Paint the scene...
Avril Lavigne's Hello Kitty video just came out and I am on tumblr watching in fascination as people start tearing this video apart... And as usual I am over come with curiosity of what everyone was talking about so I tried watching the video.
TRIED being the key word here, I couldn't get through it at all!
Mainly I didn't like the song, but I also didn't think Avril's look was cute, in fact it reminded me of when me and my friends would go to the mall and "dress like Harajuku girls like Gwen Stafani". We were sophomores in High School and weeabos for sure and seeing Avril a grown women doing what I did six years ago bothered me.
Here is the thing, I grew up in those six years and realized that what I did as a Sophomore in High School was wrong, not because I hurt anyone in particular with my actions but because I realized that this Harajuku fashion is a part of the Japanese culture. That it just wasn't throwing on mismatched layers of clothes and some accessories and calling it Harajuku fashion, that it was a deeper realer thing that included many other sub styles that originated there and how it fitted in to Japan's culture.
Since then I have learned much more about J-fashion, seeing as I am a Lolita! What I have learned is that most people from Japan want to share their fashion with us! They go out of there way, like hiring Kawaii ambassadors and having over seas TV about Kawaii fashion, to include all of us to what is unique to them.
What Gwen and Avril did is take a country and their fashions and rip them off to make some fast money, and once again its not like Japan doesn't go out of its way to share there street fashion culture with us anyway so it's not hard to do it in a nice and "correct" way (like actually showing their fashion instead of showing your own version of it to millions of people). Correct meaning a way to show off Japan's culture rather than just ripping it off to seem edgy.
You can click this link to read more about Avril and her Hello Kitty disaster
So knowing all of this I am going to show you some video's that blew my mind which deal with the same category.
As always you can click this to watch the video on YouTube
After you watch the music video I would highly highly encourage you to watch Elleanor's video on Tokyo Fashion if you haven't already!
Watch it on YouTube here if you would like
DID YOU WATCH THEM?
DID YOU REALLY?
Because if you didn't this next part of the article is going to be mighty weird and you might not understand it at all...
Okay! On ward we go!!
First, I did not link Avril's video so I hope you are well versed in what had happened...
Second, I would like to point out that I will be talking about why I like Lionhearted and how this is a giant step forward from Avril's Hello Kitty video this is by no means the end of the line, it can still be a problematic piece of work (and probably is)! Here I won't be highlighting this so much as explaining why it takes these steps forward from Avril's video.
Okay for real let's break this video down!
Elleanor is contacted by Porter Robinson, he has reached out to her because he loves Japanese fashion and just Japan in general. This is not surprising many people feel the exact same way from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry to Avril!
He has asked her to come to LA to be the costume designer for his new music video, he has explained to her that he wanted REAL Japanese fashion to be a feature in the video rather than a carbon American copy made to duplicate it. He asked Elleanor to come out and do this so that real Japanese fashion is featured because Elleanor is an actual Japanese street snap girl who is often featured on Tokyofashion.com.
How this is different from Avril? Well.....
This is not any Japanese street or main stream fashion that I can think of, the closest it comes is to the bittersweet Kawaii trend that happened when KyaryPamyuPamyu became popular in 2012 which is not as popular as it used to be and if it is suppose to be this it does a very bad job of it. Random "kawaii" stuff and a black shirt and stockings does not make a actual Japanese street fashion outfit, it is half baked and looks like it, not to mention the clones in the back ground, and the set. I believe they were trying to go for a 6%DokiDoki atheistic, or a KyaryPamyuPamyu atheistic since they are both designed by the same person, and that even looks half done. It looks like they literally just grabbed all this stuff at party city right before filming.
Japanese fashion in Lionhearted...
These are screen caps of the ladies chosen to get dressed up including Elleanor. The hair, the bright tutu skirt, the masks, this is real street style atheistic straight from Japan.
Next we can talk about the weapons! Traditionally weapons equate power. That is what they symbolized here, these women dressed in Japanese street fashion's power. This one way this is so different from Avril's video! These women while in the back ground and following the lead guy's order (for right now) are given SYMBOLS OF POWER and violence. The masks also show conformity and they are literally covering up a part of them selves, they are repressing themselves. In one part of the music video THEY TEAR THESE OFF. THEY RIP OFF WHAT IS OPPRESSING THEM. (They do this near the very end of the video though)
Once again here they are agian, wearing masks running around, they walk around and anything they touch changes and becomes different. Which I can say is what Japanese street fashion does for a lot of us.
Also notice the Porter Robinson isn't super kawaii'd out, he is just in simple clothes that many Americans see on the street every day. As the video starts he is using these girls as his extension to change the world. These are his accessories.
When they rip off their masks they are acknowlegding that they are not his to boss around, he does not get to opress them. They are their own people and not his accessories!
So much different then the back up dancers in Avril's video, no emotion there at all even though this pop song is suppose to be about their home land, we assume so but they could have hired anyone.
Near the end of the song now, we see him in a building looking at all the things he has changed with his kick ass team, and you see their silloutes, then they come closer and
They kill him, they take over what is theirs and blow up the building he is in.
I think this is sending very clear messages to the people like Avril who used this culture as an accessory.
It takes her video, in my mind, and sets these stereotypes free. It says that this isn't your accessory to make a buck on, these are real people and a real culture people all around the world take time out to do the right way, you as a celebrity should do so too cause you have no excuse. Other wise these girls will mess you up because the whole sweet Asian girl thing is a stereotype, it is by no means the truth.
These girls literally start this video going along with him, to being pushed around wearing masks by him, to tearing them off and killing him... this is such an important music video. With the weapons they have to symbolize power the take their power back from the guy who was using them.
If you don't think that is cool there might be no hope for you.
Till next time,
Bouns pic because I love Elleanor