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Home » Gwen Stefani Defends Harajuku-Inspired Style: ‘It’s Okay to Be Influenced by Different Cultures’

Gwen Stefani Defends Harajuku-Inspired Style: ‘It’s Okay to Be Influenced by Different Cultures’

11 January 2023, Wednesday
Gwen Stefani is still embracing the Harajuku era which began in 2004 with the release of her first studio album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby,” and was continued further with the launch of her “Harajuku Lovers” fragrance in 2008. In response to the album's artwork and promotional materials, Stefani was often accused of misappropriating the Harajuku subculture from Japan. To accompany her on international trips, she hired four “Harajuku Girls” who are both Japanese and Japanese-American dancers and were used as her personal entourage. This same group even inspired the design of the fragrance bottles for her product.

Stefani's Harajuku era, which was launched almost two decades ago, has recently been given a new spotlight due to her interview with Allure magazine to promote her vegan beauty brand, GXVE Beauty. When asked about what she had taken from the Harajuku era, Stefani was eager to defend its importance. She revealed the influence of her father's work at Yahama, as he spent 18 years commuting between his home in California and Japan, introducing Stefani to its culture.

Gwen Stefani has revealed that her fascination with the Japanese culture had its roots in her childhood. She commented to Allure magazine that her upbringing had a lot of Japanese influence. This culture, which is rich in tradition, yet futuristic and pays a lot of attention to art and detail, has always been something captivating to her.

When Stefani visited the Harajuku district as an adult, she was amazed to discover a part of her identity she had not been aware of before - her Japanese roots. She said: "My God, I'm Japanese and I didn't know it. I am, you know."

Gwen Stefani recently declared herself a passionate enthusiast of Japanese culture, but this has caused some controversy due to her past 'Harajuku era'. When asked to comment on the situation, she responded saying that it should be acceptable to be inspired by other cultures and it is wrong to criticize her for sharing something that she found beautiful. She described her time of exploration as "a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture," and believes that we shouldn't be segregated against each other.

During our interview, Stefani stated twice that she had a multicultural background, stating that she was 'a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of a Japanese girl, a little bit of an English girl'. However, the following day, a representative for the singer suggested that the interviewer may have misunderstood her remarks. When asked to provide an on-the-record comment or clarification of these remarks, the team declined.

Gwen Stefani recently spoke with Allure about her identification with Japanese culture and her upbringing in Anaheim, California. She explained that her love for Japanese culture began after taking a trip to Japan when she was 18, and she has since been inspired by the fashion, beauty, art and culture of the country. Additionally, Stefani noted that she has also been deeply moved by her Hispanic and Latinx roots. “The music, the way the girls wore their makeup, the clothes they wore, that was my identity,” she said. “Even though I’m an Italian American — Irish or whatever mutt that I am — that’s who I became because those were my people, right?”

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