Wearing: Uniqlo Sweatshirt, Zara Skirt, Agent Nintynine Striped Shirt, Mighty Soxer Socks, Sango Brogues
French girls have long been renowned for their effortless chic. Their style has been idolised for years by those with fashionable aspirations, who are willing to make ironically exhaustive efforts in order to replicate their air of nonchalance.
More recently, the enviably cool minimalism of the Scandinavian girl has come to the attention of the fashion pack. The Scandi-girl has fast become the archetype for effortless style, with her less-is-more approach being adopted by almost anyone with access to the Internet and a pair of black jeans.
Effortlessness is the trait that is universally valued above all else in determining fashion credibility right now. Or at least the ability to convey a sense effortlessness, where it is actually lacking.
And yet, it is Harajuku girl who currently holds the most allure for me in terms of fashion inspiration. She's not effortless in her style. Nor is she timeless. And yet she stands her ground in the face of shifting times and fashions, in a pair of staggeringly over-embellished flatform sneakers, refusing to be dismissed as a fad or conform to any sartorial influence but her own uncontainable eccentricity.
She's bold. Confident. Cute AND tough. Modest yet contemporary. She's not afraid to wear a cape to the grocery store or stick on some cat ears on her head and call it a trend (Hell, you name an article of clothing that can take on a feline likeness and she'll wear it).
She sports clothing with no intention whatsoever of being chic. And she's proud of this.
I visited Harajuku for the first time last week. I was captivated. Never had I seen so much lace, such towering platforms, such elaborate headpieces.
The kuwaii was palpable.
I couldn't resist succumbing.
All thoughts of stylistic minimalism left my mind. To be replaced by a newfound desire for sartorial femininity and eccentricity.
Prior to experiencing Harajuku, I would never have allowed a feline motif anywhere near my person for fear of looking like the deranged hybrid of a crazy cat lady and a kindergartener. But somehow, Harajuku made it seem acceptable. So acceptable that I felt inclined to implement two feline accessories within the one outfit.
I embraced the spirit of Harajuku in my podiatric choices too. Allowing my feet to be encased in some pastel pink man-shoes and polka dot mesh socks. Had I have encountered either of these items on a shopping trip in Australia, I would have dismissed them immediately for their hyper-femininity. But again, in Harajuku they felt right.
In the face of such unapologetic brazenness as had been displayed by the population of Harajuku, I felt no qualms in throwing a cow-print skirt into the mix. And a clashing striped shirt around the waist? No problem, this is Harajuku after all. Anything goes.
Of course, I knew that my fresh inclination towards femininity could only be temporary. That I could not continue to cling to this indulgence when faced with practicality of Australian life once more. People would mock. They would consider me dainty. No, this could be only a fling. I resigned myself to this fact.
And yet, upon my return to Australia I find myself strangely inclined to continue wearing the brogues. And the polka dot socks. And to adorn myself in cat-themed accoutrements once more. The Harajuku girls have taught me to better see the fun in fashion. To be unapologetically brazen in wearing clothing that pink-infatuated 4-year-old me would have embraced with open arms and yet emanate confidence and demand respect.
The spirit of Harajuku lives on in me and I refuse to suppress it.
Although I'm kind of more of a dog person…
Photography Credit: Deneale Sanders