GROWZE is new womenswear abel founded by Yukiko and Misaki Kubo, the same Osaka couple behind popular off-brand gal clothing retailer GALSTAR. The brand concept goes something like this:
Women with resilient determination, women who are not afraid to step up to any challenges in life… They are the inspiration to our designers. Basic monotone pattern is enhanced with the carefully selected details, and the sophisticated color coordination completes the signature GROWZE style. GROWZE brand is designed to bring out the refined elegance and self-assurance in every woman.
So what makes GROWZE special? Despite being a Japanese brand, all of their physical presence so far is in the US. What’s that? Yes, ladies, if you happen to live in L.A., then these stylish duds are only a hop, skip, and a jump away, with plans for more stores in other cities in the works. With jackets for $165 and jeans for $130 and inventory being added every three weeks, the price point is markedly higher than anything you’d buy from sister store GALSTAR, but still in line with other fast fashion retailers like Zara and Topshop. Currently online shopping for the brand is only available in Japan. Take a peek at the L.A. store interior:
While they make the proud claim of the “latest clothes from L.A,” it seems like GROWZE still rolls in true Japanese fashion, with a brand blog populated with updates on all the latest arrivals and snaps of stylish shop staff. The vibe of the clothes is always edgy, sometimes playful, and definitely on-trend. Fans of similarly styled Japanese adult gal brands GYDA and FIG&VIPER would probably feel right at home with these clothes.
That in mind, here are some selections from their fashion blogger-esque lookbook and brand blog:
In the end, the most impressive part of all this seems to be the the fact that a Japanese company is making a real effort to expand into a foreign market, not really the clothes themselves. And as the line between East and West continues to blur with brands like GROWZE, part of me wonders what this means for the future of adult gal brands and Japanese fashion in general. Can it really be considered Japanese fashion when the things that often make a brand uniquely Japanese—apart from maybe their business model—start becoming less detectable? Let us know your thoughts!
You have to clarify which jacket you are talking about.
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.
Anonymous asked harajuju:
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:
(photos from tokyofashion.com)
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.