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.
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:
- Party Baby Official Website
- Party Baby English-friendly mailorder at Electric Alice
- Party Baby on Facebook
- Party Baby Blog
- Kumamiki on Twitter
Video shot & produced by 1K Films. Kumamiki photo by 1K Films.
1K Films is a full production independent video company working in both the US & Japan. For more info, check out the 1K Films website.