Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood has nurtured its own sense of whimsy and freedom since the late 1980s and 1990s, when it became a mecca for inventive street culture and colorful, offbeat fashion styles.
One of the first boutiques to cultivate the kawaii (cute) movement (think Hello Kitty and school girl uniforms) is 6%Dokidoki, the brainchild of art director and artist Sebastian Masuda. “In the 1990s there was energy and performance everywhere you looked in Harajuku,” explains 6%Dokidoki store manager Yui Yoshida, who has worked there for 18 years. “Today the neighborhood is still filled with energy, and once a month on a Sunday we have a Harajuku Fashion Walk, when young people come together in costume. Many are influenced by anime characters — Sailor Moon is currently a popular influence.”
We caught up with one of the fashion-loving store associates at 6%Dokidoki to ask her about her style choices and how she puts her look together. Read on for all of the details.
What is your name?
My name is Tsubaki. It means “camelia.” I chose the name because it’s my favorite flower.
How did you become interested in kawaii culture?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. Sometimes I wear colorful clothing, but other times I wear only black. I’m also very into the late 1960s — the music, movies, fashion and philosophy. It really just depends on the day, and I change things up all of the time.
When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, what is your process?
First, I decide on which clothing to wear. After that, I start my makeup, and even though it can be elaborate, it only takes me about 15 minutes to do — I am super quick! I change my eyeshadow color depending on what I’m wearing, but the other details remain the same every day. Once I finish putting on my makeup, I get dressed.
What is your favorite color?
Do you dress this way only in Harajuku?
Yes, when I am in Harajuku I feel comfortable dressing colorfully. In other neighborhoods it would be a bit less comfortable, so I wear black in those areas! Around here, people like to take my picture, and I don’t mind.
Tell me about your hair.
Today I am wearing a wig. My hair underneath is very short and it’s blue on one side and red on the other. I have about 10 wigs, and they are very colorful and cheap. I buy them online on Amazon.
When it comes to makeup, what are you most passionate about?
My eyes. I need this! This is me. If I wash my face, it’s not me. I feel more like myself this way.
I add on a row of eyelashes. Today I’ve added little dots to my temple using liquid lipstick.
My favorite thing to do lately is to add feathers on just one side of my lashes. Do you know the movie “A Clockwork Orange”? That is my inspiration. I change the color on one side. It’s something I like to do now but I may change it someday.
I also have many colors of lipstick in my collection. Blue, black, purple . . .
And your fingernails?
I do my nails by myself. These are gel nails, and I bought the machine to make them on Amazon because it’s not very expensive. I like to choose different colors and add some jewels. This heart is a 3D nail gel.
When I dress in a more gothic style I wear more rings — it depends on the day. Every morning when I wake up, I express myself differently. Makeup and clothing are the tools that help me do that.