Dare to dress like a Harajuku girl
Straight from Tokyo, Lolita fashion hits Prague
Posted: December 8, 2010
Courageous Prague ladies have a new place to go for provocative fashions when they want to make a statement with their clothes instead of hide behind them, as is the tendency of many Czech women.
Tomio Okamura, proprietor of the recently opened Lolita Boutique, has once again spotted a gap in the fashion market and brought Tokyo fashion from Harajuku all the way to Prague.
Harajuku is a Tokyo quarter where Japanese fashionistas meet - a center where progressive fashion abounds, and the place where "Lolita style" was born.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, choices for Czech women in search of alternative clothing are rather limited, and casual, readymade clothes are preferred by the majority of shoppers here. Those who refuse to follow the herd used to shop online for unique pieces, the disadvantage being that they couldn't try them on, but all that has changed with the opening of Lolita Boutique.
Address: Verdunská 21, Prague 6
"This fashion is about courage; it's about becoming the center of attention on the street, on the tram or in the metro," Okamura said. "It is not for every kind of girl - it is not designed for prudish ones. However, some kind of shyness also belongs to the Lolita style - but that is just on the outside."
A businessman of Czech and Japanese origin, born in Tokyo but always referring to himself as a Czech, Okamura is an example of an American dream taking place in the Czech Republic. He started as a Coca-Cola and popcorn salesman at a Tokyo movie theater, but he eventually became a well-known public figure in Prague who also owns a travel agency and a shop selling Japanese products.
In Okamura's view, creative outfits are something that is missing on the Prague streets. The majority of women do not show enough of their feminine selves, tending instead to err on the side of caution when it comes to fashion.
"A woman is a woman and should be enjoying this part of herself. And Lolita fashion is something that brings out the feminine side and playfulness," he said.
Even if Harajuku style imports are new to the Prague fashion scene, Okamura does not worry that Czechs are too shy for this it. Quite the contrary. He believes that once they find out that this is a chance for ordinary girls to become unmistakably original without having to be super-beauties, it will all work well.
Based on the large number of supporters of Lolita style on Facebook, Okamura thoroughly explored and researched what demand was like in the Czech Republic before deciding to take action.
In a quiet neighborhood in Prague 6-Dejvice, close to Vítězné náměstí, Okamura also owns Japa shop, which offers various original Japanese foods, but also popular Manga comics and DVDs with Anime series. This fall, Okamura extended his shop with a new room dedicated to Lolita fashion.
"Clients of my food store who are fans of Anime and Manga kept asking me when the clothes will finally be available in the Czech Republic. Over 5,000 people have registered on the Facebook page," said Okamura, who did not hesitate and led countless discussions with fans about which brands should be brought to the Czech market.
The first Lolita Boutique will offer Japanese brands like Putomayo, Alqoquins, Spica and 6%dokidoki, lines ranging from clothing and shoes to countless colorful accessories including umbrellas, bags, hats and hair accessories.
Do you feel like experimenting? You can even become a "Gothic" or "Punk" Lolita if you've got the guts.
Some say this kind of style indicates perversion or sexual provocation, but Okamura dismisses it point-blank and emphasizes its stylishness. But as the saying goes, even negative publicity is publicity, something Okamura knows very well.
"I expect heated debates will arise," Okamura said. "One father even wrote me a letter saying he would kill his daughter if she turned up in Lolita clothing, but then he admitted that he actually liked the style himself."
Although Lolita style might seem like a fashion best-suited to teenage girls, Okamura says that in Tokyo and the USA, it's worn by women in their 40s, as well.
The famous Czech designer Klára Nademlýnská likes to say fashion is a game and it's up to us how we play it. Those willing to take a risk by adding a touch of Lolita to their wardrobe might just have a bit more fun playing than the rest.
Klára Jiřičná can be reached at
Tags: fashion, japan, japanese, clothes, clothing, style, czech republic, czech, outfits, lolita boutique, japa shop, harajuku, 6%dokidoki.