Harajuku — Tokyo’s one-of-a-kind youth culture neighborhood — retains its long-held title as the center of Japan’s street fashion scene in 2019.

There are plenty of other hip/trendy areas in Tokyo and Osaka, but Harajuku remains the leading indicator of Japanese street fashion’s overall health and direction. Trends, brands, personalities, and shops get noticed here first — then spread outward.

Harajuku welcomes a new “generation” of kids every spring — around the time the Japanese school year starts in April. The majority of these new 16- to 20-year-old Harajuku kids are college students (often attending a nearby fashion, design, or beauty school) experiencing the freedom of young adulthood. Some are high school students who’ve reached an age where their parents feel comfortable with them hanging around Harajuku on their own, and another group have moved to Tokyo from their hometowns all over Japan for work, school, or other reasons.

When a new Harajuku generation arrives, the previous one departs. Those graduating from college or trade school decide it’s time to move on to “real life” and disappear from the streets. The average Harajuku kid spends no more than four years as an active member of the scene. This cyclical turnover of around 20% of the scene’s entire population means that Harajuku’s own personality has the potential to change dramatically from year to year.

This year’s group of creative and passionate young fashion lovers seems more experimental and excited about street fashion than we’ve seen in the last couple of years, which is good news for the near future of Harajuku. Established Japanese designers are making waves around the world as Japan’s next fashion generation arrives in Harajuku full of anticipation.

FIB looks at 3 rising streetwear stars, who’s trends, personalities, brands, and boutiques that are likely to shape their future — and ours.
Writer – Anastasia Dale
Editor – Eduardo Castro
Narrator – Annalisa Astarita

Subscribe to FIB’s newsletter for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!