Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And the Winner of the JapanTown Cool Japan Fashion Contest is...

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for: the winner of the JapanTown Cool Japan Fashion Contest is...Paloma L.! She will receive a round trip ticket to Japan through American Airlines. Congrats, Paloma!
The winner, Paloma L., is dressed in Decora-kei style

We chose Paloma because we thought that she best showed what we are looking for in this contest: someone who best embodies "cool Japan" and Japanese cool culture. Paloma perfectly nailed down the Decora-kei style, a style which is like, as judge Megumi Sato of Samurai Beat Radio aptly put it, "her closet throwing up all over her." It screams Harajuku and stands out as the most interesting and uniquely Japanese among the rest. What she’s wearing has so many parts that it compels you to take a closer look. It’s interesting, cute, odd, creative, requires an eye for style, takes work to prepare and confidence to wear—and most importantly, is original to Japan.

Choosing a winner for this fashion contest was a long story in itself. In these few weeks, judges from American Airlines, IACE Travel, and Samurai Beat Radio debated and slowly whittled down the nearly 100 fabulously dressed contestants to ultimately one winner. There were some strong and great opinions from the judges, who were very familiar with Japanese culture and fashion from spending their lives traveling and promoting Japan. Instead of pronouncing a winner in one week after the festival, we spent time deliberating to make a fair decision; so apologies for the delay! I don't think we would've been so confident in our choice if we only had one week to decide. Our goal was to stick to finding someone who represented what "cool Japan" should be like, someone whose style shone above the rest and most importantly exhibited the uniqueness of Japanese culture.

We most admire Paloma's hard work in putting this look together; she clearly did her research into Decora-Kei style, which is all about wearing an overwhelming number of cute accessories and layers with lots of pink and patterns. It's a extreme, flamboyant style that stands out in a crowd—very Harajuku Girl.

While Decora-Kei seems comprised of random accessories, achieving this particular look actually takes serious thought and planning. A girl isn't able to throw on everything in her closet and look like a Decora (unless all she owns is cutesy pink stuff). We liked that Paloma made a great effort in finding accessories that matched and the details she created.

If you look closely at Paloma's outfit, you'll notice that she took care in mismatching. The accessories have a consistency in their details that make her style work. There are stripes in her socks, armwarmer, vest, in the Hello Kitty tee, and even in the glasses hanging from her collar. There are plaids in her socks, shoes, and skirt. Her accessories, hung or attached with various hooks and pins, include Sanrio plush toys, cute hairclips, and various other charms and chains that coordinate because they belong in her color scheme of pink, white and black with hints of green and yellow. All of this miscellany is unified by her foundation outfit—a pink shirt, pink tulle skirt and a black and white striped vest. Everything else largely falls within this color scheme. We also liked the little details, such as the different colored hearts on her toes, hearts in her belt, and the star studs in her bag. Even the blue bear hanging from her belt has its own buttons!

As for the other contestants, we acknowledge that you all put lots of hard work into your outfits too, and we thank you for that and your enthusiasm! You all worked to give the Cool Japan festival a unique focal point. Even New York Times' style editors took notice! Thanks again, everyone, but don't put away those costumes yet! Wear them to our Healthy Food & Green Festival on August 22nd. After all, it's still a Japanese culture festival (but with lots of tasty nutritious food)!

Here's who the close runners-up are:
12b Nirvana S.
13b Carla A.
18b Jenny H.
19b Melissa P.
27b. Ivanna H.
29b Eric C.
14b Chris T.
21c. Judy Y.
60b Briana T.
75b Elena P.
76b David (?) H.