Party Baby: The Story of Kumamiki’s Harajuku Fashion Brand

Tokyo street fashion is famous around the world because of the tribes of young creative people who congregate in Harajuku. Beyond their status as international style icons, these fashionable “Harajuku kids” are also the future of the Japanese fashion industry. When we talk to young people we photograph on the streets of Harajuku, they often share aspirations to become fashion designers, models, shop owners, stylists, or to find some other profession that allows them to devote their lives to fashion. Street snap photographs are a wonderful way to document the unique clothing found on the streets of Harajuku, but they aren’t as good at telling the story behind the person wearing those clothes.

Kumamiki is a young Japanese woman whose kawaii Harajuku look has been featured in countless fashion magazines, books and websites. Kuma is exactly what many people imagine that Harajuku should be – she has rainbow colored hair, loves to wear pastel clothing, and piles on lots of quirky accessories and hair bows big and small. That’s the part of Kuma that you’ve seen in photos. We would like to go beyond that and share the rest of Kuma’s story with you – the story of a real human being who spent years studying fashion in college, who has a part time job at a shop in Harajuku to pay the bills, who spends most of her free time sewing, and who dreams of her tiny DIY fashion brand Party Baby someday being loved and respected by the next generation of Harajuku kids.

Party Baby Designer Kumamiki

Kumamiki launched her indie fashion brand Party Baby several years ago while she was attending fashion college in Tokyo. She has worked on it slowly but surely while balancing it with her other responsibilities (which include being one of the organizers of Harajuku Fashion Walk). Recently, Kuma decided that it was time to get more serious about Party Baby.

When Kuma told us that she was planning her first ever Party Baby fashion show, we asked her if we could tag along with our video cameras to document the milestone. She was kind enough to not only give us full access to her world in the days before the event, but also to sit down with us several times and talk about her life. We could write a lot more about Kumamiki, but we’d prefer that you hear what she has to say directly from her own mouth. Please take a look at our short documentary below. We hope that it gives you insight into the real person behind all of the pretty pictures you see in magazines!

Young At Heart – The Story of Kumamiki & Party Baby


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During the filming of this movie, several cool things began happening for Kumamiki and Party Baby. Kuma was able to partner with her first ever international mailorder company (Electric Alice). As a designer who is very interested in the world outside of Japan, making Party Baby available to buyers outside of Japan is an important goal. Kuma also found out that she would be featured on both NHK and FujiTV (both major Japanese television networks) in the near future. Kumamiki continues to actively work on building her brand – while always remaining a “Harajuku kid” at heart.

For more information on Kumamiki and Party Baby , check out these links:

 

Video shot & produced by 1K Films. Kumamiki photo by 1K Films.
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1K Films is a full production independent video company working in both the US & Japan. For more info, check out the 1K Films website.

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29 Comments

  1. 1.

    Kari-Mei (May 27, 2012)

    That was so inspiring! I saw her line on Electric Alice recently and I hope I can buy some of her stuff when my next paycheck comes in :D

  2. 2.

    Michelle (May 27, 2012)

    This is one of your best Youtube videos, TokyoFashion! It really makes me hopeful one day that I’d get to go to Tokyo and follow my dreams in fashion.

  3. 3.

    Liza (May 27, 2012)

    I loved this documentary about Kumamiki, I think she’s inspirational! :)

  4. 4.

    Ben Shidehara (May 27, 2012)

    This is beyond inspiring~~~ I really loved what she said: “I want to create my own world.” Love it~

  5. 5.

    Emika (May 27, 2012)

    Very inspiring indeed. I hope I’d get to see this lovely person someday. :) I learned a lot from watching the video.

  6. 6.

    [...] TokyoFashion.com [...]

  7. 7.

    Shinobu (May 27, 2012)

    I became so happy when I saw this article~ ^^
    Kuma is my biggest inspiration and she seem to be such a nice person!~ ^__^

    Thanks for this article TokyoFashion!~ (^^)/

  8. 8.

    rabbit (May 27, 2012)

    It’s short but incredibly inspiring. I’m glad that I spent a few minutes for wtching this – thanks.

  9. 9.

    evanyah (May 27, 2012)

    kumamiki-san is really cool! I really like her work.

  10. 10.

    tsukikuu (May 28, 2012)

    It was very nice to see this film, especially that I also have a little fashion brand and I also must go through all these steps of working and developing =) This really gave me the strength that it worths doing !! I wish both of us can achieve our dreams one day! Thank you Tokyofashion and Kumamiki! <3

  11. 11.

    2wenty7 (May 28, 2012)

    Kuma is so beautiful, I love this.

  12. 12.

    Pie (May 28, 2012)

    The video is absolutely adorable! Kuma is so lovely and down to earth! We are so happy to be able to work with her at Electric Alice!!!

  13. 13.

    kumamiki (May 28, 2012)

    Thank you sooooooo much♡!!!

    I wrote the blog :D!!

    Visit my blog when you have time♡
    http://ameblo.jp/party-kuma/entry-11263125400.html

  14. 14.

    sümi chan (May 29, 2012)

    WOW THIS WAS AMAZING LOVE HER WORK

  15. 15.

    Crypt Lover (May 29, 2012)

    Kumamiki is so special. Fantastic job on the video!
    So beautifully done, made me tear up watching it!
    And I’m so happy she’s connected to 6% DokiDoki, it’s a wonderful world to be part of.
    I cherish my 6% DokiDoki polka-dotted heart pin that I bought in Harajuku and wear around my home town of Gualala every week!
    Now I need to shop for some Party Baby goods!
    Again, one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen!

    -Chris.

  16. 16.

    Celeste (May 29, 2012)

    Kumamiki is so beautiful! Her Party Baby brand is really cute and cool. I really loved this video. I also really loved the dress she was wearing!!!

  17. 17.

    Cactuar (May 29, 2012)

    this video is so interesting and inspiring)
    also korona means crown in russian)

  18. 18.

    Amy Lestrange (May 29, 2012)

    I’m so inspired after watching this ! Kumamiki seems to work so hard at everything she does ! All the girls in the video look so incredible. I recently saw some Party Baby products on Electric Alice and I’m definitely going to be picking some stuff up. I love the brand concept too ! Such a brilliant documentary.

  19. 19.

    Jennifer (May 29, 2012)

    Loved this video ~ so much inspiration to be had.

  20. 20.

    carwaii (May 31, 2012)

    She is so cool, pretty and talentful!
    Really, she inspires my so much! I like her the most from all the Harajuku Girls! I hope she will get very far with her brand and so we can also buy it in the Netherlands. Her clothes are beautiful!
    Love her!
    xx Carwaii

  21. 21.

    Deadly Bite (May 31, 2012)

    Wow… this short documentary is just beautiful! It’s so incredible to see how she does all that work. I’m totally clueless at sewing, so I’ve always had a special admiration for people who can… and she looks SO skilled at it! It’s hard to imagine that just one person can do all that work! And the most impressive of all is that you can see she really puts her heart in everything she does. Amazing.

    I also loved her idea of becoming an adult but staying a child inside. That is exactly the message I’m trying to communicate with my music, so I absolutely understand what she’s talking about :)

    BTW, I remember that fashion show at the Pop N Cute party! I didn’t know it was her brand back then, but I remember I really liked the designs! Now I know all the work and concepts behind those dresses, I love them even more! I don’t live in Japan, so I’m not a potential buyer, but at least I can say that show made an impression on me! And I will be following the progress of this brand for sure! ^^

    I don’t know if Kumamiki herself will read this, but I’d like to let her know she’s got my most sincere respect and admiration :)

    I hope she has all the luck in the world with her projects! ^^

    PS. Excuse the looooooong comment n____n’

  22. 22.

    Tani (June 1, 2012)

    I’ve enjoyed following Kumamiki’s work for over a year now, I love her even more after getting a peak into her process. You are doing great work by documenting this TF!

  23. 23.

    @anggycempaka (June 1, 2012)

    what an inspiring video! i loooove it. and you, Kumamiki, you are so talented, humble and so amazing. love your design, love your work! it encourages me to learn and learn more about Japanese Fashion ^^

  24. 24.

    Aiko (June 2, 2012)

    I really like her style! She is very pretty and sympathic. It is so inspiring to see this video!

  25. 25.

    Kim (June 3, 2012)

    Is that her real hair color?

  26. 26.

    Johnny (June 12, 2012)

    cool~

  27. 27.

    ivory (June 25, 2012)

    what a sweet story i love her line!

  28. 28.

    Anomm (March 30, 2013)

    Where can I buy her stuff? Can’t find it online

  29. 29.

    M.L.Sweetheart (holland) (August 15, 2013)

    I really loved the looks.It’s joyfull,fresh and very sweet. She creates her own world,and does it in a way that makes you want to be part of it. She can be very proud of it. Kumamiki is a great talent,still humble. I hope to see a lot more of her work.

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