Gothic. Lolita. Punk. A major player in the popularization of these trends is the Japanese brand h.Naoto. A store is scheduled to open soon at New People in Japantown, the first location outside of Japan. If you like Betsey Johnson, love Alexander McQueen, are maybe into vampires, and actually care about uniqueness, you'll love h.Naoto.
Naoto Hirooka, creator and designer of h.Naoto, was here on Sunday to judge the Naoto Mania: Fashion Contest by Fans at the J-Pop Summit Fest. Though many of our favorite wearers of crazy shit were heading out of the city yesterday to some remote desert in Nevada, there were plenty left to participate.
Though at first h.Naoto may seem like any other brand that belongs in Hot Topic, the designs are interesting and noteworthy. Check out some of his collections and fashion shows to see that h.Naoto is much more avant-garde (and terrifying) than, say, Lady Gaga's latest gag. The flagship h.Naoto store is scheduled to open Oct. 8.
The contestants wore their favorite h.Naoto designs, styling their outfits with handmade pieces and creative flair to complete their looks.
Though most were just superfans, Syu Martin, Helen Dinnigan, and Camille Tambe are attending City College for fashion and have their own designs in the works.
Those who are into h.Naoto are totally into it. Tambe said she "loves his vision" and is crazy about "its demented, twisted, heavy gothic punk style." She is particularly impressed with how Naoto Hirooka creates his pieces, often burning and bleaching the fabric to create a certain look. "He's not afraid to go there, as an artist," says Martin, also inspired by h.Naoto.