I totally appreciate the ''style-arena''(I'll just call it like that because all the pictures are from style-arena) part of harajuku, because the shape and techniques are really interesting and unique. On the other hand, I feel like the crazier and ''agressive'' side of Harajuku is being judged on Harajuju and I don't feel comfortable with it. It makes me feel like the members are not that open-minded about this part of harajuku that is an important part i think
Individual members have their own tastes. I think you’re right to say that not a lot of people appreciate the crazy-for-the-sake-of-crazy styles that are the face of Harajuku fashion right now, and I would find myself among them. Each member has the right to judge whatever fashion how they want.
That said, if Harajuju is to be a home for all types of people who love Japanese fashion, people have to feel welcome there. I don’t want to discuss this too much openly on Tumblr, so feel free to contact me un-anonymously or send me an e-mail at brad-t AT harajuju DOT net. I promise I don’t bite.
I’m scrolling through harajuju forum and looks and I don’t really feel any harajuku vibe in it…I mean, i’m more on the DIY part of Harajuku, recycling, handmade, vintage .. I think that those people are the ones who are setting the trends and they are those who created recognition for Harajuku in the 90s. When i’m reading the forum topics or outfit comments, i just feel like this part of Harajuku is being lowered and I wanted to know what you think about it
Firstly, I’d like to thank you for this comment — it’s pretty interesting and I’m glad to have the opportunity to talk about it.
Although our name is Harajuju we are not a Harajuku fashion focused community. I chose the name Harajuju largely because it’s fun to say, but also because Harajuju is the heart of a lot of street fashion movements in Japan. We also don’t mandate any particular styles on our forum; it doesn’t even have to be Japanese. That said, I think most of what is posted on our site would fit in on the streets of Harajuku.
The thing is, Japanese fashion loving outsiders (meaning, those who don’t live in or haven’t been to Japan — I am one, myself) often have a very stereotypical view of what represents Harajuku fashion. So when someone says “Harajuku fashion,” it’s easy to jump to something like this:
However, this is sincerely a “white-washed” view of Harajuku fashion. Harajuku is one of the street style capitols of the world with a dizzying variety of aesthetic cultures. So while the above image is Harajuku, so is the below.
Using “Harajuku fashion” as an adjective of style is ultimately a pretty meaningless exercise. It’s like saying “I like tasty food”; it could mean so many things that in the end it doesn’t mean anything at all. Japanese fashion exists beyond the crazy, the colorful, the loud, the aggressive, the fairy-tale-esque. It’s a spectacular prism of personal expression.
Men’s Non-no, Eyescream, and Warp are all publications with focused communities, ideals, and a large readership. Each are focused on what brands they represent, the people they cover and interview, and models they utilize. They all in many ways question gender constructions of masculinity and femininity and as a whole are extremely sensitive to social change.
First, two really big terms I want to discuss are dokusha (reader) models and charisma clerks. Dokusha models are usually scouted on the street or chosen from readers who submit themselves. They’re cheaper and because they’re not managed are easier to work with. On the other hand, charisma clerks are literally store staff who become popular and famous. It’s usually used when discussing the Shibuya 109 staff, but a current example would be the staff in Koenji or clerks at FAKETOKYO. Undoubtedly an important aspect of Japanese menswear magazines are the people who are depicted wearing the clothing. For their readers these celebrities, models, store staff, and others are idols to relate to and project themselves onto. These “everyday” celebrity models make these magazines’ messages easier to send directly to their target audience. In this way their readers are able to potentially meet, in person relate to, and legitimize these “celebrities”. Therefore it is essential to pin-point who is popular and a trendsetter. By using people who embody their featured styles these magazines create a community who keep the magazine alive and within their target audience.
Men’s Non-no was originally launched by publisher Shueisha in 1987. While its target consists of male high school and university students a large percentage of their readership are actual female. Men’s Non-no is broken down in that it’s divided by boutiques, Japanese brands and designers, then global brands. Common brands featured are often Factotum, LAD MUSICIAN. N.Hoolywood, MIHARAYASUHIRO, Paul Smith, White Mountaineering, Dior Homme, nonnative, Comme des Garcons, and others with similar aesthetics. A big thing about this magazine is that most of the models are Japanese or a person of mixed ethnicity. Often times in men’s fashion-focused Japanese magazines a large majority of models are Western. In many ways Western models can convey American values and ideas. Yet this imagery is more about the “imagined West” rather than the reality. Ex: Think Nakamura’s Visvim skewed ideal of American style. Men’s Non-no has a great street snap section and is big on coordinates. There are usually more than one advice section on how to wear a garment, or numerous garments more than one way. Weekly, day to night, seasonal, and day 1 to day 2 are all big coordinate features within Non-no. http://www.mensnonno.jp/
Eyescream is all about how artists and designers work along with their progression. It’s a much more personal and behind-the-scenes type of magazine which switches the focus from the product to the people who create them. Eyescream is all about Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi, Nigo, Takeshi Osumi, Kitamura Nobuhiko (Hysteric Glamour), Takahiro Miyashita (The Soloist), Hiroki Nakamura (Visvim), Nishiyama Tetsu (Wtaps), Shinsuke Takizawa (Neighborhood), and many more like them. Eyescream also features creative news, music and movie reviews, gallery openings, parties and events, among more lifestyle features. http://www.eyescream.jp/
Warp is more of a lifestyle magazine without a doubt. Rather than focusing on fashion or product, Warp is more about being stylish and living a life which reflects that. Warp is also really big on giving free gift cds and usually asks people who are featured to create a mixtape for the magazine, which is obviously a huge plus. Overall its really street focused with interests ranging from graffiti to skateboarding, music, movies, parties and events, global culture, artists, designers, and often times does specific features on a group of people or creative persons within a country. The brands that are covered are usually like Supreme, Wtaps, BOUNTY HUNTER, Stussy, Neighborhood, SWAGGER, and others of the like. Warp has a pretty professional do-it-yourself feel to it and is much more communal. There aren’t really a lot of models so most of the magazine really consists of musicians, djs, store staff, celebrities, and et cetera. Some nameable people featured a lot are like Verbal and Yoon, RIP SLYME, Jon-E, Takeshi Osumi (Big O), DJ DARUMA, DJ MAAR, Jommy, Chaki, DABO, U of Faline Tokyo, and others within that scene. http://www.warpweb.jp/index.html
Please read my blog entry for circle lenses! It’s really important and I think you guys should all know. Most of you guys have been purchasing FAKE circle lenses. That’s why some people have been getting eye infections. Here’s a sneak preview of what I mean.
LOL SO TRUE. Japanese don’t really wear lolita and stuff…very few of us do.
Well, that’s not really what I was getting at. Whether or not it’s mainstream has very little to do with whether it’s legitimate or not. If anything, the nicheness of styles like this is what makes them especially appealing to foreigners — there’s just something very uniquely Japanese about particularly subversive Harajuku fashion trends. However, even if a show was to be completely populated by subversive styles, it would be nice to see more than two or three.
As someone who goes to Anime North, I’d like to tell you that year by year AN has been getting more and more fashion oriented people at the con. The lolita community has notice a steady increase of better and better Lolita outfit. And personally I have been trying to push fashion oriented things at Anime North, this year Im bringing 4 panels on lolita, 1 on mori girl, a swap meet and helping in the fashion show. I think you should really consider coming to this convention :) It not going to happen overnight off course. My non-lolita panels usually have poor attendance but I really want to see this take off :)
Thanks for your response. With regards to Anime North, I’m not really convinced — I was there last year and while there was certainly a solid lolita presence there was nothing particularly new or interesting. I sat in on a few general Japanese fashion panels and they were abysmal. There was one in particular where people openly talked about experiences while wearing Japanese fashion, but it was largely a bunch of saccharine “be yourself!” stuff. One guy was sharing his experiences about wearing a jester hat in high school. I guess that certainly is subversive, though.
This isn’t to rag on anime or anything like it — I watch a lot of anime and otherwise nerdy Japanese shit — but I just don’t think the atmosphere of an anime convention is generally very interesting to people who are into fashion. There are exceptions, of course. Sakuracon is having shows for h.NAOTO, Chantilly and Atelier Pierrot. But serious fashion people are likely not going to be hanging around furries and hardcore otaku. In the end, I decided that just because these are Japanese culture conventions doesn’t mean they really align with the realities of Japanese fashion. Still, I wish you luck in your events.