Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Harajuku Lovers

Gwen Stefani's lines LAMB and Harajuku Lovers are inspired by Harajuku Japanese style. Stefani sings in her song Harajuku Girls,

Harajuku girls, I'm looking at you girls
You're so original girls
You got the look that makes you stand out
Harajuku Girls, I'm looking at you girls
You mix and match it girls
You dress so fly and just parade around (arigato)

But what exactly is a Harajuku Girl and what is this fashion style that Gwen Stefani raves about?

In the 1980s unconventional street fashion popped up in the streets of Harjuku Tokyo. Some of this fashion is what is know as "Lolita"which is a style that borrows from the Rococo and Victorian periods. The clothes are often inspired from children's styles of the time (rather than adult fashion). The dresses and aesthetic may look doll-like in appearance. In that way they often reject sexualization of popular youth fashion and take a step in the opposite direction. It is meant to be cute and modest by its followers. (Although it is sometimes confused due its shared name with the popular novel.) There are many influences that contribute to the street style including Punk and Gothic as well.

One subtype of street fashion is referred to as "Gothic Lolita". Unlike American Gothic fashion, however, Gothic Lolita attempts to incorporate cuteness and sweetness rather than morbidity and fetishism. Other features of Japanese street style may include bright colors in clothes and hair. There may also be a mesh of what seems like a chaotic collection of accessories and clothing to an observer who dresses more to the traditional norm.

For some examples here are some pictures taken by famous street fashion photographer Shoichi Aoki:

My favorite shop for Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion is Metamorphose. It is one of the few Japanese Gothic Lolita stores I have found that ships to the US.

If your are interested in learning more about Gothic Lolita check out the Gothic Lolita Bible available at Amazon.com

Sources: Lolita and Japanese Society by Nessa Neko, Lolitafashion.org, wikipedia.com. To find out more about Harajuku fashion please visit these sites.

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