Harajuku Style Clothing - Japanese Street Fashion Culture

Harajuku Style Clothing - Japanese Street Fashion Culture



Japanese street fashion has always fascinated me, especially concerning Harajuku alternative style. This style is varied and constantly evolving and it's very difficult to define it because it often changes its characteristics, even if the basics remain the same. Let's start from the beginning: where does Harajuku Japanese fashion style come from and what is it?

HARAJUKU

The Harajuku fashion name comes from its geographical origin: Harajuku is an area in Tokyo, near Shibuya, and it's defined as the district of fashion and teen trends. There are two main roads there: Takeshita Dori, where you can find a lot of gadget shops and curiosities, and Omotesando, full of high fashion boutiques like Tod's and Prada. In fact, the Harajuku style is a mix of traditional Japanese and Western cultures: the result is a variety of colours, overlays, very bold makeups and unique hairstyles. Walking around this district is a wonderful experience, and it's definitely on my bucket list! 

Harajuku's view at night


JAPANESE HARAJUKU STYLE BASICS

  1. The first thing to do to be on point is to mix different styles, designs and colours: dressing like a Harajuku girl is an art and every outfit has a very specific study behind it, although there's the (totally wrong) belief that pairings are randomly made.
  2. Another key point is to dress in layers, and this doesn't only mean to add a cardigan or a blazer over a t-shirt, but also overlapping tees on dresses with leggings underneath, and a large amount of frills in between.
  3. The Harajuku girls are great with DIY. They seldom wear something they have purchased, as just as it is. Customization is one of this style's bases, so make yourself as creative as you can and bring out your fantasy.
  4. Accessories make the difference and they're very important, almost more than clothes. The more, the better! Bracelets, necklaces, bags, pins, socks and rainbow stockings are part of the outfits and don't forget to pair the right hair accessories.
  5. Speaking of hair, hairstyle and makeup must also be eye-catching. Pigtails, buns, flashy colours, you name it!
  6. You must be yourself. This is the last key point on which the Harajuku is based. What people say doesn't matter! If you feel like a unicorn, became a unicorn! Do you want to wear a neon yellow leggings under a neon green dress? You can do it, as long as you feel at ease! The more unique, the more suitable you are for this kind of street style.



SUBCULTURES

The Harajuku style list is huge and can't be defined in a single category because it presents a long series of subcultures, and the most loved is surely the Lolita one (which also have various categories in it). This kind of fashion is based on the Victorian and Rococo styles' characteristics.

Note: Images source: Pinterest

Classic Lolita

This style is the most mature among the Lolita's categories: it's sophisticated and sober, both in colours and patterns, as well as for accessories and makeup.


Sweet Lolita

The word itself says it, it's the sweet and cute side of Lolita's fashion. Colours, patterns and accessories are rather childish: bonnets, bows, ribbons and frills are very appreciated for this style.


Gothic Lolita

The Gothic influence can be seen starting from dark colours. A special mention goes to accessories with religious symbolism, or even in a bat, coffin, spider shape and so on. The makeup is also dark, but not too strong. Parasols, top hats, bows and ribbons in the hair are widely used.


Punk Lolita

This is a mix of punk and lolita styles: they match studs, ties and torn clothes to the sweetness of Lolita fashion; skirts are usually shorter then the ones used in the Lolita style and they're often asymmetrical.

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OTHER STYLES

There are many other styles which fall in the Harajuku category, not just the Lolita one! The most common are these below.

Cosplay

It's so common to find cosplayer around the streets in Japan that cosplay can be defined as a street style in all respects. Who doesn't have a fave character which is part of the comics / manga, anime or video games world? Being a cosplayer means interpreting that character from the way of dressing, to the way of acting.


Ganguro

The ganguro style has rather kitsch characteristics: tanned skin (almost an orage complexion), hair coloured in bright and bold shades, such as yellow, silver and pink, often voluminously styled. The makeup is very strong and the outfit is made up of very high wedges, skimpy dresses and flashy accessories - let's say that they're quite noticeable. Ganguro are often considered in a negative way, as they are the opposite of the beauty's prototype in Japanese culture.


Decora

This style was born in the 90s and it's characterized by an unrestrained use of accessories: they wear so many of them to make noise when they walk. How to choose the right accessories? Well, if they're for children, they're perfect. The main colour is pink 'cause it's the "kawaii" shade, which means "cute".


Source: candy_ramune
Take a closer look at the Decora style in the video below



Source: Refinery29

Bosozoku

It's the aggressive style associated with motorcycle gangs, the classic unsavory boys; the outfit is made up of a sort of uniform with prints and slogans on it, jacket and baggy pants.


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It's not uncommon, however, to find different combinations of these styles around the Tokyo's streets, the clothes are unique and original, so there's never an outfit identical to another one, the code word is personality!

I don't deny that I'd love to recreate some of these styles, but here in Italy we aren't at a such level of "culture" (? I honestly don't know how to call it, I hope you understand what I mean) to leave the house dressed like a Lolita, without being constantly observed in a strange way: hey guys, I'm not going to rob someone :/ It's a pity, we often preclude to ourselves some things we would like to do or try, just for fear of others' judgment!




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HEY, I CARE ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS!
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY THE HARAJUKU MODE STYLE? WHICH ASPECT OF THE JAPANESE STREET FASHION DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?
SHARE YOUR OPINION IN THE COMMENT FIELD :)
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    1. I love this topic! I find this very interesting the Harijuku culture! I watch they're documentaries on youtube all the time when I run into a video! It is quite very interesting. They're style is very vibrant and although there are many styles, it fits they're personality as to who they are. It is normal in Japan but I guarantee if those styles were worn here in the US, many would get stares as many are not familiar with the culture nor understanding.

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      1. I totally agree with you! Their style is so creative and smashing, and I love how they manage to convey their personalities in the outfits they wear; there isn't this "culture of the different", speaking about clothing, here in Italy too. On the contrary, if you're dressed a little out of the ordinary, people stare at you and this is embarrassing sometimes. Thank you for stopping by, Faith! xo

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