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A Look into Harajuku Fashion and Its Trends

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Harajuku is the fashion mecca of Japan, bringing forth countless fashion styles from its streets that are brimming with creativity. Come learn more about this area and about the popular fashion trends, both new and old, that started in Harajuku!

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People both young and old can be fans and enthusiasts of Harajuku fashion. The fashion culture of Harajuku has permeated a wide age range from the younger generation to middle-aged and elderly, as well as to tourists coming from abroad to visit the famous Harajuku area itself. Harajuku is always brimming with creative energy and brings forth new trends constantly, attracting people of all generations.

As a place where unique fashion and self-expression is respected, it's no wonder that Harajuku is a popular place to show off your individuality, regardless of your age or gender.

Why is Harajuku a Trend-Setting Area?

Located between Shinjuku, the heart of Tokyo metropolis, and Shibuya, the center of youth culture, Harajuku is known as a lively gathering place for all young people and artists alike. There are many well established clubs, art galleries, and art studios in the area, as well as unique cafes where creative minds and youths enjoy hanging out and expressing their own unique styles.

What Is Harajuku Fashion? A Brief Introduction

Takeshita Street, hidden behind the high buildings lining Omotesando Avenue, is a popular area full of small original brand shops. They sell all sorts of truly unique items from various outfits to accessories, all created by creative Japanese designers. There are also convenient 100 yen shops and a variety of stores selling popular sweets like cotton candy and crepes, many of which you'll often see long lines in front of. All of these small and unique storefronts are always attracting many customers, giving Takeshita Street or Takeshita-dori lively, exciting, and youthful vibes.

Omotesando Avenue, the street connecting the area around Harajuku Station and the Omotesando/Aoyama area, is known as "Tokyo's Champs Elysee" and is filled with famous brand shops.

What Is Harajuku Fashion? A Brief Introduction

Laforet Harajuku is a large shopping center located on this street, home to most of the unique fashion brands that made Harajuku famous.

What Is Harajuku Fashion? A Brief Introduction

While Laforet may be appealing to those especially in their 20s, the Tokyo Plaza Omotesando-Harajuku across the street from Laforet caters to customers in their 30s. If you head in the direction towards Aoyama, you will come across Omotesando Hills, a complex commercial facility that appeals to a more mature clientele. Events such as VOGUE's Fashion Night Out and other fashion shows are held at Omotesando Hills, making it a classy area that's always the center of attention.

Harajuku Fashion and Popular Movements

As fashion is constantly evolving in Harajuku, you'll want to keep your eyes on the latest and hottest trends going on in the area. Here we'll go over some of the newer styles Harajuku is known for lately, along with spots that are drawing the attention of all those that are fashion-minded.

street art

Photo by Pixta

Inspired by Street Art

The street art of Harajuku has influenced the fashion scene, you'll find clothing shops that use graffiti and street art as a motif in their prints and designs. The fresh, artistic vibes give the streets of Harajuku the colors it deserves.

Those interested should swing by shops like FR2, X-Girl, and Obey Tokyo in the Harajuku area.

Casual Fashion for Everyday Use

Not sure where to look for filling your wardrobe? There are plenty of shops in Harajuku that are both casual but follow the latest fashion trends, offering tons of hot items featuring the latest designs and patterns that are needless to say, popular amongst young shoppers.

We recommend stepping into a WEGO, EMODA, or MOUSSY to begin your fashion journey!

Techno Futuristic Fashion

With technology and fashion constantly fusing, techno-futuristic/cyberpunk-like fashion naturally started trending in Harajuku. Accessories and articles of clothing with LED lights and electronic devices built in makes for a very futuristic, unique style that has gained popularity.

Those seeking to put together a cool, futuristic outfit can try visiting shops like A- COLD-WALL*C2H4, or Y-3.

street fashion

Photo by Pixta

Genderless/Gender-Neutral Apparel

Genderless and gender-neutral fashion is becoming more prevalent, and the styles of Harajuku are also evolving without being tied to the antiquated boundaries of gender. Unisex and androgynous fashion designs are growing in popularity, and fashion styles that fit to each individual is strongly supported.

Find some unisex or androgynous apparel can be found in stores like NIKITADRESSEDUNDRESSE, and MUZE.

Hybrid Fashion

Various different styles of fashion combined with other cultures is giving birth to new, hybrid forms of fashion. Examples include mixing traditional Japanese clothing with streetwear, combining classic elements with modern designs to create a distinct and fresh style of fashion.

Begin your hybrid fashion adventure by visiting designer shops like COMME des GARÇONSSacai, and UNDERCOVER.

Avant-garde Accessories

Bold and experimental accessories can help your outfit stand out in the Harajuku fashion scene. There are many accessories and ornaments designed with themes like space and future, providing a way to give your clothing some depth and artistic flare!

Shop for some unique jewelry and accessory pieces to complete your look at shops like AMBUSH, MIKIA, and Bubbles!

Just Like a Princess! The Features of Lolita Fashion

Lolita fashion refers to the style that features Victorian, Edwardian, and sometimes even Georgian inspired dresses that come in a variety of light colors and patterns with plenty of frills and lace. These outfits often consist of panniers, bloomers, stockings, bonnets or headbands, and sometimes corsets, requiring some work to pull off a polished look.

There are several subsets to the Lolita genre, among which the most common is Gothic Lolita, also called Goth-Loli. Although similar to regular Lolita fashion, the Gothic style emphasizes a more literal dark side of the fashion. Dark colors like black, burgundy, and grays are often used. Imagine a cute take on Victorian mourning fashion and you will have a reasonably good idea of what this style entails.

Gothic Lolita

Photo by Pixta

Lolita and Gothic Lolita fashion have both spread in popularity overseas over the past decades. Goth-Loli fashion rose in popularity when Visual Kei bands such as X Japan and Vamps first became popular outside of Japan. Visual Kei bands often stand out by donning Gothic-rocker style and similar costumes for their musical performances. The appeal of this aesthetic helped spread this style around the world.

Famous Lolita and Goth-Loli brands include h.NAOTO, Angelic Pretty, BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT, metamorphose temps de fille, and more.

If you're interested in trying out Lolita or Goth-Loli fashion yourself, Laforet Harajuku may be a good starting place to find fitting fashion items for your outfit. This department store of fashion is full of small, trendy shops offering the newest and hottest fashion items. Check and find which of the many fashion styles showcased there would look best on you!

The Characteristics of Eccentric Fashion - Even Sweets Are Fashionable!?


Photo by Pixta

Eccentric pop fashionwhich was once the hot trend in Harajuku, consisted of clothing with pastel or neon colors, with intriguingly unique accessories, such as flamingo headbands or seashell shaped backpacks. Hair dyed in pastel colors or streaked with hair chalk was also popular with all genders, and it really felt like a time where there were no rules as to what or how many patterns one can combine into a single outfit.

The defining point of this style was just to be unique, so finding what suited you the best and putting together your dream outfit was a process that the followers of this aesthetic took very seriously. Popular brands that helped this style of fashion become a trend included SPINNS, jouetie, galaxxxy, Candy Stripper, Jeremy Scott, and many, many more.

This style of fashion has also evolved, in the modern day you'll find bits of retro elements arranged into modern styles to create a retro-futuristic type of fashion. Many fashion trends tend to come back around, and nowadays you'll find trends from 80s and 90s Japan making its way back into fashion design, such as items that use retro patterns and color blocks back in the day. While styles like oversized clothing and pop culture references have become mainstream, they can still be considered as a part of Harajuku fashion. 

The Freedom to Wear What You Want

Harajuku fashion symbolizes the freedom to wear and be what you want. All the styles born in this area are defined by a creative approach to fashion, so that one's style becomes an expression of one's personality. Visit Harajuku and you might find yourself positively inspired by the uniqueness of the styles worn by the creative people hanging out in this area.

Written by

A Japanese girl who loves Japanese Rock music especially L'Arc-en-Ciel and VAMPS! L'Arc-en-Ciel、VAMPSをこよなく愛する20代です。全国どこでもライブを見に飛び回ってます。出身は山口県下関市です。 日本のロックミュージックと山口の知られていない魅力を中心に、様々な魅力を世界に発信していきたいと思います!

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