Inspired by anime, manga, and ’80s/’90s fashion, Galaxxxy is known for being a shining example of bright and colourful clothing from Japan. The company has built quite a name for itself over the years, become known around the world and is working with acts such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Kimura U. It has collaborated with a number of companies, including Cartoon Network, and at MCM London Comic Con it is going to have a special showcase of its new season items.
The brand, in association with Keep It Secret, is selling some of its clothes and will also have its own fashion show during Saturday’s schedule at the Pop Asia Stage. Before that, MyM BUZZ had the chance to sit down with Galaxxxy representative Go Kawashima and model Kimura U on Friday to discuss the brand, their careers, and the growth of J-fashion culture in the UK.
How did you both get into Harajuku fashion?
GK: “Ordinary people are connected to Galaxxxy; our brand doesn’t intend to be Harajuku fashion but people thought that we use a Harajuku style! It’s more focused on colours and being cute, though.”
KU: “I used to like anime, and I liked their colourful designs so I wanted to wear similar things to what they were wearing. The foreign ministry chose me to be the Ambassador of kawaii (cute) culture, and I find that even Harajuku fashion has a lot of different styles to it like Moe and Lolita. And I want to wear clothes that can be used in everyday life, rather than cosplay-style clothing. Galaxxxy use anime illustrations for their designs and promotion, so I like that part of it too.”
GK: “There are a lot of different types of illustrating, but when we do collaborations we use anime images.”
How did you two start working together?
KU: “I used to love Galaxxxy’s brand a lot before I started working with them. I wanted to be a member of a band, and I went to Tokyo to do this and I wanted to use designs by Galaxxxy for the CD jacket. So I phoned the company and they didn’t know who I was. So I went to their offices and went to ask them about using their designs. I introduced myself as the Ambassador of kawaii and then they asked me if I wanted to be a model for them. I talked with them about going abroad and that helped to promote Galaxxy’s image and they were so impressed with what I was saying. It was six years ago, at that time I didn’t know anything about working with fashion businesses so I think I was quite brave to go talk to them.”
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
GK: “Galaxxxy is a team of people, so it’s not just me working on the designs. So somebody will design the shape of the clothes and then a graphic designer will do the pattern, so it’s all about team work. Each season we decide a theme, like using a Japanese image or cyber image, and whether it’ll be for school or not. So we haven’t got a concrete image, we decide on the theme for the season and then we make designs based on that.”
What’s your role in the team?
GK: “I do everything except graphic design! We have two graphic designers in our company, and those two people are the main people that work on it. We also do collaboration, some of these designs are done by a graphic designer that works outside of our company, for example.”
How did you come to work with Keep It Secret?
GK: “Mark of Keep It Secret found our company and wanted to work with us.”
So you started in the fashion industry through Galaxxxy, what have you been working on since joining them?
KU: “I have been to a lot of countries as the Ambassador of Cute. I also work as a model for the magazine Kera, as well as a Lolita brand. I do my own designs as well, and I am collaborating with a Japanese idol group called The World Standard to make their costumes. I’m also working as a voice actor for the anime Idol Memories. I am voicing it and singing songs for the Japanese and Chinese version of the show.”
What are your fashion designs like?
KU: “I do everything myself, from the designing to the shape. I made these clothes for The World Standard and it’s got a magical girls theme to it. I am producing these clothes and I imagine that they’re in a game and I think about what their powers are.”
What does your role as Ambassador of Cute involve?
KU: “One day before I came to this event I was working at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and I was invited there to talk about kawaii fashion.”
Has anything been challenging for you?
KU: “Voice acting has been a bit challenging, I’ve been studying for two years and now I am working on my first anime so that is quite challenging. I work as a voice actor in the day and then when I get home I work on my fashion designs, so it is quite hard.”
GK: “The most challenging thing is dealing with different clothing sizes, because when I am selling my clothes abroad I think they are too small for my customers. In Japan this is a big size [pointing to a skirt that’s probably size 8], also I am collaborating on some companies that have a license to sell these clothes abroad.”
How do you see your work evolving in the future?
GK: “I want the brand to spread to America, Europe, and Asia. I think that the brand is too flashy for Japanese people so I’d like to target the audience abroad.”
What do you think about the increasing presence and popularity of Harajuku and Kawaii fashion abroad?
GK: “I think my clothing gets more attention abroad than in Japan, our brand is gradually spreading in Europe and in the United States. Keep it Secret is also helping to bring the brand to Europe.”
KU: “I worked on an advert that was shown in the UK for Carphone Warehouse, and I worked with Keith Lemon. I feel that the Japanese image would be best for that advert, so I dressed in Galaxxxy’s clothing. That’s the best way to present the image that people expect of Japan in abroad, in the country the number of children is decreasing and I think that the market is bigger outside Japan. I am glad MCM Comic Con organised our fashion show.”
What have you got in store for the fashion show?
GK: “We are going to show clothing that hasn’t been seen before and have new designs, Kimura will be modelling too.”