Projek Harajuku: To Express A Sense of Urgency by Yon Lynn Tan

Such is important to keep us alive, with the fear we have been enveloped within - shaped upon the consequences introduced by the shift of 2020.

If one agrees that subculture style is all about forging a sense of belonging, how would putting up Projek Harajuku create a connection between us and our surroundings, out of thin air?

The constant action of creating is natural as a coping mechanism, especially at times of uncertainty. It is urgent to allow and create a space to have such expressions channeled via an outlet, for the flow shall be given its dimension to live and be allowed to complete its cycle. 

Such is important to keep us alive, with the fear we have been enveloped within – shaped upon the consequences introduced by the shift of 2020. It is important to keep the dialogue moving on – our relationship as human beings, our definition of distance and intimacy, and also our perception towards becoming one – all to be redefined.

…a sense of urgency. When will we get to watch our next live show? When will we get to commune and create with our minds and bodies without physical restrictions? When are we able to laugh out loud freely – without possibly measuring the velocity of germs, viruses, and bacteria dispersed in the air in every breath we take?

As Projek Harajuku took place, I can’t help but make it more than just a photoshoot. Call it a social experiment, an interactive performance, a narrative with no walls – you become someone as you don a wig, wear those platform sandals, or zip up that pinafore, and then you give back a little in return. To express has become no less than a necessity, created alongside times of uncertainty. 

When speaking of this visual lingo, this project is undeniably inspired by what the street-style tribes of Harajuku represent. Wild, quirky, flamboyant – Harajuku was the cradle of sartorial eccentricity, led by inventive teen subgroups in the 1990s in Tokyo. At its fundamental, fashion is an act of self-expression – before one gets to make a business out of it before it gets to be categorized as fast fashion or mass market. Even if one brings out that there is no room for this aesthetic to be virtually appreciated on the streets of Kuala Lumpur – it still mirrors a state of being, just as art, music, or literature. The actors become individual carriers of a canvas… and we are all actors of the society.

If one agrees that subculture style is all about forging a sense of belonging, how would putting up Projek Harajuku create a connection between us and our surroundings, out of thin air?
What are they doing? Hamik lai? Buat apa eh? Shoot apa tu? 他们在做么哦……”

Perhaps it’s because we are all going through this together in this pandemic, the concept of a shrinking world stands out clearer. It is no longer the case of the bravely unorthodox standing against the traditional conformists. Not youth culture nor street style – but of one mere basis: to express is a sense of urgency at times like this. In case you wonder – when the shoot took place, one could probably hear curiosity whispered from afar. But when we inched nearer for a conversation or an attempt of eye contact, it was all smiles and warmth, no resistance. There were hand waves, nearness, and friendly chats. There were new friends made.


That could be how we’re temporarily shaped as a result of the lack of a healthy dose of human contact these days. That could be people learning to be kind and less discriminative. That could be just us being Malaysians – in the best moments we share. But out of all of the above, one hunch revealed within after this experience was processed, even after a while – we are one.

Performed by
Yonlynn

Assisted by
Yvonne Chong

Photography
stories.my

Make Up & Hair
Cindy Chang

Costume & Styling
Rickyy Wong

Special Thanks to
Association of Wedding Professionals
Four Points Kuala Lumpur Chinatown 

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