I am a little late on this topic, as it seems like every other J-Fashion Blogger and YouTuber has already covered this topic, and then there's me...
If you're in the Japanese Fashion community, you've probably seen almost everyone panicking about the death of Harajuku fashion, but is this really something to be concerned about? Is this just BS, or should we start taking action?
How did Harajuku even get famous in the first place? Harajuku is a place where creative youth could go out, showcase their outfits, and just have a nice time without feeling too out of place. The eccentric fashion there is bound to get attention- especially from Westerners, who have never even heard of such a thing! And so, media coverage of the district started- for both the good and the bad. Good, because this meant that word spread and the fashion gained new fans abroad- thus, helping the fashion grow. Bad, because this meant an increase of tourists in Harajuku, treating the people like attractions. You wouldn't like it if tourists kept taking photos you while you're trying to enjoy a day out, wearing different clothes that make you happy. Because of that, less Harajuku fashion wearers would go out to avoid the tourists- or, they'd go to different places.
However, that's not the only reason Harajuku fashion is 'dying'. The district itself is changing- more mainstream stores such as H&M and Forever21 are opening there, thus making Harajuku lose some of its charm. Don't get me wrong- I've seen that there are still plenty of unique stores there, but the more mainstream stores open up- the more charm Harajuku loses. The closure of certain iconic shops in Harajuku has also been a cause of alarm- such as the Milklim store. However... Milklim is still an online shop. Still- it is sad news for many of us, as it's lovely to just buy an item from a physical store, without the hassle of shipping. On the other hand- many new Harajuku fashion brands are launching, but online- especially in the West. One could argue that while Harajuku fashion might be declining in Japan, it is sharply growing in the West. While I can agree that is is growing in the West, I'm not sure about the situation in Japan. To me, while it's not rapidly growing there, it still seems quite strong.
It is also important to note that times are changing- why go out to showcase your outfit when you can just take a picture, post it on Instagram, and stay at home? Just because there seem to be less people in Harajuku wearing the iconic fashion styles (as I've heard from many who have actually been there recently), doesn't mean it's dying out. Just search Instagram hashtags such as "HarajukuFashion" and you'll see that Harajuku Fashion most certainly isn't dying out.
The event that has caused a lot of panic is the fact that KERA, FRUiTS and Gothic Lolita Bible, the biggest J-Fashion magazines, have announced they're going out of print. Is the situation really that bad, however? FRUiTS is going out of publication because it has been said that there are no more cool kids to photograph- this is quite concerning. However, remember when I mentioned that times are changing? This could be because of that. Or perhaps, the photographers are being too picky. Who knows? However, the other two magazines are going to continue digitally. Print magazines are dying out everywhere. It's quite sad, because I prefer physical magazines. On the other hand, it means that they will be more accessible around the world, so they can reach a bigger audience! It's not because Harajuku fashion is dying- this is happening to adjust to the changing times.
So, do I think that Harajuku fashion is dying? No. If anything, it's growing! Rest assured that even despite the changes, you do you and wear what you love, even if it seems like nobody else is! Fashion is there to have fun with it, and it grows, changes and evolves. Things go in and out of fashion. Does that mean you can't wear them? NO! The panic around the 'death' of Harajuku Fashion is unnecessary, because as long as we keep loving and wearing it- it's not going anywhere! Keep Harajuku Fashion alive by wearing and sharing it- and it'll keep growing.
What do you think? Is Harajuku fashion dying, or is it just a false alarm! Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments!
Have a lovely day!