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Designer Aino Owada (right) poses for Style Wylde before the show

Designer Aino Owada (right) poses for Style Wylde before the show

Quickly becoming the North American destination for cutting edge Japanese fashion, San Francisco has seen a host of Tokyo based designers make their US debut within the 7x7 over the last few years. Next weekend at the annual J-Pop Summit Festival in San Francisco's Japantown the latest of such labels Liz Lisa will debut pieces at a weekend-long Pop-up Shop in the New People building, and the label will also host a rose flower-inspired “Shibuya Girls Fashion Contest.”

Style Wylde caught up with Liz Lisa head designer, Aino Owada to discuss the brand, inspiration and bringing her vision to San Francisco.

SW: Liz Lisa has been described as retro meets trendy and inspired by true Shibuya style. What is a “Shibuya fashion girl” and how does she differ from the fashion fans found in other areas of Tokyo? For example, how is she different from a Harujuku girl or a Ginza girl? 

AO: ‘Shibuya fashion’ refers to girls who regularly wear brand clothes from the shops in SHIBUYA 109, the face of Shibuya and the premiere shopping venue for many high end brands. In Harajuku, though in the vicinity of Shibuya, the mainstream is street fashion often expresses the wearers’ individuality (e.g. ‘Gosurori’ (Gothic Lolita), ‘Lolita fashion’ (a style characterized by frilly dresses, bonnets etc.). On the other hand, Shibuya girls tend to prefer to dress similar to their friends. Ginza is a conservative style reminiscent of that of female office workers.

SW: As you may know, in recent years Japanese designers and Japanese fashion trends have been gaining major popularity in the US, but we are still behind the cutting edge fashion of Tokyo!  For the US girl that is just now discovering Liz Lisa, but loves Japanese fashion and wants to embrace the Japanese trends, what key pieces, from your collection, would you recommend she add to her wardrobe first? 

AO: Many popular items by LIZ LISA feature floral patterns, the brand’s icon. So as a starter, I recommend styling that features floral pattern items. The overall style can affect the result greatly, so pay attention to your hairdo and makeup as well to dress up even prettier. 

SW: On Saturday during the J-POP Summit Festival in San Francisco, you will be judging a one-of-a-kind Shibuya Girls Fashion Contest, in which local girls will get to show off their styling savvy. What elements will you be looking for in the ensembles created by the contestants?  Do you anticipate the US girls being able to capture the flare of a Shibuya fashionista?

AO: With such a flood of information, it can be hard to always stay dressed up in must-have items, but I want to always focus on the overall balance of an outfit. To that end, I try to pay attention to color combinations, use of accessories, hairdos, makeup, and picking shoes to match; as they often say, dressing-up starts from choosing the right shoes.

SW: We’ve been told that this is your first trip to the US, what are you most excited about seeing or experiencing on your visit? Will you be checking out any of the local fashion ( i.e. either boutiques or street style) while you are here?

AO: Yes. Although there are many things from America that interest me including fashion and culture, in terms of fashion, I find their simple styles with the effective use of accessories so wonderful. I would like to learn about that.

SW: Finally, what if anything do you think you will take away from your visit as inspiration for future designs?

AO: I wish to incorporate into the basis of my design what I’ll be seeing: town sceneries that we don’t have here in Japan and cute things at shops there. I also would like to try out the designing not bound by standards, taking a hint from their vast culture.

For images from the Shibuya Fashion Girls Contest check out the slideshow below.

All images: C.Hope for Style Wylde.