Harajuku street fashion + interview with me
Many thanks to all the lovely people that took the time to read my google translate and let me photograph them for this interview with James Butters from Arcana Imperii (arcanaimperii.co.nz)
James: What word would you use to describe Japanese street fashion?
Anna: Contrast! Contrast describes Japanese fashion, and Japan in general. Conservative/eclectic, zaney/straight, fun/boring, creative/mundane. I love that where ever we are in the world the underlying mindset of the place is revealed through the language of fashion.
James: What has been your impression of Japan fashion since you landed?
Anna: The fashion is a direct mirror of the country itself. Most people dress very conservatively. Ingrained in Japanese culture is the importance of being humble and working together. Japanese society literally sees itself as one entity. I was very interested by this. It seems like there is a deep respect and focus on everything one does, everyone is immaculate in whatever fashion style they are wearing. I see the orderly, rule abiding six-day-workweek nature of the society in the suits. Japan is still very 'traditional', typically men work and women are home makers, it has the biggest gender gap in equality in the developed world. There is also an imbedded strict uniform and hierarchical culture. With so many rules and expectations, of course people need to find a way to express their true self. Fashion is an excellent and acceptable way to express oneself in Japan. I love seeing people in eclectic colourful outfits, or with a whole face full of piercings. Harajuku is the melting pot of different fashion styles and sub cultures.
James: Would you consider Harajuku to be more performance pieces, almost costume/wearable art like, or is it still wearable and comfortable clothing?
Anna: It's both wearable art and comfortable clothing. The balance between performance and wearability changes depending on the person and if there is an event on.
James: What can we learn from Harajuku Fashion?
Anna: Harajuku reminds us that there are all sorts of different ways to express ourselves through fashion and that diversity is a positive and wonderful thing. We don’t have to like all fashion styles but we can celebrate the diversity of fashion and people. Live and let live and rejoice in freedom wherever we can find it!
Japan fashion shows us that although it is positive to work together as a group [culturally] we also need to honour the unique person that we are :)