Public eye #8

Liza McKenzie (24) in Harajuku

Public eye #8

Liza McKenzie, fashion forecaster

Do you come to Harajuku often?
LM: Yeah, I come here a lot. Every time I come there’s a new shop that’s opened. Things here change every day, so it’s always interesting.

So you go shopping here a lot?
LM: Yeah. But right now I’m getting paid in pounds, and as the exchange rate isn’t very stable, I find myself going to a lot of flea markets. Actually, I bought the coat and shoes I’m wearing now at a flea market. The coat was only two hundred yen! Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, ADD is the epitome of Japanese fashion at the moment, so I stop in and have a look pretty often.

Where else do you shop?
LM: There are a lot of vintage shops in Koenji that are worth scouring for bargains. There are also a lot of shops that sell redesigned stuff. I get bored pretty quickly with the latest trends, but I love clothes that have been redesigned. You can wear them for ages.

What’s your favourite shop in Koenji?
LM: I check out Nincompoop Capacity often because it has a lot of redesigned stuff. When I went there the other day they had this amazing leather jacket in the window display.

Did you get your hair dyed in Japan?
LM: I dye it myself. I’ve been doing it for something like two and a half years now. Orange hair is all the rage in London, so I was thinking maybe it was about time to go with a different colour, but then I came to Japan, where no one’s got orange hair, so I was like ‘Might as well stick with orange!’ [Laughs] My friends are always calling me ‘Orange-chan’.

So why did you come to Japan?
LM: I was getting a little bit bored with living in London. I wanted to try something new. I’d always heard that Tokyo was quite the experience, so I was like ‘There has got to be something fun going on,’ and I decided to try it out for a year. My boyfriend and I came out September of last year, as soon as we got the opportunity to work here.

You guys decided together to come to Japan?
LM: It had always been a dream of his to come to Japan. I wasn’t really that enthusiastic, but if he was going to come, then I guess I didn’t really have a reason not to. You know, it’s pretty safe and the music and fashion scenes here are great. Things like that.

So what do you think now that you’re here? Has it been the experience you were hoping for?
LM: There are a lot of things in Japan that you can’t work out just from the surface, so it can take a lot of time to discover what’s interesting. Like with the shops here; a lot of the interesting shops aren’t on the street level. You have to get up to the fifth or sixth floor.

What do you think about Tokyo’s fashion scene?
LM: I think it’s really happening. In London there’s only a small community of fashionable girls; most Londoners are rather dull. I think that Japanese girls really understand what works for them. There are also a lot of girls who are into vintage clothes and are able to coordinate perfectly without spending a ton of money.

But you really stand out, even amongst all the stylish Japanese girls!
LM: Kids are always staring at me, you know, with these surprised looks. I’m pretty sure they think I’m a doll! [Laughs]

More from Liza:

‘I’ve learned not to blow my nose on the train in Japan.’

‘You’re meant to slurp ramen, right? I wasn’t a very good slurper at first, but I’m getting better at it. I hear that there’s a shop in Ebisu where you can get cheese ramen. I’m hoping to check it out this weekend.’

‘I live out in Shinagawa, but even Shinagawa has a flea market on every weekend.’

By Akiko Toya
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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