Japan is known as one of the most trendy and fashion-forward places on the planet. Seen as the birthplace for wild and unique style, people travel all over the world to be fully immersed into this rich fashion culture.
These ‘out there’ looks are most commonly seen at Harajuku Station, a district of Tokyo that is now known as the epicenter for trendsetting new styles. Harajuku Station along with Shibuya, another hot spot for fashion, has been the inspiration behind the new fashion doll line The Shibajuku Girls.
Despite being Japanese in nature, The Shibajuku Girls are produced by Hunter Products, a family-owned toy manufacturer based in Australia. “Although all the dolls’ styles are based off Japanese culture, I still read a lot of fashion magazines and am very in touch with celebrity fashion as well,” says Madeleine Hunter, the Product Manager at Hunter Products Pty. Ltd.
Reflecting Japan’s style trends, The Shibajuku Girls are a series of dolls that were introduced to Europe and Australia earlier this year and are now available in the United States. Each doll has delicate details with a distinctive style, name, personality and accessories. Currently, there are five dolls in the line: Shizuka, Suki, Namika, Koe and Yoko. Additional characters will be joining the collection as soon as Spring of 2017 and the company plans to introduce a new line of Shibajuku Girls every six months.
When it comes to coming up with new, trendy ideas, Madeleine has her own methods. “I follow everyone on social media and get daily updates on the craziest new trends. What’s most interesting is that many trends we see on celebrities like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Nicky Minaj originated in Japan,” she says.
“In terms of the characters, we’re always on the lookout for new ideas. For example, my brother Jeff says he wants a doll with hair like Sia, and James, my father, would like to do a doll with bright red hair. We’re all really involved in the creation process – that’s the fun part.”
The first range of outfits for the dolls is due to be released soon and the company hopes that the dolls will help children gain a deeper sense of both cultural awareness and an appreciation for style—especially unique and outside-the-box style.
“The thrill of seeing something you created appear on the major retail shelves and in a TV commercial is very satisfying,” said Madeleine. “But it’s also really cool to know that we have used an artistic field—in this case fashion—to create a toy line that will hopefully help to inspire the next generation of designers.”
To learn more, visit the official Shibajuku Girls website.