Harajuku Today: Project Introduction

Not Dead, Just Evolving
Harajuku is a cultural hotspot in Tokyo that is only a few blocks long where many exciting and interesting fashion styles and subcultures are born. It is a place of creativity, and a special zone where the people that partake in these different fashion subcultures meet and gather. It’s not uncommon to see “Harajuku” images across the internet of girls wearing colorful tutus and dozens of rainbow hair clips. Although that is a typical visualization of Harajuku, that is only one of the many different styles that exists in this part of town.

So much of the literature that exists on Harajuku fashion in the West is unfortunately dated. The styles it had become popular for are now hard to find due to changes in style/aesthetics over the years as well as tourists/gentrification pushing a lot of people out of the area. In addition, popular street snap magazines from Harajuku such as “Fruits” and “Kera” have stopped production as a result of the internet and Instagram becoming more popular ways to curate images and media. As a result, many eager fans of the culture are worried about its demise as the styles made popular in the 90s are almost non-existent. Luckily enough, the unique and vibrant fashion culture is still flourishing. Harajuku fashion has become so popular worldwide that there are communities for people interested in the fashion spreading everywhere. Harajuku fashion is not dead, it is just changing.

A Catalogue of Today & Tomorrow

Many people have an idea of Harajuku as being a place that is crazy, random or superficial, but there is an abundance of rich inspiration, lifestyles and communities associated within each style.

The “Harajuku Today” project aims to deepen the understanding and appreciation for these styles and creativity, as well as bring an update to the conversation about what is happening in Harajuku today.

The following articles will speaks to how Harajuku is made up of a multitude of different styles and subcultures that all come together in this one location.

Getting to the Source

The scarcity of the updated information needed to compile the project led to the reviewing of the original work by an expert in the field. Megan Russell, a PhD student from the University of Wales, set her position as an expert through lectures on “kawaii” cultures in Harajuku and their status at the “Fruits 10th Anniversary” in 2017. In addition, Valerie Steele, author of “Japan Fashion Now” provides an exciting look at the history of Harajuku that inspired content in the “Harajuku Today” compilation which will have information translated from the original concept book, into a series of articles on ON-1. When it comes right down to it, the best information comes from the source. In the next few posts, you will be sure to get a first time look at some current trends, key players, and must see spots to show what is happening there today.

To view the original “Harajuku Today” concept book in its entirety, please check out the issu link below:


and check out more about the book at: