interview and photography by Maya Kibbel
Tokyo in 2020, like the rest of the world, has been a year full of unexpected, life-altering events. With no more tourists filling the streets, and the Olympics being postponed, it gave me a chance to really evaluate the city and how it (the people, styles, and city culture itself) has changed. One thing that really stood out to me was how Harajuku, once a town with one of the most distinctive styles and character-like fashions in the world, has been losing its iconic street style scene year by year. Harajuku is still vibrant and there are still “Kawaii” and other shops, as well as street style icons – it’s just much milder than 5 years ago.
The trend of people dressing up wildly, roaming around Harajuku to be snapped for Fruits and Street magazine, and several prominent websites, seems to have nearly disappeared. But it’s not completely gone. There are some young, rising fashion icons keeping “Harajuku Street Style” alive. I wanted to share with you one of those icons. Her nickname is Mannan, her captivating eyes make you wonder what she’s thinking, and her hair color is constantly changing. Here’s a bit about her.
Mannan, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 23 years old and I work at a vintage clothing store called “Shury” on Cat Street in the Shibuya/Harajuku area. I’m originally from Yamaguchi prefecture but also lived in Fukuoka prefecture (working at a vintage shop) before moving to Tokyo. About two years ago I moved to Tokyo to start working for the newly opening Shury. This year in November I will have been working there for 2 years exactly. I love to discover and learn about fashion, music, and culture of the ’80s and ’90s. I end up finding things that I really love and it brings me joy. Also, this may be a surprise but I love finding delicious looking food (ie. ramen) on Instagram!
Does the fact that you are a street style icon affect how much you think about what to wear and how to do your hair and makeup?
I don’t think too much about what to wear, about my hair or makeup, but as a result, perhaps I am creating my own fashion style? When I see a movie and like the fashion style because it is cute, I get influenced. I love the styles of Kate Moss, Winona Ryder, Drew Barrymore, and Chloë Sevigny. I also love the 90’s Japanese fashion, and so I mix all of these up and decide what to wear depending on my mood.
Were you always into fashion? How would you describe your style and fashion choices?
I can’t say I have always been into fashion. I mean, I have lots of vintage clothes and so depending on how I feel I put my outfits together. I don’t dwell on my style too much, but I do have a preference for how outfits are balanced.
How do you think the Harajuku style has changed over the past few years?
Mmmh, that is difficult to answer. But I do think when I was in high school there was definitely more “Harajuku” style fashion. I don’t think a one-and-only Harajuku style exists, but Harajuku style is one mixed with many styles.
Tokyo is no longer in a partial lockdown, but when it was, how did you spend your time?
I was working! But I also got a lot of days off. I went to see movies and anime and I took walks around my home that I had never taken before.
Is there anything you are really into right now? If so, could you tell us about it and why?
Let me think…..I am into eating fruits and not snacks! Recently, I eat a lot of bananas and apples. I feel they are better for my health! (laughs)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have any specific goals or dreams?
I don’t have any clear plans ….I would love to be creating cute stuff and would love to work on projects I love.
Styling by: Maya & Mannan @mannanworld
Special thanks to clothing provided by @Shury_Tokyo