Sunday, May 24, 2009

Harajuku Lovers

I was able to go on a long drive down to Sunnyvale today to enjoy good food and company.  After lunch and frozen yogurt, we decided to go shopping in the area, Valley Fair mall.  I was looking around for a present for my friend since his birthday is this Friday.  While shopping around Macy's I ran into the Harajuku Lovers fragrance. When Gwen Stefani first launched this collection, I bought one of the fragrance without even smelling it.  I only bought it because the doll bottle it came in, was very cute. 
I realized that I was only being attracted to all the marketing and merchandising of the item.  When I finally opened it up, it actually didn't smell that good. When Gwen Stefani first launched her line of Harajuku Lovers clothes, I was very excited.  The graphics of the t-shirts were very cute and original.  I didn't know what Harajuku fashion really was, I just thought it was another marketing gimmick to make Japanese words sound good.  However, I got curious and looked on the brand website.  The brand website defined Harajuku fashion as one of a kind Japanese street fashion. They also have video clips that have Japanese phrases and the different Harajuku characters.  They aim to create different personalities found in Harajuku fashion and encourage consumers to relate to them. I feel that it is just a marketing gimmick.
However, when I read the article "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion" by Yuniya Kawamura, I realized that Gwen's Harajuku Lovers line is really going against everything Harajuku fashion stands for.  In her article, she mentions that Harajuku fashion gives rise to newbie designers and is very distinctive and personal.  There are three things marketing expert Kojima points out about Harajuku fashion which are 1) no organizational structure for seasons 2) items are sold in small quantities and alot of work is put into planning and merchandising and 3) they do not follow trends and are satisfied as long as their work is accepted in the community.  Gwen Stefani's Harajuku line goes against its very origins and violates all these three factors of Harajuku fashion.  
Harajuku Lovers seeks to bring diversity and oriental flair to the young people's fashion industry.  However, it chooses to name itself after a lifestyle that it does not carry.  Harajuku Lover t-shirts are found in mass production and sold in varoius department stores.  It seeks to create a trend in which young people are expected to follow and accept.  It does not allow for each individual to create their own style like those in Japan.  
Although I know that the line of Harajuku Lovers clothing does not follow the lifestyle of its true origins, I will still continue to buy this line of clothing.  Their clothes are very unique and cute and fits my style.  I understand that to bring a movement as big as that of Harajuku fashion, is very difficult to achieve in the American fashion industry.
As for my compact challenge, I have not failed at my challenge just yet. Despite the fact that we were having pretty good promotions at work all weekend long.  I was also finally able to pick out a birthday gift for my friend.  I wish I could say that I didn't buy anything for him supporting our anti-consumerism movement.  I couldn't make anything for him, so I just ended the headache and bought him a pair of jeans. 

Works Cited:
2) "Japanese Teens as Producers of Street Fashion" by Yuniya Kawamura
3) Picture taken from

By Carmen Yee Blog #4

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