Thursday, October 11, 2007

Harajuku 101

Harajuku style originated among teens on the streets of the Harajuku Shopping District in Tokyo.

Gwen Stefani introduced Harajuku street fashion to America.

However, the Harajuku style did not start with Gwen, and it will not end with her either. The shopping district can be found in the area by the Harajuku train station in Tokyo, Japan.
One girl asked me: "How do you dress Harajuku style?"
And that is a tough question to answer. The reason being, street styles evolve and change 24/7. Thats what makes them so facinating.

But the first step to dressing Harajuku, is to understand that there are FIVE different TYPES of Harajuku dress. Yes, there are sub-divisions within the Harajuku culture.

Type 1: Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita Harajuku style consists of wearing a mix of gothic, feminine and elegant clothes, to the emulate the look of living Victorian doll.

Type 2: Punk

Punk Harajuku style consists of 70's London over the top accesories and make-up.

Type 3: Cosplay

Cosplay Harajuku style is dressing up like your favorite cartoon/anime or game character.

Type 4: Decora

Decora Harajuku style is very bright and over accesorized. Sometimes even decorated with toys and jewelry.

Type 5: Kawaii (sometimes called Super Kawaii)

Kawaii means "cute" in Japanese. The Kawaii Harajuku style of dress is very playful and childlike. It emphasizes toys, ruffles, cartoon characters, and pastel colors.

Now that you understand the different divisions under Harajuku street style, its easier for me to give advice on how to emulate it.

Mix and match different fashion genres, dress in layers, get expressive and customize your clothes, over accesorize, and get crazy with your hair and make-up!!
Don't think that throwing on a bunch of different items thoughtlessly is Harajuku. A lot of intricate thought goes into their outfits.

For futher reading check out the Fused publication: or click here

You've just been schooled on Harajuku fashion!!!
Send me YOUR pics of you dressing up in Harajuku and you just might be featured in a future article. You can send your pics as an attachment to:

Kisses and couture


Cath. said...

Good post xx

Me and my big ......... said...

I love the decora style its really cute id love 2 wear something like that but in London people would probably chuck things at me if i walk down the street like that.Lol

Jade said...

I love their style. I would love to go to Japan just to see them and kinda be inspired by their dress sense.I like to see people with their own individual style they stand out more than the lemmings who copy everything the models where in the magazines.

More Harajuku pics!!!

Anonymous said...

What is that they're wearing on their chins?

Anonymous said...

This is the cutest thing! They Look like porcelin dolls..i want to play with them..i love that black dress

Anonymous said...

i always luv all about Japanese style, especially those ones U posted..
Harajuku style, gothic LoLiTa..

Anonymous said...

Hey I loove your blog... i just started to interest for Tokio fashion and you helped me a lot in getting know it thanx

Anonymous said...


I thought this was excellent!

I loved all the pictures, and took advie on it.

Well Done!!! ('_')

Ynelovessjoukje said...

Omg. I love it sóóó much! =D
My favorite is the cute side, but the goth is somtimes realy cool!
Great blog (y)

Christa said...

Lol I really liked this even though I prob would have gone in deeper, since this is a fashion blog and all. I would have mentioned the infamous sweet Gothic Lolita, Hime, Banba, ganguro, manba, etc. I would have put Gal or Gyaru as a main fashion because they have become more popular recently and have a LOT of sub types.

ps: I love the pictures you chose. ^__^

Anonymous said...

I'm tottaly the punk Harajuku x3
seen as i own all of that outfit, eheh...

Anonymous said...

i love this style! these guys and girls are so original!!!
i think gothic lolita is great too but this has to be the best tokyo style there is!
amazing piks
luv itxxxx

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures!!!

Just a comment... I think it's RATHER unfair to say Miss Stefani introduced it to America... there was an underground following here already and I dont even think her influences have made it that much more popular.

Still nice article. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say there are more catagories then 5. Some of those can even be grouped into one big catagory.

1. Lolita
2. Decora (includes Kawaii)
3. Visual Kei
4. Ganguro
5. Cosplay

Anonymous said...

hey im really interested in this style,... im even writing a paper on it in college as a subculture. Id love to interview harajuku girls to get a better insight?! would anyone be willing to help me out?!

Anonymous said...

I love how people can freely dress up in Japan! im plannng to move there soon,BE PREPARED TO SEE ME AS A FUTURE LOLITA

Anonymous said...

I've been changing my style to Decora, i just LOVE it and it's SO me, 'cause i'm a person who loves colour and accessories! It's kinda wierd when people look at me funny 'cause most teens here in Portugal dress hip-hop style(which, i may add, is becoming a real let down, some people simply need a better mirror at home or someone to tell them they look ridiculous with their boxers peeping off the pants, dammit!) or emo but i dont really care anymore...i love my necklaces, my hair pins and my colourful socks and leg warmers! ^^

Frida Berntson said...

I adore Japan and the Harajuku styles as well! I'm currently writing about it in my blog..

Anonymous said...

I'm a gothic Lolita - well... sometimes I have my Punk days, but normally I dress victorian ^^
It's a good thing to introduce the Harajuku scene to people all over the world!
Thank you for the brilliant site! ^^
I was just missing the fact, that a Cosplayer can also dress up like a musician. It is very popular to dress like the J-Rocker out there *smile*
The visual kei scene is a great place to get insperations from anyway ^^
(Excuse my english, if something is wrong >//<)

sakura assikaga said...

I love this style... unique.
is the best.
open my blog please...
give your comment please.
thank you

Anonymous said...

I love your post!
so true!
not every one are well informed!
have you been to Harajuku?
its amazing!
but "Gothic" is a type of "Lolita"
there are 8 Lolita types

Anonymous said...

What about the Ganguros? they have plenty of styles, Hime gal, Yamanba etc.

Anonymous said...

man I love Decora and Kawaii ;DD
I want to dress like that but just a little toned down.

Anonymous said...

really cool pics - to smirzy149 its a fume mask thing

Anonymous said...

i love harajuku style ,, and i wanna try it even tho i'm a black girl, i'm half asian and i love there style!!it's so cool that no one judges you on your style and you are the one that inspire the fashionshops in japan! i wish that we could do that in holland...:(

Anonymous said...

Lol theres no Visual Kei!!! I love this stuff I wish Americans would be more accepting of diffrent fashions, I get stuff thrown at me or things lled at me when I look like that!!! =]

Anonymous said...

You've had things thrown at you!? Geez!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I really love the Gothic Lolita style of fashion, but I can't find any amazing clothes like that in Ireland. D: It's probably a good thing, though, since everyone in my town is so militantly anti-"emo". They don't seem to distinguish between punk, emo, goth, and gothic lolita. o_O

Anonymous said...

The gothic lolita thing-there are also other types of lolita too, such as sweet, classic or punk :) Not that I mind, because I'm a gothic lolita myself ^^ But they're all worn in harajuku, and sometimes in the UK! I know what you mean about bad responses though-I don't get stuff thrown at me, but people are always giving me bad looks or comments :(

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out,...cosplay isn't only dressing up as anime/ cartoon character or video games. >____<

In fact...that picture you put was a cosplay of a visual kei musician (the guitarist Die from Jrock BAND Dir en Grey)...not a cartoon character. XD

Hannah said...

I just wanted to point something out. That picture of the Gothic
lolita style is actually a representation of Kuro Lolita, which is a style of lolita in which the dresses are all-black. They're often seen with Shiro Lolitas who dress in all-white. Find a pic of a Lolita wearing a black and white dress. That's most likely Gothic.

Hannah said...

There are also plenty of other lolita styles, like (and I'm gonna list all of them) gothic, sweet, classic, punk, aristocrat, boystyle, kuro, shiro, hime, country, sailor, wa-lolita and qi-lolita, gurololita, and erololita.

Here's a good style guide:

Chessy said...

:D Aww so kawaii! I'm a english decora-chan and things dot get chucked at me >w< lol, at least not yet!
Maybe you should include visual-kei? Its my second fave style, though i not sure if its just a music style or an actul fashion...

glam roCker said...

A year ago I were decora-chan with a little of sweet lolita.. now I found glam rock and i loved it because i love those old rock band that wore it,

I love harajuku street because there are too many styles and excentric looks and is normal for everyone... in america if you wear something original without aeropostale and those typical brands that everyone wear, people criticize you and don't understand another styles or ways of thinking, i just hate it and I'd rather to live in japan.

Even If I'm not a lolita anymore and my look isn't as excentric as it was people still criticize me even if they meet what is glam rock just because I don't use the typical hollister or abercrombie stupid and simply clothes

Anonymous said...

I started dressing Harajuku not to long ago. (btw you missed some types) im in the USA and people aren't used to my fashion but so far some people are LOVEN my fashion sense. Especially at school. People are always asking me to pose and things like that. Some people seem to not like the fashion though but then i just ignore it.

(you forgot ganguro, kigurumi, kogal, and visual kei :))

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it