Tokyo's h.Naoto: More Style than Lady Gaga's Latest Gag

After the show, we caught up with Hirooka at the pop-up shop. Draped in unassuming black with just a touch of color, thanks to a few strands of bleached hair, Hirooka quietly styled customers in his creations while they came in and out of a tent set up as a makeshift dressing room. A graduate of Tokyo's Bunka Fashion College, Hirooka started h.Naoto in 2000. He said he got into fashion in junior high school as a fan of the J-Pop group Kome Kome Club.

Kome Kome Club
​Hirooka was inspired by the lead singer, Tatsuya Ishii, who designed the costumes, makeup, and stage design himself. Piece by piece, Hirooka debuted his own creations at the Tokyo nightclub Oto. Rooted in underground culture and helped along by costume play - or cosplay - h.Naoto is now a leading brand in Tokyo fashion.

From the latest collection of h.Naoto.
​The collection on view was mostly black, and though most pieces were drowning in frills, lace, and ruffles, idiosyncratic details make each item seem one-of-a-kind. A good portion of the clothes on the rack were dresses perfect for a cosplay outing, but there were also pieces that anyone who has a flare for fashion and individuality has to have.

Hirooka had me try on some light gray jeans adorned with shiny blue sequins over the front. Not entirely satisfied, he had me me squeeze into bright blue pants that had been bleached and then adorned with colorful prints. My favorite piece was a maxi skirt that was also bleached out in spots then torn, burned, and tied in knots toward the bottom hem.

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