Bedroom Tour: Youth, Identity and Alternative Style

It’s an exhilarating experience plastering your childhood princess pink wall in matte black paint. Maybe your supportive mother grinned from ear to ear, her baby was developing a personality! Dad? He frowned—an aversion to gothic décor, no doubt. You invited your best friend over because you were so excited to give a tour of your bedroom. They explored your scattered anime prints blu-tacked to the ceiling, albums of bands you’re fangirling over, and lace Ikea curtains.

Since then, different décor has been tried out. There was the Twilight shrine complete with wine (cranberry juice to replicate blood). Then that became the psychedelic, rainbow room when black became too drab. But, the space between the bed and wall held your deepest, darkest secrets: diaries full of mushy prose and an ex’s love poem. Each bedroom iteration expressed who you were in a space you had almost total control over.


Image courtesy of The Fader.

The bedroom is an integral safe space for the community. Good times are made alongside the bad. The happy and sad moments spent in our rooms make up the formative experiences that have made the community who they are today. The bedroom is the canvas that the community uses to chronicle their lives.

Most started exploring and experimenting in their bedrooms because that was the first place that they could call their own. Walls are usually the first casualty of early teenage expression. Purikura, celebrity crush, magazine cut-outs, and doodles sprawling across every inch of wall space like a discombobulated gallery. For those new to alternative fashion, it’s the only private place to fully express yourself in your home. Parents and siblings don’t always understand why you purposely ripped your tights or sheared off your long mane. Likewise, you don’t know why every room, except yours, in the family home is beige. (Shudder)


Image courtesy of Design Corral.

The hallmark of adolescence is adults treating you like a child but expecting you to act like a grown-up. They knock to respect your privacy, but ignore the “Do Not Enter” sign on the doorknob and barge in anyway! For the community, bedrooms represent finding your own sense of alternative style and hobbies without prying, misunderstanding eyes. Reading manga, watching anime, joining an online, kawaii fashion forum required a safe space. Imagine discovering yaoi in front of a sibling or parent? No thanks!

You see, most of the community stumbled upon anime or Harajuku fashion when surfing the internet using a desktop or a laptop. And simple practicality meant that the desk became a portal to connect with online friends and publish fan-fiction. Hello Kitty pens and Sailor Moon stickers crept up on a desk no longer meant just for homework. Pictures adorned the wall above the desk bringing back memories of anime conventions, Lolita tea parties and getting ready for a meet-up with IRL friends.

It took weeks of scraping together pocket money but the tidal wave of clothes preventing your wardrobe from shutting is a love letter to your favourite brands in Japan. (You can’t physically visit but you can buy online.) Petticoats hang triumphantly on pink hangers. Jeans scrunched into balls and shoved into a black hole behind all the frills. Your wardrobe, if it could talk, would say one thing: “Look! This is what I like and this is who I am.”


Image courtesy of @Angel Marie via Tumblr.

It’s important to surround ourselves with hobbies, fashion and memories because they help pull us out of dark places and into safe spaces. Remember your first heartbreak? When your ex’s acid-laced words left you feeling like you’d never be happy again. What about that time when a stranger made fun of your rainbow platform boots? Tears dampened your pillow like a tide pool. But, between sobs the polaroids on your wall reminded you of the community. So, you played your favourite song, grabbed an outfit you hadn’t gotten around to wearing and danced like nobody was watching… because, well, nobody was.

The duality of our rooms being a safe space is integral to the alternative fashion community. It’s not just four walls and a bed. If a bedroom was only a place to sleep, we wouldn’t rearrange the furniture so often. A bedroom transcends your life experiences because it shelters you through your best and worst.


Written by Ash.
Featured image courtesy of Tokyo Fashion.

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