The JPop Summit Festival this year was destined to be better and greater when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was scheduled to do a live performance at Union Square Live event and to make an appearance at San Francisco Japantown for Harajuku Kawaii pop-up store opening celebration and fashion show.
But a few days before JPop Summit Festival began, we were unprepared to see just how big the whole ordeal was. (That’s why this post is quite full of pictures!)
The Press Preview
We were asked to check in at 11:15am in front of NEW PEOPLE building on Saturday, July 27. When we arrived, there were already so many people lining up inside (in front of the still-closed Harajuku Kawaii pop-up store at NEW PEOPLE Mezzanine floor) to outside and snaking around the building. When the press group went pass all these people to go to the front of the line, it just dawned on me that this exclusive Harajuku Kawaii event was quite an elaborate production.
After waiting for a bit and chatting amongst ourselves, we were ushered in by the JPop Summit organizers to go inside the pop-up store via the side door. And there in the middle of the room, clad in oh-my-gosh-they-are-so-cute outfits, stood Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Sebastian Masuda (who’s both her producer, founder of 6%DokiDoki, and the visionary of the Harajuku Kawaii!! movement), along with Asobi System models Saki Sato, EVA, Ayumi Seto, Yura, as well as 6%DokiDoki model Yuka.
From left to right: Saki Sato, EVA, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Sebastian Masuda, Ayumi Seto, Yura, and Yuka.
The short Q&A period focused mainly on Kyary, who sees fashion as performance styling instead of specific brands choosing. She’s very excited to experience her world-wide success and legion of fans outside of Japan, something she did not initially expect when she first released the hit single “PonPonPon”.
An amusing point that was unanimously communicated: the girls were looking forward for warm summer weather and beaches, however they were quite surprised how cold San Francisco is! (Sorry girls, that is L.A. weather you’re describing :)
Regardless of how cold SF is (and how presumably jet lagged they were), everybody was really excited in bringing Harajuku fashion straight to NEW PEOPLE and highly encouraged people to have fun and try something new in expressing their Harajuku Kawaii spirit.
Harajuku Kawaii Pop-Up Store Opening
After the Q&A, we went back outside of the store and waited for the store main doors to open. Soon enough, the main gate opened and suddenly the crowd’s energy was rejuvenated!
Saki Sato waving to fans who have been waiting for quite a long time to get first access to Harajuku Kawaii pop-up store:
It’s EVA’s turn to get introduced:
Kyary mentioned how everybody’s been working hard to make this pop-up store project happened:
Moments before the ribbon cutting ceremony; human beat boxer Daichi provided some EXCELLENT drum rolls:
If only all ribbon cutting ceremony can be this fun…look at Kyary’s special scissors!
A little bit of “Harajuku Kawaii” background
OK, at this point you should know what’s going on with this whole “Harajuku Kawaii” awesomeness. If you don’t, let me break it down a little bit. The Harajuku Kawaii!! pop-up shop and fashion show (more on that later) were the core highlights of J-Pop Summit Festival 2013 theme “Make KAWAII universal!”. The pop-up store offers exclusive lines from Harajuku, such as 6%DokiDoki, Milk, Milk Boy, SPINNS, GLAD NEWS, Innocent World, Hellcatpunks, among others.
The goal of Harajuku Kawaii event was to “create and celebrate true culture rather than mere trends”, according to Seiji Horibuchi, the President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-Pop Summit Festival Committee.
“We have put an extra emphasis on supporting and nurturing the unique content born in Harajuku such as music, fashion, and overall lifestyle. Harajuku Culture has evolved into Kawaii Culture and gained an ardent global following. We look forward to J-POP Summit attendees joining us to celebrate this colorful and creative movement!”
The visionary Kawaii fashion designer and founder of 6%DokiDoki Sebastian Masuda and Japan’s official “Ambassador of Kawaii” and recording artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu were the vanguards of this extravaganza, produced by ASOBI SYSTEM, a Japanese entertainment company based in Harajuku, Tokyo.
Why did people line up so early in the morning for the Harajuku Kawaii pop-up store on Saturday July 27th? Well, the first 5 customers that purchase over $200.00 in Harajuku Kawaii products between 12pm and 1:30pm were invited to a private photograph session with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. In addition, The first 100 customers to purchase over $100 would receive a premiere poster pre-autographed by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at ASOBI SYSTEM’s booth that was located on Post St. close to NEW PEOPLE. Sebastian Masuda and the ASOBI SYSTEM models (Saki, EVA, Ayumi, and Yura) also appeared for a special meet-and-greet at the booth on both days.
Below are some pictures of the shop when it first opened, along with one of the first 5 customers getting first dip in Harajuku fashion merchandise. The line in front of NEW PEOPLE was also quite a surprise for me.
The Harajuku Kawaii!! Fashion Show
Chris and I took a quick break to get lunch before the 1:10pm fashion show. It was windy outside at Pagoda Peace Plaza that afternoon, however the cloudy weather was so welcomed for photography purposes. As expected, photographers (press and otherwise) were flocking in front and around the stage to reserve the best spots possible to take pictures of the colorful and exuberant fashion show.
After several quick setups, the fashion show starring the ASOBI SYSTEM models aided by local SF models began in full swing. The strong wind knocked down several pop-up banner towers that several people had to hold them in place (instead of handy sand bags), but everything else went fairly smoothly:
First up, the SPINNS group with EVA:
The Innocent World with Yura followed:
Next in line, the Milk and Milk Boy group with Saki Sato:
And finally, the “Harajuku Mix” group (including brands Nadia, Namaiki, among others) with Ayumi Seto:
Oh, it’s not over yet! A special performance by 6%DokiDoki model Yuka commenced! The sensational kawaii model danced with EVA and the local models featuring 6%DokiDoki outfits. The audience seemed to be genuinely entertained by their energetic fun dancing.
After the performance, Saki, EVA, Yura, Ayumi came back on stage with polaroid cameras. Almost immediately, they began taking pictures of each other. What’s that? Oh, some lucky audience members could score a polaroid picture with these super-duper cute girls!
I love these two pictures so much. I guess Chris was working his own not-so-hidden kawaii charm because Yura noticed and took a picture of him. Yura is soooooo cute, Chris and I were both obsessed with her:
Now, how would you be one of 5 lucky winners to score a polaroid picture with Saki, EVA, Yura, and Ayumi? Playing jan-ken-pon with each of them, of course!
EVA looking fantastic during her turn:
This is one of the five lucky winners:
One last Polaroid product placement shot with Saki, EVA, Yura, Ayumi (I love all three camera colors):
The event kept getting better. Special guest Kyary Pamyu Pamyu emerged to the screaming fans! More kawaii pictures were snapped:
Afterwards backstage, the photo session did not stop. Kyary signed several autographs before being ushered away, but Saki, EVA, Yura, Ayumi, Yuka and the local models were still in very high demand for pictures and short interviews:
It was such an amazing Harajuku Kawaii moment on July 27, the first day of JPop Summit Festival at San Francisco Japantown. The colors, the models, the energy, the resulting pictures (thank you, cloudy weather!), it all came together. Beautifully done!
Until next time,