Harajuku Fashion

Harajuku is an area of boutiques and stores located in Tokyo next to Harajuku station. This was the scene where teens hung out and where they started to mix traditional Japanese attire with more modern fashion trends. Born as a response to the rigid, traditional and conventional lifestyles imposed in Japanese culture where the young wanted to break free of these traditional boundaries and rebel. harajuku style is essentially creating an attitude - finding things that express who you are - being about to put things together in an individual and unique way.  It is all about mixing and matching outfits together to create your own look.  It is not particularly random but it has to 'look' as though it is. Mixing a second hand garment with a designer new one or combining a gothic look with that of a punk.

Harajuku fashion is all about layering - Sweaters, vests or jackets worn over blouses over t-shirts, dresses worn with leggings etc. Layering clothes (or giving the appearance of layering by wearing ruffled dresses, for example) mixing and matching a wider variety of different styles adds more dimension to an outfit. 

DIY Customisation an outfit is also very much part of the Harajuku scene. Mixing a second hand garment with a designer new one or by adding a ribbon or flower to a piece of clothing to make it unique or cutting it to create a completely new look.

Accessories are also hugely important in the Harajuku culture Add any outrageous accessories such as belts, hair clips, jewellery and handbags. Accessories can be colourful and loud, and they don't have to match your clothes.  

Harajuku is basically about self expression - whatever you feel - experimental fashion and can reflect any number of 'styles'

Tokyo Punks - wear lots of accessories, OTT style, piercings and make up

Gothic Lolita - see our section on Gothic lolita style for more information

Cosplay - Dress as their favourite cartoon or anime character

Decora - Lively colours (usually pink) lots of plastic jewellery and toys

Kawaii - Cute dress as playful characters.

Personally speaking I do not think we will ever totally adopt the whole harajuku street style in the Uk and Europe for what it is.  I think we are definitely being 'inspired' by it and taking the important concepts from it and incorporating those concepts into our own fashion trends.  (There is a particular overlap in some of the emo/scene trends coming out now that are reflected in the visual kei/harajuku fashion of Japan for example - watch this you tube video - basically this is saying that the emo/scene kids are 'stealing' the harajuku kids style - gawd - get a life!! but at least you can see the similarities - please don't buy into the judgemental thing -fashion should be fun and a way of expressing YOU).


Go crazy with hair and make-up. The Harajuku style doesn't have to stop with your clothes. Pigtails and other "cute" hairstyles are particularly popular, as is dying your hair. Creative, even theatrical make up can be a fun addition. Wear whatever looks good to you.