of the planet, Akihabara. While hardcore otaku themselves are not in immediate danger of becoming fashion icons, the subculture world that they inhabit inspires a growing number of young avant-garde Japanese designers. So it may not be as surprising as it first sounds that a fashion-forward boutique lies hidden deep inside of Nakano Broadway’s otaku paradise.

Chaos Market?—?located in the basement of the famous building— was born out of the founders’ desire to create an entirely new fashion scene based on the chaotic mix of influences permeating Nakana Broadway. Since store manager Ryo Manzi (drummer for the anime music themed punk band Anipunk) opened Chaos Market in the spring of 2014, it has developed into a unique haven for a group of designers bound together by an interest in otaku culture.

While the creatives involved in Chaos Market share an interest in otaku essentials like anime, idol music, and video games?—?and the shop decor reflects this to some degree?—?do not expect a literal representation of “otaku” in all of the clothing sold here. If you’re looking for a Ghost In The Shell t-shirt or a Pikachu backpack, Village Vanguard would be a better bet. In fact, Chaos Market’s most avant-garde brands aren’t on the surface recognizably “otaku” at all.

Several underground designers found here such as Balmung and Hatra are highly respected in the Japanese fashion scene for their top tier conceptual work, regardless of inspiration or subculture label. The fact that higher level conceptual fashion is not easy to wear keeps many Chaos Market designers firmly rooted in the underground.

Like Dog Harajuku and other Tokyo boutiques stocking avant-garde and one-of-a-kind fashion, Chaos Market has cultivated a following among famous (and aspiring) Japanese idols and performers looking for stage costumes and statement pieces to set them apart. That’s not to say that everything at Chaos Market is on the high-concept side. The shop carries plenty of t-shirts, punk accessories, and even?—?yes?—?some anime, manga, and game themed items.

Brands stocked by Chaos Market (an ever-changing list because many of the pieces are handmade and unique) include Balmung, Hatra, Chloma, Oum, Xeno Avatar, Lucky Room, Bodysong, Cyderhouse, KeisukeYoshida, Ken Kagami, Escape, Naadodd, Miq, Telepathy, Kemono, and Otonatoy. Many of the labels represented by Chaos Market are so indie that the shop is their only brick-and-mortar stockist. For those who want to actually see and feel the pieces?—?rather than ordering online directly from designers?—?Chaos Market is a must-visit.

In January of 2017 Chaos Market held a popup shop in the famous LaForet Harajuku Department Store, exposing the shop’s roster of designers to a wider audience. The response from the Harajuku street fashion scene was very positive. While we have yet to see a big surge in people wearing Chaos Market brands, there are definitely more people talking about them on the street.

Every few years for the last decade, we read media predictions that otaku-inspired fashion will be the next big thing on the Japanese street. It hasn’t happened so far, but Chaos Market will be at the forefront if it ever does.

Melt Japanese Subculture Fashion Magazine

15. Melt Magazine?—?A Post-Kera Lolita Fashion & Harajuku Subculture Print Magazine Appears
With its concept of “Gothic&Lolita & Kawaii”, Melt Magazine is a new project promising to bring many of the Harajuku subcultures, fashion brands, and models long covered by KERA back into print.

The first issue of Melt, released in July 2017, looks like a slightly stripped down version of KERA’s long-running sister publication Gothic&Lolita Bible. That’s not a big surprise as the same people behind the original Gothic&Lolita Bible are said to be involved in the new project. With Terada Ranze of Nogizaka46 on the cover and several famous Harajuku models inside, Melt is off to a running start.

Confirming strong Japanese fashion scene connections, Melt’s debut issue includes full-page advertisement by Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Angelic Pretty, and Bunka Fashion College. Fashion brands featured in editorial shoots include Angelic Pretty, BTSSB, Alice and the Pirates, Metamorphose temps de fille, Triple Fortune, Atlier Boz, Innocent World, Victorian Maiden, Dangerous Nude, Stigmata, Drug Honey, and Algonquins.

While KERA features a cross section of Japanese fashion subcultures, Melt is (so far) heavily weighted toward lolita and gothic fashion. There is a single five-page feature called “The Street Kid Forever” with popular street style model Yura wearing items from Harajuku trend shops Spinns and Kingly Mask. Other than that, almost everything is lolita or goth. There are also two pages of street snaps included, but it’s not clear if they are spontaneous snaps hunted on the street or models chosen by the magazine.

Before the magazine was officially unveiled, one of the Japanese designers connected to the project stated that Melt would have a more international focus than KERA. While this first issue does include coverage of international lolita events as well as an interview with internationally popular Tokyo-based lolita model and YouTuber RinRin Doll, the entire magazine is written in Japanese. The advertising appears targeted at the domestic market as well, so it’s not clear yet how serious the publishers are about reaching non-Japanese speakers.

In Harajuku, the launch of a new subculture-friendly print magazine has been cheered by the lolita community. At the same time, KERA and Gothic&Lolita Bible comparisons have been inescapable. We’re looking forward to following Melt’s development in the coming months, with a special focus on whether the magazine can escape KERA’s shadow and create an identity of its own.

…..

Those are just a few of the many things shaping the Japanese street fashion scene over the last year.

Older Harajuku kids said farewell as the next generation arrived. Beloved street style publications disappeared (or went digital) while new magazines materialized to take their place. Emerging fashion subcultures and trends shone as 1990s subcultures faded. Aspiring street style personalities, designers, and boutiques anticipated the future, hoping for their chance to play a starring role.

Harajuku is going through growing pains without question, but there are also many exciting developments. While celebrating fifty amazing years of modern Harajuku culture in 2017, we optimistically look forward to the next fifty.

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