The Harajuku ward in Tokyo, has become known for its forward-thinking fashion in the post WWII era. It is now internationally recognized as the Japanese epicenter for young people and fashion. The designs are all about street fashion, not things you’d find in a department store, but things that are created by and for the teens and early 20s demographic. Trends come and go almost instantly in the streets of Harajuku, but are always influenced by the dark gothic or the pink and frilly lolita fashions. Sometimes it’s a combination or both. Harajuku is about fun. It is an outlet for youth in a society based on conformity rather than personal freedom.
Though its roots are firmly planted in Tokyo, Harajuku inspired fashion has spread across the world, including in the United States. While it may not be as vibrant as in the motherland, Harajuku fashion has made quite the splash this side of the pacific. Many designers are now incorporating frills, bows, and big skirts to their lines, and it is more acceptable and fashion forward now for women to be wearing baby doll dresses and platform shoes. Many American designers focus just on the Japanese based Harajuku fashion.
The Art Institute of Philadelphia’s fashion design class spent a part of their semester focusing on the Harajuku fashion model. They were given a donated kimono and were told to “interpret the concept that they felt most connected with and present several design proposals.” While working on this project they were looking to the east for their design process such as using techniques from the Bunka School of Japan.
These intricate and beautiful pieces and more will be on full display on both our main stage and cosplay stage at Sakura Sunday on April 17. They’ll be on the main stage at 12 pm and the Cosplay stage in Little Akiba at 1 pm. However, if you want to get an early preview of the full line there will be a special lunchtime pre-show on Thursday, April 14 at the Loews hotel in Philadelphia.