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HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR.


HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, lolita models

I’m jealous of those of you who live near Washington, DC — because there is currently an enticing exhibit of avantgarde Japanese fashion at the Textile Museum. Seminal pieces by Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto are on display. The show ends on April 11 — has anyone seen it yet?

Last Sunday, the museum had a special Harajuku Japanese Street Chic Demonstration & Fashion Show in conjunction with the current exhibit. I was kindly offered passes to the event; since I’m currently filming for the NHK documentary in NYC, my friend Chi attended and took copious notes.

HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, lolita models

The blue-wigged keynote speaker was Nick Ferris of the Alexandria, VA anime and gaming convention T-Mode. He spoke about the history of Harajuku and the significance of the Jingu Bridge. Notably, he said this subculture was an “escape from the structured and rigid culture” of Japan. The bridge is a meeting place; “[Harajuku] is really in the social context today…. People are really trying to express their individuality.”

Ferris continued: “Fashion has a way of bringing together people at Harajuku that doesn’t really happen anywhere else.” He cited the ‘free hugs’ and how youths become instant friends become when they see a costume they like.

He spoke about the different styles: Cosplay, Visual Kei, Aristocrat/boystyle, and Kawaii. Ferris talked in depth about the different spins on Lolita fashion — Classic, Punk, Wa, Qi, Hime, Sailor — and said, “the most popular subgenre of Lolita is Gothic Lolita.”

HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, lolita models

Next, three American girls took the mike and spoke about how they make Harajuku street style their own. Amelia Hyman (center, 15 yrs old) wore a Gothic Lolita dress inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts. Her outfit was mostly from Hot Topic, and she put the rest of the costume together herself. She is saving up for another one after her birthday in August.

According to Savant Thomas (right), “Harajuku is like walking into a wonderland of creative culture and artists.” Her dress and bag are from Harajuku, the bows in her hair she did herself, and her rings are from Hot Topic.

HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, lolita models

Amy Elizabeth cosplayed as Visual Kei singer Kaya. Her outfit is inspired by the Chocolat music video. She made 85% of the costume herself, and the rest she put together.

HARAJUKU FASHION SHOW AT WASHINGTON DC TEXTILE MUSEUM: GOTHIC & SWEET LOLITA FASHION SHOW, COSPLAY, JAPAN STREET CHIC SEMINAR, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Mary Baskett Collection, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, lolita models

After, there was a fashion show of various street styles you’d see in Harajuku, such as Sweet Lolita.

Ferris made an intriguing comment about the future of Harajuku fashion. He speculates that the Great Recession will result in the simplification of outfits; he noted that Versace closed all its stores in Japan, and that the community has welcomed cheaper American stores such as the H&M, Zara, and Forever 21. “Ultimately though, Harajuku trends will continue be dictated by the whims of Harajuku youths, referring to the power of one individual to change fashion.”

I also thought it was interesting that many of the girls buy pieces from Hot Topic and other American retailers to create their outfits. I personally find it refreshing to hear from voices that aren’t brand or coordination elitists; these girls find DIY/creative ways to bring Harajuku style into their lives, even if they don’t have a large budget or brands.

Your thoughts on the Japanese fashion demonstration at the DC Textile Museum? I hope you are enjoying the guest reports; I have several fabulous ones of Tokyo and Kansai events coming up. And I’ll of course take you behind the scenes at my NHK TV shoot… you can keep track of the filming on my Twitter.

Song of the Day #282: D’erlanger – Angelic Poetry

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41 Comments

  1. Posted January 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    O0o0h I like the Kaya cosplay the best~ ^^
    I’m not that good at sewing (in fact, I fail at it but I’m getting better), so I have to put together outfits. You can find stuff from Forever XXI and put together an outfit a J-Rocker would wear or something… nothing all visual-kei’d out but one of their casual outfits, and I still consider that Japanese street fashion.

    • Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Totally — it’s what people in Japan do!

      • Posted January 13, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Wouldn’t just putting together a bunch of clothes and accessories that can coordinate pretty well be considered Japanese street fashion?

    • Posted January 31, 2010 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      Thank you very much for liking my Kaya cosplay. I need to do some more work on him to make him look much more like the original but he does look very nice as is.
      I also am one to put lots of my Lolita outfits together without paying a name-brand price. I will admit that I will spend that kind of money on certain name brands if I have the ability but won’t go that far. I would rather just make it.
      I am a huge fan of Moi Meme Moitie and Takuya Angel. I plan on starting my own type of Lolita based on those two designers. Hope it works out.
      Thank you again for the kind compliments

      Aimee Elizabeth
      aka Ami-Chan

      • Posted January 31, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        You’re welcome — it looked like a great event! Your upcoming fashion line sounds awesome — keep me posted on it; I’d love to see your designs. :)

  2. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a fun event! Some cool outfits there.

    I’m skeptical of the idea of harajuku outfits becoming simplified due to the recession. Big brands have never been all harajuku is about. It’s usually a combination of brand and other types of clothing, including handmade (And btw, I think Forever 21 is the only American brand of those 3). The outrageous clothing will always be the key, whether or not people can afford expensive brands. I’m also doubting whether the people who can afford the expensive brands are the ones affected by the recession in the first place…

    Nice song of the day with D’ERLANGER…a blast from the past!

    • Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      I would agree with that. I think a lot of Westerners get the impression that “Harajuku fashion” is about big brand names because that’s all that is found in magazines such as GL Bible. But when you’re hanging out in the area or going to the clubs, you’ll see outrageously awesome mixes of high, low and handmade. Often, DJ SiSEN would have 100 yen striped colored armbands, a handmade cyber wig, Takuya Angel skirt and mask… and from what we’ve seen from recent photos, his outfits are only getting more extravagant!

  3. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I should go check this out when I go to Baltimore to shoot promo shots for [geist]

  4. Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m very happy to see so many girls get creative with their clothing. Brand elitists bother me, because can you really call it “style” if you just copy the magazines? Expensive labels don’t always mean good clothing, and throwing your own creativity into an outfit is half the fun of wearing it.

    When I attend a panel on lolita at conventions, the speakers always talk about really strict outlines for wearing lolita, and they bash non-brand clothing. I think it’s rather silly, because if you look at what Japanese lolitas wear, it’s nowhere near as strait-laced (haha) as the panelists would lead you to think.

    What was I saying again? Oh, right. Being original is fun, wheeeee!

    • Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more. I wish girls and guys wouldn’t be dissuaded from experimenting — that’s what fashion should be about! Seems like this fashion show and keynote speech were far more open and balanced .

  5. Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    :o

  6. Posted January 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    O0o0h I like the Kaya cosplay the best~ ^^
    I'm not that good at sewing (in fact, I fail at it but I'm getting better), so I have to put together outfits. You can find stuff from Forever XXI and put together an outfit a J-Rocker would wear or something… nothing all visual-kei'd out but one of their casual outfits, and I still consider that Japanese street fashion.

  7. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a fun event! Some cool outfits there.

    I'm skeptical of the idea of harajuku outfits becoming simplified due to the recession. Big brands have never been all harajuku is about. It's usually a combination of brand and other types of clothing, including handmade (And btw, I think Forever 21 is the only American brand of those 3). The outrageous clothing will always be the key, whether or not people can afford expensive brands. I'm also doubting whether the people who can afford the expensive brands are the ones affected by the recession in the first place…

    Nice song of the day with D'ERLANGER…a blast from the past!

  8. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I would agree with that. I think a lot of Westerners get the impression that “Harajuku fashion” is about big brand names because that's all that is found in magazines such as GL Bible. But when you're hanging out in the area or going to the clubs, you'll see outrageously awesome mixes of high, low and handmade. Often, DJ SiSEN would have 100 yen striped colored armbands, a handmade cyber wig, Takuya Angel skirt and mask… and from what we've seen from recent photos, his outfits are only getting more extravagant!

  9. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I should go check this out when I go to Baltimore to shoot promo shots for [geist]

  10. Posted January 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    You're so mean, encouraging those itas Amelia and Savant.

  11. Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    ah i wish i couldve went, mii brother used to live there, and a couple of his friends get to go to things like this! but i dont think that buying things from a certain store should count against you (like most people think) if you like something, wear it, if you dont like it, make it to fit your personality, just like in one of your older blogs when you had the pink prom dress and fitted it more towards your gothic style. i just luved that post!^_^

    • Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I think anyone interested in fashion loses out big-time when he or she refuses to explore beyond certain looks and brands… there are so many interesting items out there, and the heart of Harajuku style is mix/matching.

      I’ll try to do more DIY posts soon! xo

  12. Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I'm very happy to see so many girls get creative with their clothing. Brand elitists bother me, because can you really call it “style” if you just copy the magazines? Expensive labels don't always mean good clothing, and throwing your own creativity into an outfit is half the fun of wearing it.

    When I attend a panel on lolita at conventions, the speakers always talk about really strict outlines for wearing lolita, and they bash non-brand clothing. I think it's rather silly, because if you look at what Japanese lolitas wear, it's nowhere near as strait-laced (haha) as the panelists would lead you to think.

    What was I saying again? Oh, right. Being original is fun, wheeeee!

  13. Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I couldn't agree more. I wish girls and guys wouldn't be dissuaded from experimenting — that's what fashion should be about! Seems like this fashion show and keynote speech were far more open and balanced .

  14. Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    :o

  15. Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I wish there was more of the really far out Tokyo Decadance type clothes and make-up modelled – there’s more to Japanese subculture than just Visual Kei and lolita, as we well know!

    Just on the “cheaper American stores” thing – whilst Forever 21 is American (founded by Korean immigrants no less!), H&M is Swedish, and Zara comes from Spain! The last 2 are huge in the UK and I used to assume they were English til I researched.

    • Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      hahah spot on. I guess I was thinking about “retail stores in America where you can buy inexpensive clothes” rather than the country where the retail store was founded — but you’re right.

  16. Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    ah i wish i couldve went, mii brother used to live there, and a couple of his friends get to go to things like this! but i dont think that buying things from a certain store should count against you (like most people think) if you like something, wear it, if you dont like it, make it to fit your personality, just like in one of your older blogs when you had the pink prom dress and fitted it more towards your gothic style. i just luved that post!^_^

  17. Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I wish there was more of the really far out Tokyo Decadance type clothes and make-up modelled – there's more to Japanese subculture than just Visual Kei and lolita, as we well know!

    Just on the “cheaper American stores” thing – whilst Forever 21 is American (founded by Korean immigrants no less!), H&M is Swedish, and Zara comes from Spain! The last 2 are huge in the UK and I used to assume they were English til I researched.

  18. Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Those are all wonderful outfits! I wish I could get the courage to wear things like that. Because I like them. Teehee.

    • Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I love wearing outfits out to clubs… there, everyone is encouraged to be courageous! ^^

  19. Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    ah i wish i couldve went, mii brother used to live there, and a couple of his friends get to go to things like this! but i dont think that buying things from a certain store should count against you (like most people think) if you like something, wear it, if you dont like it, make it to fit your personality, just like in one of your older blogs when you had the pink prom dress and fitted it more towards your gothic style. i just luved that post!^_^

  20. Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    H&M and Zara aren’t American ;) I think Zara is Spanish and H&M is Swedish for sure.
    The event seems really great! I wish I could go. I’m now back in Sweden after a great trip to Tokyo! <3 I already wanna plan the next trip, haha…

  21. Posted January 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Those are all wonderful outfits! I wish I could get the courage to wear things like that. Because I like them. Teehee.

  22. Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    ah i wish i couldve went, mii brother used to live there, and a couple of his friends get to go to things like this! but i dont think that buying things from a certain store should count against you (like most people think) if you like something, wear it, if you dont like it, make it to fit your personality, just like in one of your older blogs when you had the pink prom dress and fitted it more towards your gothic style. i just luved that post!^_^

  23. Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I think anyone interested in fashion loses out big-time when he or she refuses to explore beyond certain looks and brands… there are so many interesting items out there, and the heart of Harajuku style is mix/matching.

    I'll try to do more DIY posts soon! xo

  24. Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Totally — it's what people in Japan do!

  25. Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    hahah spot on. I guess I was thinking about “retail stores in America where you can buy inexpensive clothes” rather than the country where the retail store was founded — but you're right.

  26. Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I love wearing outfits out to clubs… there, everyone is encouraged to be courageous! ^^

  27. Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    H&M and Zara aren't American ;) I think Zara is Spanish and H&M is Swedish for sure.
    The event seems really great! I wish I could go. I'm now back in Sweden after a great trip to Tokyo! <3 I already wanna plan the next trip, haha…

  28. Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Yeah! It sold out and you have photos! Luv Luv Luv you!

  29. Posted January 13, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn't just putting together a bunch of clothes and accessories that can coordinate pretty well be considered Japanese street fashion?

  30. Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Yeah! It sold out and you have photos! Luv Luv Luv you!

  31. Posted January 31, 2010 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you very much for liking my Kaya cosplay. I need to do some more work on him to make him look much more like the original but he does look very nice as is.
    I also am one to put lots of my Lolita outfits together without paying a name-brand price. I will admit that I will spend that kind of money on certain name brands if I have the ability but won't go that far. I would rather just make it.
    I am a huge fan of Moi Meme Moitie and Takuya Angel. I plan on starting my own type of Lolita based on those two designers. Hope it works out.
    Thank you again for the kind compliments

    Aimee Elizabeth
    aka Ami-Chan

  32. Posted January 31, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    You're welcome — it looked like a great event! Your upcoming fashion line sounds awesome — keep me posted on it; I'd love to see your designs. :)

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