24 Apr 2018

Trip to Harajuku Closet, Hamburg


Family commitments have brought me to Hamburg, Germany, last weekend. Very conveniently, not long before setting off there, I saw another Lolita Amino user share her experience from a shop in Hamburg that sells Lolita clothes. Given that I wasn’t particularly keen on going, this has completely changed my mind, so I packed a coord that wouldn’t wrinkle, along with a weather alternative (so I had an option for warm and chilly day) and off I went on Saturday.

| Alice and the Pirates Sheherazade ~ One Thousand and One
Nights ~
JSK I | Alice and the Pirates Lace-Up Ribbon OTKs |
Angelic Pretty Classical Petit Rose headbow | offbrand blouse |
New Look Flats | vintage brooch | Risu Rose necklace | Wicked
and Whimsy ring | Enchantlic Enchantilly Queen Cat ring |
handmade bracelets |

Kept hair and makeup simple since it was just a casual outing
to go shopping.

Extra selfie to capture some of the jewellery a bit better.

I was actually extremely lucky that these Alice and the Pirate socks arrived on the day we were leaving for Germany and I could ask my Mum to pack them for me while I was at work. They are a perfect colour match for this Angelic Pretty headbow – and we all know how rare even near colour matches are in Lolita! This print has so much green, but you kind of have to look into it to see it, it’s not obvious, so it was fun putting it with green and ivory. (Coincidentally, but not really, my cold weather alternative also used green as an accent colour, but of the dark variety.) The weather was fabulous the whole weekend we were in Hamburg, so although I had a matching bolero with me, I didn’t need it on the day.

Harajuku Closet storefront.
 
Harajuku Closet is part of J-Store, a typical otaku/weeb shop in Hamburg’s Wandsbek area (conveniently around a half hour walk from my grandparents’ place, just about 10mins’ drive). It was literally split in half, with the majority of the non-fashion half being taken up by manga, some anime/character goods with a handful of foods and T-shirts. The other side was much roomier and Harajuku Closet is an official reseller for Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates and Liz Lisa. Their Facebook page also mentioned some clothes from Atelier Pierrot, but I couldn’t see any, so maybe that was a one-off in the past.

I love display mannequins with coords on!
 
While the interior looks like most BtSSB brand shops I’ve been to – simple, yet elegant – it soon became obvious that the shop carries much less stock than I had anticipated. Now, let’s be clear: Harajuku Closet is a reseller, not a branch, so of course they couldn’t have everything. They had several prints, notably AatP’s Alice and the Balloon World and BtSSB’s My Sweet Mate Kumya’s Baby Anniversary JSKs, a couple of blouses and Usakumya’s, but I found them quite severely lacking in accessories which I expected more of since they should be easier to ship. There were the matching headbows to the prints in stock, but other than this I spotted only one bit of jewellery, three OTKs designs and maybe 5 tights designs. That’s it. At least from BtSSB/AatP, there were a few little bits from some other indie brands that I never heard of, most of which leaned a bit more punk, but still. I had expected more stock and was fully prepared to drop my money on some little bits like that.

This display cabinet held all the accessories on sale.
 
Having said this, nothing compares to seeing Lolita pieces in life. While BtSSB/AatP at least take dozens of stock photos to show off the detail, some things are just difficult to capture in real life. I was captivated by the flecks of glitter on the sax colourway of My Sweet Mate Kumya’s Baby Anniversary JSK – although as I wasn’t fond of the royal blue satin ribbons, I was more drawn to the skirt which I discovered was fully shirred. There was also a gorgeous blouse, which I never looked at before online, assuming it to never stand a chance of fitting, which turned out to have back shirring and tempted me quite seriously. Thinking about it now, everything they had in stock, with the exception of maybe one blouse model, was shirred or stretchy in one way or another. That was a great move on the part of whoever’s in charge of stock, since this is more likely to sell and won’t alienate that many customers.

Brand always looks better up close. Even brand that you're
not keen on.

 
As far as price was concerned, this was pretty much the same price as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Paris branch had before it closed. Or, for those who never had the chance to visit, comparable to prices at Angelic Pretty Paris. Given all the extra costs they have to take into account, it’s a fair markup, though the only tangible benefit it gets you is being able to try some of these cuts on before purchase. As much as I’d try to shop there if I was local, to show to Japanese brands that there is a demand for them in Europe, even with shopping service costs the prices are much cheaper buying directly from Japan and I’m not sure if I’d be able to become a regular customer at Harajuku Closet, given the combination of price and little stock.

The display had the latest addition to Harajuku Closet's stock.
 
The J-Store part of the shop was also meant to have a purikura machine, but I had completely missed it. My Mum said she saw it further in, but it was in an area that I had assumed to be the back room with some extra stock, so if you visit and are keen on purikura, make sure to not miss it like I did. The shop is also a few doors down from a sushi place, so while I can’t comment on whether said sushi is any good, it’s a great location and would be great for a casual meet to browse some wares and then eat. While the fashion section may not be great for regular meetups, you could always go to the other side to get some latest magazine or manga, maybe a bottle of Ramune and some cute stationary. So if any one of you is ever in the Hamburg area, Harajuku Closet and J-Store are still great places to visit. Like I said, I’m all for keeping resellers like this in business and showing Japanese brands that we do want their stuff to be more accessible to us, so the more foot traffic places like this get the better!

Massive Usakumya looking out at all the potential customers and calling out to them!


4 comments:

  1. The Ateiler Pierrot stuff was right in front of you on the mannequin... On the same photo, that is a printed Ateiler dress too.
    I actually heard of them about a year ago, but I haven't had a opportunity to visit myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I totally did not realise that! xD Now I feel a little silly, although I genuinely had expected there to be more than just this one dress and for it to be marked a bit better - the BtSSB/AatP and the Liz Lisa sections were clearly identified.

      Delete
  2. Your coord is cute, I really love that second selfie! It's a pity you weren't able to find anything you wanted but it's still great that you visited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. My bank account is actually pretty happy that I didn't find anything for myself, to be honest. Though I need to be careful now so that I don't make up for the "savings" online - which is far more dangerous

      Delete

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