Here is the second interview in the ‘Gaijin Gyaru Series‘ – say ‘hello’ to…
Location: Northumberland, UK
1. First off, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you tell us a little bit about your fashion background and how you got into gal.
You’re more than welcome! I’m flattered to have been asked to take part!
My fashion background isn’t terribly good; I never had much of an interest in following trends when I was younger…I started getting more into it once I went to uni and wasn’t stuck in a school uniform all week and a work one all weekend. I was a bit alternative and gothy/emo for a while but I wasn’t very good at that either! I started getting a lot more girly when I was in my final year and it was around then that I started to get into parapara which lead me towards Gal!
I joined Hibiscgyaru as a first generation member and through the more experienced and knowledgeable girls I learnt more about Gal and how to style myself better…I also got a lot more interested in clothes, and following trends.
2. What are you favourite things about gal?
My favourite thing about Gal is probably the way I feel when I’ve taken the time to make sure my make-up and hair is good. It’s true that knowing you look put together and good makes you feel better about yourself and I know I feel awesome when I’ve spent an hour and a half doing my hair and make-up before I’ve even got my clothes on.
Other than that, I’d have to say I love how dedicated each style is; if you’re into the pale denim, floral, cowboy type trend that is currently around then there are shops like Liz Lisa which have clothing just for that style; if you want to look ultra-sexy there is MA*RS which is packed out with brilliantly sexy clothing…it’s dedication to a trend or a specific look which you don’t see in the Western world. When a trend emerges here, shops tend to carry carbon copies of the same pieces of clothing but in Japan the shops make the trends their own and each has an individual look and each store has fiercely loyal customers who subscribe to this look to represent themselves.
3. Do you have any style preferences and is there anything you wouldn’t try?
I have to say, I do love a range of styles but I find that some just don’t fit with the way I look. I really love the cowgirl trend that I have already mentioned but with the 5 tattoos I have on my legs alone, I don’t feel I can really pull this look off.
I absolutely love Gilfy, Backs, and Glad News. I feel like the slightly edgier, rockier look of these brands suits my image and my personality, although I also like Cecil McBee for more ‘grown-up’ clothing, and Co&Lu when I want to be less dressed up and more playful and bright in my clothing. I also love MA*RS for the sex appeal its clothing pretty much oozes.
I think I would steer clear of the cuter, pastel type outfits seen a lot in Popteen because although I enjoy the clothing, I don’t think it’s for me. I also probably wouldn’t try wearing Liz Lisa, or more hime type clothing.
Lucie-Liu workin’ some of her Co&Lu
4. You live in the UK, so how do you keep up with the latest gal trends?
I am a religious saver of any Gal photos I see online; the ohyeahgyaru tumblr is brilliant for this, and any photos can be used as inspiration for hair, make-up or outfits! I follow several Gal blogs including the awesome Universal Doll which offers excellent breakdowns of the latest trends and a huge database of information, links and tips! I try to buy Ranzuki and Ageha when I can from the Japan Centre in London and I have a back catalogue of Popteen that I refer to for hair and make-up ideas also. I, personally, have found that posting on message boards can be very counterproductive as there ends up with so many conflicting views on how something should be done, or if it is indeed a Gal look.
When I have been to Japan I take a note of what is popular in the stores and I will either pick up something that is right on trend for the moment or basics that will outlast the trends!
5. Are there any British stores that you would recommend for the gals who can’t afford to go to Japan or use a shopping service?
I love River Island, and recently H&M has been producing some items that can be worked into an outfit and made Gal. I find it useful to make a note of specific items I want to create a look and then browsing several different shops until I find as close to what I want as I can!
6. Your make-up is always gorgeous. Do you always use the same routine, or do you like to try out different trends?
Thank you! Most days I use the same routine to be honest…I like saving trying out new things for when I’m either going out or when I don’t have to catch a train as I find it very time-consuming!! It’s the same with hair; if I’m trying out something new I’ll wait til I have the time to spend on it rather than rushing it to get somewhere on time!
7. How did you find 109 and the gal scene in general when you first visited Tokyo?
The first time I visited 109 and Tokyo, I wasn’t sure what to expect…Because I was there while the January sale was on, I experience the mania that is 109 at its height! I felt a little intimidated by 109 and the huge amount of fashion it has to offer because I hadn’t yet figured out my own personal style, and I hadn’t found the confidence to work the style into everyday British life.
When I returned earlier this year I found shopping to be a much more enjoyable experience as I knew what the trends were and I knew the shops that I preferred and what I wanted from them. I found all the staff to be absolutely lovely (apart from one incident in SBY >.