Harajuku is a district in Tokyo which is widely regarded as a fashion and culture powerhouse. Harajuku Fashion Trends has some of the most extreme fashion styles in the country, and houses many boutiques, thrift stores and clothing stores.
Harajuku fashion is an alternative style movement that rebels against the norm and rejects mainstream fashion. Since its inception in the 1980s, it has evolved to include many different styles, including Lolita, punk rock, and gyaru. Harajuku style isn’t specific – it’s a mixture of anything and everything.
Initially mixing traditional Japanese fashion with Western fashion, Harajuku now consists of customized looks. Mixing patterns, layering, vintage and modern clothes are all tenets of Harajuku fashion.
Types of Harajuku Fashion
Since Harajuku is an umbrella term for mixed fashion, it is subdivided into different fashion styles and subcultures.
Even within the Lolita category, there are subcategories such as Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolita, and Classic Lolita.
Sweet Lolita fashion is centered on a child-like, innocent appearance. This style is cute and girly, with fashion focusing on bell-shaped dresses with bows, ribbons, and ruffles. Sweet Lolitas usually stick to a pastel colour palette, choosing colours like mint green, lavender, light pink, and pastel blue. In addition to lace and embroidery, Sweet Lolita clothing combines patterns and pastel coloured wigs to complete the look.
Classic Lolita style takes inspiration from the Victorian and Rococo periods and focuses on colours such as ivory, brown, and dusty pink. It is more conservative than the other Lolita styles, with petticoats and long A-line skirts being essential to the look.
Gothic Lolita fans focus on Victorian era looks combined with gothic elements such as dark colors, crosses and skulls. Typical colours include black, navy blue, and maroon. Chokers, rosaries and lace gloves are used to accessorize.
Decora style is embodied by bright colours and a variety of accessories. The focus of this style lies in colors and wildness instead of in specific items of clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, and leg-warmers are common, with colourful wigs and hair accessories completing the look. While Lolita fashion is inspired by the Victorian era, Decora takes inspiration from cartoon characters from the 80s.
This style combines kawaii styles and pastel colors. It is inspired by 80s pop fashion and 80s cartoons. A vintage feel is important and clothing is usually loose and flowy. Color schemes are strictly light and pastel. Lavender, mint, and dusty pink are popular colour choices. Large eyes and blushing cheeks are typical of this look, and accessories such as bracelets, bag packs, and necklaces are popular.
Pop Kei is similar to Fairy Kei but focuses on pants and shorts instead of dresses. It is inspired from 80s fashion but favors the sporty look and uses plenty of neon colours as well as dark colours. Bright colours and pastels are often seen in the same outfit, and prints are also popular in this style. Hair is also important in this style and is often colored and styled with bangs, buns, and ponytails.
Visual Kei fashion is inspired by Visual Kei bands. It consists of androgynous clothing and dark colours such as black, grey, maroon, navy blue etc. Some looks may incorporate lighter colours, but outfits are usually monochromatic. Makeup in Visual Kei is dramatic and focuses on dark and intense eye looks. Hairstyles are large with teased and layered hair.
This fashion subculture was inspired by the TV show Baywatch and consists of dyed hair, provocative clothing, heavy makeup and tanned skin. Not only does this style focus on long, painted nails and colourful makeup, it also emphasizes a loud personality and a rebellious nature.
Harajuku is known for its cosplay where people dress up as characters from any manga, anime, movie, or TV show, and act like the chosen character. Sunday is a popular day to go see cosplayers in their element, and tourists have been known to specifically come to Harajuku to see these performances.
Kawaii style is perhaps the most well-known subcategory of Harajuku fashion outside of Japan. It focuses on a ‘cute’ aesthetic, emphasizing innocence and youth. Clothing in this style consists of Lolita dresses, ruffle skirts, suspender skirts, and knee-high leggings. Because of the emphasis on youth, kawaii makeup is about large eyes, blushing cheeks and glistening skin. To finish the look, child-like hairstyles such as pigtails and braids are topped with bows and headbands.
Current Fashion Trends
Although Harajuku doesn’t have rules, there are prevalent trends and styles across different years and seasons. Here, we would like to highlight the 2020 fashion trends:
The current fashion is all about long skirts. Midi and maxi skirts are everywhere whereas very few miniskirts were seen in street style fashion shows. A lot of floral skirts were paired with more masculine pieces, such as leather jackets or blazers with shoulder-padding. More formal materials like tulle and silk in skirts are also contrasted with casual t-shirts or loose shirts.
Trench coats are seen on both men and women. Mostly oversized, they are layered with other colourful clothes. Since trench coats are timeless, they come back year after year with this year being no different. Trench coats with unconventional details are also popular, with patterns, extra buttons, and double lapels, keeping the traditional silhouette while still adding new elements.
The current style is full of patterns, both loud patterns and smaller ones. From plaid to houndstooth, patterns were mixed with colours for an overall brighter look. Clashing patterns are no problem since the more eclectic the style, the more outrageous it looks; that is the cornerstone of Harajuku fashion.
Texture is at the forefront of current best Harajuku fashion. From hard leather to soft, flowing blouses, textures are used to add visual interest. If you are hesitant about it, start with a monochromatic outfit, and add in different textures within the same colour family. Even if the textures are wildly different, the same color family will keep the look coherent.
enim jeans and jackets are the most prominent denim items worn, but denim-on-denim has also been seen, especially in the Spring 2020 Tokyo Street Style Show. Denim is also a great transitional piece since it can be used in all seasons. From jeans in cold weather to skirts in warm weather, denim is extremely versatile. Jean jackets can be used in both fall and spring.
Additionally, there are jeans available for every body shape. Are you sick of skinny jeans? Don’t despair. 2020 has embraced boyfriend jeans, mom jeans and even flared jeans. Jeans can also be dressed up with heels or dressed down with sneakers.
Blazers are everywhere, especially when mixed with more casual clothing. A mix of casual and formal is seen especially on women. Loose blazers with skirts and top heavy blazers with leggings are popular looks right now. If you’re petite and not comfortable with a boxy fit, a fitted blazer or a blazer dress can be options that don’t drown your figure.
Instead of clothing being tight-fitting, fashion trends are leaning towards loose, oversized clothing. If you’re not comfortable with the entire outfit being oversized, consider opting for one oversized item paired with one fitted item. An oversized sweater can be paired with tights or skinny jeans, and oversized joggers can be paired with a tank top.
To highlight your waist, wear a tight first layer (like a tank top) and an oversized second layer (like a blazer or jacket) in contrasting colours.
Although plenty of monochromatic looks were seen, there was no absence of bold colours. From rainbow to bright yellow, bright red, and even metallic gold, colour is a big theme in 2020.
Because best Harajuku fashion trent is so eclectic, it is no surprise that layering clothes, especially different patterns, is one of the major trends of 2020. Mixing patterns, textures, and lengths adds more variety to an outfit and keeps it interesting.
Patterns are popular this season with many patterns being mixed. However, plaid has come out on top and is being incorporated into a variety of looks. This has been done through layering, adding scarves, patterned pants etc.
Monochromatic outfits are always considered fashionable. However, this does not stop at black, white, beige, and other neutrals. Monochromatic outfits have been seen in bright colours like red and green or even a subdued purple.
However, the most important thing about Harajuku fashion is that it has no rules. Created to defy expectations and refuse fashion norms, Harajuku is ultimately whatever the wearer decides.