Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.
Multimedia artists Ashley Barton and Louis Hayes were dressed up and ready for the Harajuku parade, which took place downtown earlier this month. I love their attention to detail and originality, and how they stay in line with the “more is more” a Harajuku aesthetic. Barton and Hayes explain their style below.
Ashley Barton: “My look is more influenced by anime than it is by actual Japanese fashion. I’ve basically wished I was a cartoon my entire life. The ears I’m wearing, which I made myself out of fleece, are heavily influenced by the artist Takashi Murakami. His particular brand of creepy/surreal/cute is one I identify with a lot. I usually wanna look like a cutesy alien with a bit of a screw loose. Kawaii [cute] as heck, but a bit off, and I probably bite. The splattered eye makeup is sorta Nickelodeon Slime Time raccoon.
“Everything I’m wearing here, and anytime, comes from thrift stores. Even the monkey I tied around my neck with yarn! I love these overalls; ultra 90s androgynous cartoon-wear for sure. I definitely have a complex where I hate wearing things I know other people have, which is one reason I don’t do department stores (other than high prices and probably sweatshop slave labor).
“This look was mostly improvised last minute. I try to plan, but I usually just end up whipping up something pretty zany just in time. It turned out a lot clownier than I thought, but I dig it!”
Louis Hayes: “I’m really interested in crazy Harajuku fashions but I usually think they’re a bit too neon colorful and candy coated for me, so I did some research before the parade and found out about Cult Party Kei and Dolly Kei, two Japanese fashion styles with a more desaturated color palette and flowy, layered pieces that create a sort of serene but vaguely eerie feeling. I did my own take on these styles—which usually have more lacy textures or knits—by dressing as this concept of a pale fantasy desert nomad from a magical world or something out of a video game like Final Fantasy Tactics. The shoes are a pair of yellow polka dotted boots I foolishly tried dying purple but messed up on (but the sort of worn, damaged look actually worked perfectly with the outfit). I made the little sleeping hand glove necktie myself. Everything else is thrift except for the crystal, which I got at an arts and crafts store and wear all the time (not usually as a head ornament, though). For the makeup, I wanted something really striking but with the same aged, mystical feeling as the clothes, so I tried powdering my face to look like a blushing porcelain doll or royalty from a Rococo painting. Music definitely inspires me in everything that I do, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was listening to a lot of the Deer Tracks last week—they’re an ethereal-sounding duo from Sweden who make intricate, evocative electronic music. Overall it was a really fun outfit to put together and I enjoyed all the stares from confused tourists I got. The parade itself was really great—I made a whole lot of new friends and it’s definitely something I’d like to do again. We walked down to Cloud Gate and ran into another parade of people who were dressed in zombie-themed outfits, so it was fun watching cute frilly Lolitas interacting with grisly undead abominations. Only in Chicago!”
See what Louis is up to on his Instagram @ulterior_votive.