COURTNEY LOVE & HYSTERIC GLAMOUR BABY DOLL DRESS COLLABORATION. CUTE YUMMY TIME IN WOMAN'S DAY & METRO NY, JAPAN TREND SCOUTING.
I mentioned Twittering with Courtney Love in my last post. It’s a funny story: the Hole singer/actress found my blog because she loves Harajuku fashion, especially Gothic Lolita. In a typical OCD move, she flooded my Twitter inbox with messages and asked me to call her, so I did — and we chatted for over an hour. I probably shouldn’t spill the specifics, but suffice it to say that Courtney knows the Goth/punk brands and Takeshita Doori inside out.
Courtney also told me about her collaboration with Hysteric Glamour and friendship with the designer, Nobu. Above is a dress from the recent collection. It’s a Courtney through and throughout: the baby doll cut, the faded florals and photos (which look like the mood boards she creates). Nylon Magazine has a behind-the-scenes video from the photoshoot found in this month’s issue. What do you think of the Hysteric Glamour x Courtney Love collaboration?
I’m recovering from my Cute Yummy Time book tour and five days of Halloween. Til then, let’s play catch up. I have three new articles on CNNGo I think you’ll enjoy:
† Cute characters get artsy. Who would have thought Hello Kitty and Super Mario Brothers would become modern-day muses? Artists are recreating their images, and other Asian icons like them, in inspired mediums, including rice paddies and snow.
† 5 Asian theme parks that confuse and disturb. Nevermind the roller coasters. At these amusement parks, it’s the Hello Kitty musicals and male organs in the ladies room that will make you scream.
† Learn Asian languages the entertaining way! Put down your books and pick up Korean from a Hangul rap song, Japanese from a Nintendo DS game, or Chinese through Facebook apps.
Metro NY and Metro Philadelphia recently printed an article about my cookbook Cute Yummy Time. It made it onto the cover…
… and my Scottish Fold cat Basil Farrow steals the show inside!
Last but not least, Harukosama interviewed me about “cool hunting” or Japanese trend-scouting. You can read my thoughts after the jump.
How did you get started as an author / illustrator / photographer?
As a child, I spent my free time creating adventure stories and drawing Hello Kitty-style characters. And I did exactly this in my new books Cute Yummy Time and Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants.
My current path began with my La Carmina blog (http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/) about Japanese fashion and pop culture, which I debuted in September 2007. I didn’t think it would be more than a hobby – but my literary agent thought otherwise. We pitched the two books and when they got picked up, I realized she was onto something. I feel insanely lucky to have the opportunities to co-host a Travel Channel show and travel constantly to Tokyo, and I’m excited about what lies ahead.
What inspired you to specialize in new Japanese subcultures and fashion?
I began blogging about everything that thrilled me – and that happens to be Harajuku style and subcultures. The content of the site evolved organically, but this is a subject that never ceases to inspire me. I’ve never encountered writer’s block.
You have written some awesome books on crazy themed restaurants and adorable food- what spiked your interest on these subjects?
I adore the kitschy-cute-crazy side of Japanese pop culture. On my trips to Tokyo, I encountered this in the form of cute character bentos and maid/cosplay/theme cafés. My reaction: “Eeeeeeek!” I pounded out blog posts about these subjects and they got a great response, so I decided to explore them further in my books.
What does it take to be a good trend spotter?
I don’t consider myelf a trend spotter; I’m just someone who has a personal passion for Goth/alternative subcultures, kawaii and J-pop. I am eager to participate in events and meet others who share these interests. From this network, I pick up information about trends, parties, designers, restaurants etc.
What are your favorite sources of information and inspiration?
My dark and decadent Tokyo friends and spook-tastic blog readers! One can pick up information from deliberate research, but not feeling (if that makes sense). I think personal interaction – Gchatting, dressing up together, getting drunk on convenience store alcohol and singing karaoke all night – is the best and most organic way to get plugged in.
What are the best and most difficult aspects of being a coolhunter (that is to say, someone who specializes in interesting cultural developments, fashion subcultures, innovative new products, and the like)?
I suppose there is pressure to “stay relevant” and report on trends before anyone else, but I’ve never had this problem because my blog is a personal one. I write about my adventures with my friends; I only cover the topics that fascinate me. (For example, I don’t write about manga, anime or electronics.) If a reader finds my content helpful for “cool hunting,” that’s great — but it’s not my main intention.
Would you recommend any books, blogs, places, or activities to aspiring trend spotters? Do you have any particular advice for people who might want to go into the trend spotting line of work?
Live it, love it. Wear the clothes, go to the parties, be passionate and curious and don’t over-analyze. It’s essential to approach people as comrades, not research subjects. I feel that these actions must flow naturally and pertain to who you are; I would be a terrible hip hop “cool hunter,” for example.
As you can see, La Carmina doesn’t write about cool trends because she is trying to serve a client’s needs; she writes because she wants to. It is impossible to be an effective coolhunter (or writer, president, spy, mascot… anything!) if you’re not passionate about your work.
La Carmina also touches on an important aspect of trend spotting- that it’s not all about formal research and data (which is what many traditional market researchers focus on). Real understanding comes from personal interaction, relationships, and first-hand experience.