Every Day is a Pink Day for Pink Princess Alison Jones!
Rising star Alison Jones, aka @kawaiiconic.ali, doesn’t just wear pink every Wednesday—Ali wears pink from head-to-toe every day! Hailing from Alaska, Ali has wanted to wear Harajuku fashion since the age of 12. Following her dreams ultimately led her to Japan where she found her happily ever after in Gunma. But what happens after happily ever after? And is it all that it is cracked up to be? We sat down with Ali to chat about her style, being a kawaii fashion enthusiast, and the realities of life in Japan.
Please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Alison Jones, but I go by Ali in my personal life and Kawaiiconic Ali online! I am a monochromatic all pink Kawaiicon currently living in Gunma Japan teaching English. My ultimate goal here in Japan is to become a singer and designer!
How did you discover Japanese street fashion?
I was introduced to J-Fashion from the internet! Lolita fashion is a stepping stone for many people in the kawaii niche, however I never could see myself in that style. So I dug deeper, and found gyaru. Gyaru for me was so liberating. It was a rebellion from society, but in a glamorous way!
How has your style evolved since?
I started incorporating gyaru into my daily life, but it was mainly through makeup. I then took what I learned from both of those styles and put casual lolita and gyaru into my daily outfits, but I would only wear pink. My goal when I first got to college was to own a full pink wardrobe, it just felt right. My style now is very experimental. I love to try all styles, and make them pink!
You probably get asked this a lot, but why do you wear pink from head-to-toe? What does the colour pink mean to you?
I am a twin! Growing up my mother would always say “Green for Josephine (my twin sister) and Pink for Alison”! I have always been attached to pink. I would only use pink colored pencils, pink pens, pink utensils, only pink! In a way, it’s my shield from a world that still has a lot to learn.
Once I dyed my hair pink in college for the first time, I looked in the mirror and I finally saw someone I wanted to be for years: Confident. Pink is my identifier as a twin, my identity as a person, and the palette from which I colour my world with. It’s a beautiful feminine colour, and a strong one. It’s me.
Can you tell us about the first time you visited Harajuku?
My first time visiting Harajuku was while I was in the 2018 Kakehashi project. It was a government sponsored program for individuals who wanted to work in Japan in the pop culture industry. As soon as I stepped through the gate at Takeshita-dōri, I knew I was home. The streets smelled like sugar, the people wore so many different sub-styles and everything and everyone screamed freedom. Seeing all the kawaii clothes and shoes made something click in me. Similar to when I dyed my hair pink, it was like the second a-ha! moment for me!
What has experiencing kawaii fashion in its birthplace been like for a kawaii fashion lover like yourself?
Being able to go to Harajuku in a full pink outfit and seeing others in their own styles is like a breath of fresh air. Harajuku is like a dream come to life, and I’m really REALLY grateful that I am a part of kawaii fashion history when I hit those streets! Being there is like being a part of something so much bigger than anyone could dream of really. It’s just really amazing.
How do you balance being a full-time English teacher and a pink princess who sings and creates content online?
I will be honest in saying teaching English is very difficult. I live in rural Japan (Gunma, just outside of Saitama) and my school treated me very badly in the first month. One of the teachers found my SNS and they gossiped to my company about my tattoos, bullied me openly to my face, and it took 3 weeks for them to say good morning to me. You need to have strong mental health to survive in Japan. I sit at my desk for hours with nobody to talk to, however I am one of the lucky ones. Even though I can’t talk to my mom about what happens at my school, my audience has been nothing but patient and supportive. They know my story. They are the best audience anyone could ask for.
It has been pretty difficult to balance both. I come home often very depressed, but once I come home to my pink apartment, things start to brighten up. I am looking forward to finally getting lighting and creating new and exciting content, especially since coronavirus will (hopefully) be clearing up soon!
What advice would you give to kawaii street fashion enthusiasts who are planning to move to Japan?
If you want to visit Japan, PLEASE DO! Walk the streets of Harajuku, see the lights of Shinjuku, explore outside of Tokyo if you can! Have fun and always keep a trash bag on you! Also, a handkerchief.
If you are planning to live in Japan, STUDY THE SOCIETY. You need to have strong mental health before you come here. Japan may have saved you, but it won’t save you. You gotta live with Japan, not be Japanese (if that makes sense!) I live in rural Japan, so speaking from the cold, bitter heart of Japanese society, you gotta keep your feelings hidden. If you live in a city, I think things would be a lot less suffocating.
Japan is a beautiful country with many ups and downs. I plan on living in or near Tokyo after my contract is up here in Gunma, but this experience is teaching me quickly how to live in Japan. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it isn’t over. It’s just starting and I can’t wait to make that 12-year-old girl singing Japanese songs in a small town in Alaska proud!