Neighborhood Spotlight: Harajuku + Denver

Harajuku + Denver - Inspired Style Shoot

|| By Kimothy Pikor, ||

When I was in elementary school, back to school shopping was the BEST TIME EVER. I would religiously, feverishly sketch out all my outfits and define my “look” for that year. This was something I took very seriously.

Fast forward to my adulthood, I’m fascinated by fashion trends (or people’s defiance of trends) and the way humans choose to outwardly express themselves. Hence, why Tokyo’s Harajuku district, the epicenter for Japanese youth culture and fashion, stole my heart.

Hello, color and pattern explosion! Compared to other fashion capitals I’ve observed, such as Paris, where color is worn in limited, conservative amounts, Harajuku’s street fashionistas are not afraid to pile it on. But not in a sloppy way. Everything seems to be thoughtfully organized and selected with meticulous intention. The streets are the catwalks of the creative youth – they strut unashamed, proud, and confident. Anything is possible and acceptable. I loved how the Japanese play with contrast – combining whimsical, sweet innocence with dark, moody looks.

Naturally, upon returning from Tokyo, I decided I’d take my finds and conduct a proper Harajuku + Denver inspired styled photoshoot with my fave photographer, Tess Polivka. I typically prefer to be behind the camera, but kuddos to Tess for keeping me in line when I started getting super awkward, which I’m really good at.

So here’s my back to school, Harajuku meets Denver, special.

These outfits are my interpretation of Harajuku style but with a laid back, Denver vibe. I’ve distilled these looks into generalized, basic pieces based on key trends and brands I observed from my Tokyo trip this past July. If Harajuku was your best friend and she was sharing fashion advice with you, she would advise, “Girl, be sweet. Be devilish. Have fun. Play. Color, color, and more color! Remember, the highest compliment that can be paid is you look CUTE.” Then she’d giggle shyly behind her hand.

Outfit #1 – Rosie the Riveter

I think this outfit exudes a 1930s/40s retro look. Think playful, feminism. Fun overalls and jumpers were everywhere in Harajuku. I wanted to buy them all! Luckily, I was able to refrain. I fell in love with this pair of overalls from a boutique on Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) because of the seersucker fabric and wide leg pants. The minimalist in me kept the color low key with the headband – but if we were doing this true Harajuku girl style – I’d be wearing platform sandals, a little bunny rabbit backpack, and probably have my nails bedazzled or something. All the bling and color. Also, boxy, white blouses with large, fluttery sleeves were kind of a big deal.


Outfit #2 – Little Bo Beep

Bucket hats everywhere. Fluttery sleeves. A-line skirts. And check out this skirt with lace lined shorts underneath! So Little Bo Peep?


Outfit #3 – Coffee Shop Working + Broadway Strolling


I had to share my Uniqlo shirt patterned with sumo wrestlers throwing up peace signs. Does it get any better than that? I love Uniqlo, which is essentially the upgraded, higher quality version of Old Navy in Japan. And guess what, Denver. We’re getting one next year at the Denver Pavilions on 16th street.


These beauties are my prized Hender Schemes. And Japan is a Hender Scheme haven. They’re iconically gender neutral and have an experimental, nude, raw leather look. Also, just for funsies, check out Hender Scheme’s replication of the Nike Air Presto.

Gotta throw in my parting gangsta look. So Boys II Men, here. This is how I chill so hard in Denver, Harajuku style.

Arigato Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.26.52 PMamigos,