Our foray into Heisei era fashion would not be complete without Decora! Peaking in the early 2000s, Decora remains an iconic style that truly represents the “Harajuku spirit”. It’s characterised by an abundance of hair accessories, layered clothing, and handmade trinkets. And it has taken on a new form in recent years by emphasising more and more accessories, and moving away from the original handmade spirit of the style. But it has also found a new icon—Kure-chan! Our exclusive shoot took place where it all began: Takeshita Dori.
This issue we’re exploring different eras of Japanese fashion. Which fashion era inspires you the most, and why?
I’m most inspired by the years between 1995 and 2005. Shinorers, Mini-Moni, kogal, and decoden were popular when I was a child. There were a bunch of crazy fashion styles on TV and in the magazines.
What has been the most monumental part of your career so far?
I got my start as a Kera model in 2010. I was 18 at the time, and I don’t think I would be doing the work I’m doing right now if I hadn’t been scouted in Harajuku. Nobody knew who I was, but they got to know me through articles in Kera and that had a huge influence on what I did afterwards.
Aside from modelling, what are your other creative projects and passions?
I started out as a “Harajuku” model, but I was lucky enough to get jobs at Kera that showcased my skills in styling and design. I’m so grateful that an editor had the foresight put in a good word for me. The editor would say things like “There’re a lot of cute girls out there modelling, but it’s way more interesting when Kurebayashi does it!” It’s been 10 years and I’ve worked on [re]designing the Takeshita Dori arches (a symbol of Harajuku), and produced events there. It’s the first time in Harajuku’s history that there has been a collaboration with an artist—I’m so honoured!
Do you think you will always dress colourfully?
Yeah! I’ve been obsessed with colour ever since I was old enough to talk and that hasn’t changed so I think I’ll always love colour. But, the way I dress depends on how I feel on the day. It goes against my beliefs to be restricted by style because of rigid thinking and getting this across to people is always a difficult thing. I just want to carry on having fun with fashion.
What tips would you offer someone who is just starting out in Decora fashion?
Firstly, wear what you want to wear. Decora is like a work of art: co-ords can look completely different from one another depending on how a person [puts together their look]. There’s no right or wrong. You can gradually add more accessories [to your look], if you feel like you don’t have enough.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any places you would recommend visiting in Tokyo?
I spend most of my spare time sleeping and drawing. It’s really important for me to have time alone. I can’t do a job where I can’t have peace of mind because I’m being controlled by someone or something.
Sometimes I go to the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama. It’s so much fun because you can make your own Cup Noodles.
What are your future goals and dreams?
I want to live freely without being tied down by anything. I want to have fun.
What’s the last piece of culture that you enjoyed and why?
You get picture books in the McDonald’s Happy meal! I’ve had a goldfish one, and a crocodile one ([but] I have two copies of the crocodile). I’ve loved picture books ever since I was a kid so I’m happy that I can still get my hands on one even though I’m all grown up. I [also] went to the Emily the Strange exhibition this month.
Top 5 fashion must-haves?
A blanket, a cushion, my iPad, Wi-fi, and milk.
Any last words?
I had fun taking a stroll down memory lane. I hope it will continue to be just as fun!
Location: Purikura Land Noa
Shoot direction: @choom.online
BTS photography and assistance: @anna.boat.prem
Questions and introduction by Choom, interview translated by Anna.