I’m going to try and focus on the fashion magazines and books that are common in Japan for the next few posts. This information may not be complete and accurate, because my Japanese is poor and a lot of the information I’m finiding is quite old. If there’s anything that I’ve said incorrectly or something that you want to add, please feel free to add to it in the comments.
While I was still in Japan, my housemate purchased the highly appropriately named Gothic & Lolita Bible. This thing was a tome. It was huge. And fairly hugely priced at a bit under 2000 yen. The Bible has many articles, interviews with Visual-kei artists that goth-lolis so often idolise, catalogues, photos, manga and even outfit designs for budding cosplayers and gothloli heads. In theory, it’s published quarterly but don’t bet on that. It seems to be pretty erratic.
The Bible is a huge success in Japan (and around the world as Gothic Lolita and EGL became popular outside of Japan) and has spawned some spin-off magazines. The Gothic & Lolita Extra Volume seems to be just a collection of things that couldn’t fit into previous volumes. It looks like there is only one of these, but more may appear in the future. The Gothic & Lolita Hair Make Bible focusses obviously on the hair and make-up techniques and trends followed by gothlolis and finally the Gothic Lolita & Punk Brand Book is basically just a catalogue of fashions available. It has photos of all the typical fashions you can find for sale along Takeshita-dori and Harajuku.
I’ve seen it available for sale in quite a few places, but you probably won’t find it at your local 7-Eleven store. Akihabara has stockists given that a few of the maids in the maid cafes also follow Goth Loli fashions. Our sponsors at JList will sell you subscriptions, no matter where in the world you live.
A few Sundays ago I spent the day in Harajuku. It was a great day, the weather was great and there were plenty of people around. As usual, the kids on Omotesando were dressed in their finest, although there were fewer than usual because the right side of the bridge (facing Meiji Shrine) seems to be getting re-paved, so it was all fenced off.
Netherless, I got plenty of photos – here are some of them. You can click on them to see the rest at my Flickr account.
This gaijin punk received a lot of attention from the usual locals.
It’s Decorer Stitch! Rawr!
A GothLoli Dress for sale at Body Line in Takeshita Street.
My favourite photo from the day. I don’t know why.
On a Sunday stroll through Harajuku…
That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed them!
There are many shops along Takeshita Street in Harajuku that offers pre-assembled outfits to fit in with the cool kids on Omotesando. They can be relatively cheap. Most of the are in the Lolita/Gothic Lolita vein but there are a few punk style clothes too.
It’s somehow disappointing. I got into Harajuku fashion because of what those kids could concoct themselves, not because of what they could buy from a shop.
Shoichi Aoki is one very cool 55 year old. I wrote about his magazine FRUiTS yesterday, but he has two other magazines that he publishes monthly.
STREET magazine again follows street fashion, but from the major cities around the world. It was started by Aoki in 1985 in London, and is still going strong today. It’s fair to say that STREET magazine helped introduce street fashion to the Japanese youth.
The cities he visits each issue are printed on the cover, and it is available by subscription (or you can order back issues) from the website.
TUNE magazine is a mere 10 issues old. It is based once more in Japan and can almost be seen as a male version of FRUiTS (which isn’t entirely true since plenty of males appear in FRUiTS). The photos aren’t necessarily limited to Harajuku either, the spiritual home of FRUiTS. Nevertheless, if you like your street fashions to be a bit grittier and masculine, TUNE is for you.
Back issues and subscriptions are available again from his website: http://www.street-mg.com
While thse two magazines aren’t as famous as FRUiTS, they are very interesting to read to see where Aoki has come from (STREET) and where he’s going (TUNE).
FRUiTS is a monthly magazine published by photographer Shoichi Aoki in Japan. It started in 1997 after Aoki noticed a new trend in fashion among young people in Harajuku. Instead of a fashion trend that was dictated by designers, this was a trend started by the young people themselves.
Young people would mix traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos or geta sandals, with Western or local Japanese designs, even with punk clothing. These people were not brand obsessed like most Japanese people are known to be. They developed a “Harajuku Free Style” fashion trend which Aoki wanted to document in FRUiTS.
Since the trend began in the mid-nineties, the street style has expanded to cover many sub-genres, like punk, Decorer, Gothic Lolita or just kawaii.
The trend has died down in recent years – probably due to the fact that Omotesando (the main street in Harajuku) isn’t closed to cars on Sundays anymore, so the FRUiTS kids no longer have anywhere to hang out. Aoki still manages to publish a magazine each month though, especially since the magazine has achieved cult status in both Japan and overseas.
FRUiTS is a great look into the minds and fashions of Harajuku youth and is available by subscription, or in two volumes of books from Phaidon Press.
The official website
Buy the first FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!
Buy the second FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!