Fashion at Japan Expo


by Sarah Jones, posted September 26, 2014

Japan Expo is the biggest convention of its kind in Europe. In this 15th Impact, over 260,000 aficionados of anime, Japanese music, fashion, and food passed through the doors of the huge convention center north of Paris over July 2-6.

It was as much a chance to do some serious shopping as to crowd watch or get involved in some kendo, and there were some standout independent boutiques.

Mikie & Co had a bold array of steampunk—a fashion now so tied in with Japanese alternative wear that h.Naoto has just launched their own steampunk-inspired diffusion range. The top hats were given a twist with bronze goggles attached above the rim while other accessories were an explorer’s dream of magnifying glasses and gadgets.

Wonderland Designs took a creative approach to lolita-style headwear, with intricate ships in bright colours on small caps recalling Philip Treacy’s famous design, while a gothic headpiece balanced in a small black birdcage among rich ruby flowers—an unusual take on the gothic style that varied from the typical macabre affair.

These events bring out the best in Japanese fashion and in cosplay, and while there were treasures in the stores, the attendees were a real feast for the eyes with creative and dazzling examples of Japanese street style.

Fittingly for the concert, there was a NoGoD cosplayer from Japan dressed in the most recent of Danchou’s outfit, together with one of the only girls in Harajuku punk.

The lolitas were out in force in a variety of Japanese designers and styles:


Chokelate in regal cream coloured Rose Dress Up by Angelic Pretty with a blouse from Juliette et Justine

Ayumi in a sweet lolita coordinate of Star Night Theater by Angelic pretty with socks from Neb Arran Do

Fanou in the more muted classic lolita with dress and hairband by Innocent World and wig from Lockshop

The darker side of lolita shown by Ataxie: a full coordinate of Moi Meme Moitie in the Alchemy one piece with accompanying bag and headdress, and on the gothic aristocrat side bridging between Japanese and Western styles was Anne Catherine in an opulent handmade historic costume of a long black dress and mask with a distinctly 18th century feel.

There was creativity in lolita coordinates outside the wow factor of the big brands; Ninidevet wore a design playfully based on Doctor Who, right down to the Converse trainers referencing the era of the Tenth Doctor. The hat with model TARDIS was entirely handmade from her store Wonderland Designs.

Outside of the lolita universe, Michael wore cyber gothic very much in the Schwarz Stein mould while Charlene Proust wowed all onlookers with her take on three popular styles: shironuri, cult party kei, and hime. The defined princess feel of hime wouldn’t normally sit well with the jarring effect of shironuri or the loose layering of cult party but this worked and to dramatic effect.

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Sarah began her journey into the world of Japanese music courtesy of L'Arc-en-Ciel back in the year 2000. Since then, she has combined a love of music and music journalism into writing for European Japanese music magazines and assisting with Japanese interest events in the UK. After graduating in Law from the University of Nottingham, she put 'the law-thing' on the backburner to dive into the live scene in Tokyo for 3 years. Sarah returned to the UK in September 2010 to do that 'law-thing' and now works for a Japanese bank in London. Her heart is always in the music and fashion in Tokyo and her life is balanced between her time in the UK and Japan. When she has time, she also blogs at

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