Welcome to grumpybunny.co.nz - I am so very proud to be running this site, and helping to bring kawaii culture to the southern hemisphere!
I became interested in Japan and everything kawaii after a family member moved there, and would bring me back Sanrio goods as souvenirs (Hello Kitty is my GIRL). I was always so intrigued by the absolute cuteness of the characters for products that were also so useful in day to day life; band-aids, mirrors, combs, pencils. I realised these things do not have to be utilitarian; life is breathed into them with this little character and her adorable face.
Hey girl hey <3
Fast forward 18 years and I am being made redundant from my job. I connect all the dots; I need to have an OE, I need to broaden my horizon and get out of my comfort zone (oh and I have no money so I need to work while doing all that). There was only one answer: JAPAN! I decide to take the plunge and join said family member in Japan to live out what would be the next 9 years of my life.
My experiences living in Japan can be told in another post, but today I want to talk about Japanese Fashion!
Japan has many facets when it comes to clothing - and I have to admit at first, living in Japan, and the Japan-fantasy spun in my mind did not always marry together. Day to day, people dress very conservatively and in muted colours. Stylish, clean, sleek and modern would be accurate descriptors - but I was starting to worry that I had it all wrong about this country I had dreamed of for so long. I mean - where were the full print Pikachu singlets and crazy anime hairstyles..?
Where were all of y'all?
One day, I stumbled across Fruits Magazine in the combined bookshop/Starbucks in Dotonbori, Osaka. The cover was cute, bright and featured fashion ideas that were certainly part of my Japan-Fantasy. For those who aren't in the know, Fruits Magazine feature(d) Harajuku's fashion "cool kids" and for me embodied the colourful, creative and fun ways to express yourself via clothing. Creator Shoichi Aoki ceased printing in 2017 stating there were no more cool kids to shoot; however there were rumours early in 2020 that it may relaunch...
When I finally visited Harajuku, Japan's fashion capital and arguably one of the world's, I got my taste of the Japan-fashion fantasy. It was a mind-blowing experience and totally addictive. And now to be able to bring you brands like ACDC Rag, one of Takeshita-doris hallmark labels, is something I would have never imagined possible. I am so grateful to the team in the UK (grumpybunny.com) for giving me this opportunity.
So this brings me back to why I love Japanese fashion! Not only has Japan been very ahead of the curve in embracing gender neutral fashion ideas, there is literally something for everyone's tastes and price range (no matter how extreme.) In my experience, people in Japan wore whatever they were comfortable wearing - ranging from suits through to hot pants through Kimono through to the most creative and mind-blowing fashion you could imagine. And no matter what people wore, each and every member of society would treat that person with the same amount of respect and courtesy as anyone else. This was not the experience I had growing up here in New Zealand, and I hope one day that will change!