Harajuku Girls – How to Get the Look

Gwen Stefani has welcomed the concept of Harajuku girls into popular western culture and introduced a new generation to this fashion style from Japan. In fact this style of fashion was popular long before Gwen discovered it and Harajuku has been a fashion hub for many years. But just what exactly is a Harajuku girl and where do you start to look for clothes if you want to dress like one?

Harajuku is a trendy area of ​​Tokyo where young people go to hang out with their friends, show off their latest fashions and hopefully get spotted by one of the street fashion photographers or model head hunters looking for the coolest new looks. It is also a popular hangout for cosplayers where teenagers will gather at the weekends dressed up as their favorite anime character.

There are various sub cultures within Japanese Fashion including Goth, Lolita and Gothic Lolita, Visual Kei, and Ganguro. The Harajuku girls from the Gwen Stefani world wear bright colors, mix and match with lots of accessories – the crazier and more individual the look the better.

If you'd like to dress like a Harajuku girl then there are lots of websites selling outfits from Japan which can provide good base pieces for your collection. EBay is another great place to look for outfits and accessories. The easiest way to get this look however is just to be creative – Harajuku fashion is all about being individual and experimenting.

Get brave with your clothes – wear lots of layers that mix and match, the brighter the better. Experiment with your hair and makeup too, trying crazy new styles that you would not normally consider. Accessories should be large and bold and you should wear lots of them! Wear your whole look with confidence and try out new ideas every time you put together a new outfit.

Gwen Stefani – LA's Little LAMB

When Eric Stefani asked his then 17 year old sister Gwen to sing with his band No Doubt, a calypso / jazz / blues band, he could not have known he was watching history in the making. Watching as his little sister began what would for her become a launching pad to pop diva fame. For eight years, she was the lead singer for the band. Although she shegan a solo career in 2004, her association with No Doubt lasts to this day. Collaborating with artists like Linda Perry, The Neptunes and others, she styled her first album – LAMB after the '80s and 90's music she listened to in school. (LAMB is also the name of her fashion line)

Her albums include 2007's Sweet Escape and Love.Angel.Music.Baby. (LAMB), 2005's Maximum Gwen Stefani as well as re-releases of those albums in different formats.

Born to Patti and Dennis Stefani in Fullerton, California she was raised in Anaheim where she attended Loora High School and where she first performed onstage singing "I Have Confidence" from The Sound of Music. Oddly, she was discouraged from taking music lessons to train her voice. Her "loopy and unpredictable" style would ever give her the unique and personal sound that has helped define her music.

Named after a flight attendant in the 1968 novel Airport, the name Gwen is Welsh and means "blessed". And if you asked her she'd probably agree. Along her rising stardom and success in the fashion world, in May of 2006, she gave birth to Kingston James McGregor Rossdale at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is married to Bush guitarist and lead singer Gavin Rossdale. Now that little Kingston is a litte over a year, Gwen says she can not wait to get pregnant again, but not while on tour.

Many of the women in Gwen's family are seamstresses so it's little surprise that we find she's also a talented fashion designer. Both she and her mother Patti, made much of Gwen's clothes when she was young. During her onstage debut back at Lara High, she wore a tweed dress she made herself taking inspiration from a dress worn in The Sound of Music. Her bold, sometimes brazen style of music is reflected in her designs, with realistic depictions and bold patterns, a technique called trompe l'oeil, French for "trick the eye."

LAMB, which stands for Love, Angel, Music, Baby, is a fashion line created by Stefani and incudes elegant, flowing eveningwear and pants, tee shirts, jackets, and boots made with fabric and materials found in locations around the world including South America , Asia, and India. This 3-dimensional, vivid artwork is something you'd find Gwen wearing around the house chasing after little Kingston or in a mural on the side of a building in France.

Hers is a restless spirit though and her thirst for adventure not being satisfied with pop divadom and fashion design, Gwen tried her hand at acting. She auditioned for and got the role of Jean Harlow in Martin Scorsese's 2004 film The Aviator. Scorsese was stuck by Stefani's resemblance to Harlow. It was the perfect role for the sassy, ​​Platinum Blonde (since 9th grade) but she was extremely nervous. She tried to convince herself "It's only a small part …" (she could not even find it in the script). Says Gwen "Acting is a lot different than singing. It's not as dramatic, it's a lot more humble, and that's a lot harder …" She got acting from the film's star, Leonardo DiCaprio, also a blonde since 9th grade ( unconfirmed). She has numerous other film and television credits including Zoolander, where she played herself (Does that count?), And many movie soundtracks.

She may have started out playing little clubs in her big brother's band but Gwen Stefani has re-invented herself a number of times and with each transformation, a bright, shiny new butterfly emerges ready to fly and take on new challenges. A strong and independent spirit, she's not afraid to take the plunge, has an apprehensive distaste for convention and oh yea, she thinks being pregnant is romantic. More power to you, Miss Gwen!

Harajuku Girls

Gwen Stefani , lead singer of the pop band No Doubt , has lead a Madonna-esque fashion revolves in both her recent videoclip for her single What You Waiting For and her solo album Love, Angel, Music, Baby . Her catchy 80's inspired popish tunes, platinum blonde hair and Like A Virgin kit out on the album cover art only reinforce her homage to the material girl, even though it may be somewhat tongue in cheek.

But its her references to the Japanese Harajuku Girls peppered through the album and on one track in particular that has drawn interest from a diverse range of commentators.

So who are these Harajuku Girls anyway?

The Harajuku District of Tokyo and in particular Takeshita Street , a narrow street lined with shops is home to these funky fashionistas . Since the end of World War II, "consumerism" and "consumption" have become the national past-time for most Japanese and in particular teenage girls who often live at home with their parents well into their twenties. Their rent free existence provides them with the enough funds to flock to Harajuku every weekend, where they transform them into Lolita-esque baby doll caracitures.

It's all a sort of a pop-art meets pop-culture meets Western decadence kinda street where often a t-shirt with a western image like Mickey Mouse can go for several hundred dollars a pop. This constant pursuit of rock n roll pop star hipness extends to teenage boys too. They in turn have opted for the western inspired hip-hop culture of disheveled jeans hanging half way to their knees, caps at all angles on their heads and of course lots and lots of bling.

Often the net result looks like something out of a Manga comic book as the fashionistas of Harajuku compete to look less human and more iconic. Not worried about what we in the West may see as a conflict of style over substance, Harajuku Girls unlike the Goths, punks and bond girls that came before are not about rebellion from society. No, in fact these girls, like most Japanese, are often extremely polite and happy to pose for photographs with inquisitive tourists who gather every Sunday to take happy snaps of these super-model caricatures.

For the Girls of Harajuku, their most extreme vice may be a simple cigarette.

85th Annual Rock Center Tree Lighting

Gwen Stefani, Train, Seal, Harry Connick Jr. and more rocked the square to celebrate one of New York City’s biggest traditions. At the end of the season, the tree will be milled into lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity. See it through January 7th.

Erja Lyytinen – Hollaback Girl

Erja’s taking a part on a tv contest called ‘Tähdet, Tähdet (Stars, Stars)’ on MTV3 in Finland! The theme of the fourth epidose of Tähdet Tähdet was hip hop! Erja chose a hit song from Gwen Stefani, with a style of grunge and hip hop.