Top Harajuku model and recording artist Una returned to J-Pop Summit 2016! Read more to know her current fashion obsessions, what projects she’s doing, and photos from her Moshi Moshi Nippon performance! Photos by Christian Hadidjaja.
It’s been a while since we last saw Una, one of Japan’s top Harajuku models who is well-known for her edgy and cool style. We got a chance to chat with her and see her perform on Saturday, June 23 during J-Pop Summit 2016 weekend.
The encounter felt both nostalgic and foreign at the same time. Una’s style, while retaining some of its core qualities, has evolved a little bit. So we spent some time to talk not only about Harajuku style in general, but also her evolving style and opinion about dressing up in any age. Many times during the interview, we checked out several Instagram profiles to discuss fashion, and it was a really fun and engaging experience. Once again, shout out to Nadya-san for being my translator!
Moreover, later that day, we got to see Una performing three songs at Moshi Moshi Nippon stage and got reminded of her multi-faceted talents. She definitely has a great future ahead of her! Thank you J-Pop Summit for this interview opportunity, and please check out Una’s website to know more of her works.
Interview with Una
Fafafoom: Una-san, it’s been a while since we last saw you, and now you’re back in San Francisco! How are you? Anything new you’re inspired by?
Una: Yes, it’s my third time in San Francisco! I’m doing well, but it’s…very cold! Well, yesterday I was shooting videos and had a lot of fun exploring more areas in San Francisco.
Fafafoom: Where did you go?
Una: I tried seeing the Golden Gate bridge yesterday, but it was really foggy, so I couldn’t see anything! Tomorrow I will try again for sure! (And looking from her Instagram, her second attempt was successful!)
I also went to Pier 39 and the Coit Tower, where I saw great views of the city and the Alcatraz Island! I wanted to go there, but apparently there was no opening for over a month. Moreover, I got this fringe jacket from a thrift store at Haight-Ashbury area!
Fafafoom: You wear it really well! Una, you always look really lovely and it’s no wonder that you’re one of the Harajuku fashion leader. In my opinion of Harajuku style, there’s always a lot of effort in gathering a theme, and then putting special emphasis on a focal point as highlight. Is this the “right method” for dressing up, or do you have your own method to assemble an outfit?
Una: Wow, thank you! For me, Harajuku style greatly varies depending on the individual. I love fashion so much. I draw a lot of inspirations and ideas from vintage items to mod style, as well as music and movies. Then, using my own filter, I incorporate all those things that I see and express them to what I’d like to wear at that moment.
Fafafoom: Talking about style, One of your signature outfits is combining cropped t-shirt with oversize patterned jacket, pants, and hat. Has this been your signature style or has it evolve over time?
Una: I love the from 90s hip-hop style. I find oversize silhouettes and double-up kicks to be really cool. I also study singers, such as Lauryn Hill and how she mixes her accessories. I don’t want to incorporate everything as-is, but I create my own style with incorporating those elements with current, modern trends.
Fafafoom: So what trends are you into right now?
Una: Hmm…(checking out her image board on Instagram) I just recently opened an Instagram account, and I love posting pictures of things I’m really into. I’m into bold colors, silver accessories.
Actually, I just started an online vintage shop two months ago called Chample Tokyo. I used to wear cool, boyish style a lot more. After I chopped my hair, I wear more girly outfits and mix them up with a little bit of boyish elements. It keeps things fresh!
Fafafoom: Wow, I’ll definitely check out your Chample Tokyo! By the way, what’s your daily beauty routine look like?
Una: Well, I keep it simple. I always took off my makeup before going to bed. That’s a must! In the morning, I wash my face with cold water, apply toner, cream…well, even though there are a lot of skin care products to use, the most essential thing is to apply beauty serum.
Fafafoom: What are your current Top 5 must-have fashion items?
Una: Hmm…(checking out her mood board again) Ah, space-patterned Hawaiian shirt! Also, denim – jacket and bottoms, sneakers, ankle boots, and sunglasses.
Fafafoom: It’s clear that you love Chanel. What is it about the brand you love very much that relates with your image?
Una: Chanel’s image is very feminine and very strong; I want to be that woman. Moreover, their styles tend to be more simple but impactful. I get inspired by the brand a lot, and I respect and look up to the brand very much.
Fafafoom: When I go to Tokyo and I see people dressing up, especially in Harajuku area, they tend to be young. I see lots of teens and people in their 20s dressing up, but perhaps nobody above 30. In United States, age really doesn’t matter in terms of experimenting with new styles. What do you think about that?
Una: I definitely wish Japan can be more like that. Anybody should enjoy being true to themselves and experimenting with variety of styles. I am all for embrace dressing up in any age. If I compare the way I dress now compared to 2 years ago, there are certain fundamentals I stick with, and there are things that evolve as I get older. My fashion reflects that. For example, I love Chanel, but how I wear the brand has changed.
Dressing up is not about pretending to be someone you’re not – you don’t have to change your style dramatically. Instead, it’s about embracing who you are and whatever age that may be, express yourself, and dress how you feel like. That’s what I believe in.
Fafafoom: Do you have any current fashion trend(s) you like that you feel certain to still be excited about a year from now?
Una: I will always like casual and street fashion for my off-duty wear. And I definitely LOVE sneakers. Clothes always changes, but handbags and shoes are always the same for me.
Fafafoom: Last time we talked, you mentioned something that was really striking to me. You said that you’d like “Una” to be your life work. Now, two years later, what’s the image for your personal brand?
Una: My personal brand is about being cool and edgy, but more importantly, it has to come from within. Being cool or edgy doesn’t mean anything if it’s done just for appearance. You really need to embody it. I make it work because I embody the coolness and edgyness from within myself.
Fafafoom: Do you have upcoming projects you’re most excited about?
Una: I started acting and creating short movie clips. In addition to having my music, vintage shop, and modeling, I want to study acting more.
Fafafoom: Wow, that’s amazing! We wish you all the best in your various endeavors; be it music, modeling, or acting. We’re certain you can do them all successfully. Please come back again to San Francisco next time!
Una: Thank you very much!
Moshi Moshi Nippon Stage: Una’s Performance
Later that day, Una-san took the J-Pop Summit main stage to perform three songs. including “Lonely Flower” and “JUICY JUICY” during Moshi Moshi Nippon segment. She’s as good as I remembered her from two years ago. Her dance movements were beautiful and she’s always very present and charming in her delivery and attitudes.
As an Enjoy Aeon! ambassador, she also promoted AEON Mall and the rise of “randoseru” as a trendy fashion item. Previously seen as an elementary school kids’ essential, the colorful backpack is gaining popularity amongst adults.
It’s really lovely to interview Una-san and see her perform again. While I wished her performance time was longer, it’s good to know that she’s pursuing various projects in her professional career right now. Go Una-san, we’re rooting for you!
Thanks for reading; until next time,
Fafafoom team for Interview with Una:
Interviewer & Editor: Mira Musank
Photographer: Christian Hadidjaja
Assistant Editor: Kuni Natsuki