Gwen Stefani defends Harajuku Girls era in face of cultural appropriation claims

Gwen Stefani has defended her Harajuku Girls era against claims of cultural appropriation.

The singer embraced the unique fashion style, which is a fusion of the country’s sub-cultures, and also invited a troupe of dancers, known as The Harajuku Girls, to work with her in the mid-2000s.

Gwen came under fire for using the dancers and singing about the culture in her solo track back in 2004, but the 50-year-old has now revealed that she has no regrets and didn’t think it would be offensive.


“When it first came out, I think people understood that it was an artistic and literal bow down to a culture that I was a superfan of,” she told Billboard. “So, it was my fantasy. When the Harajuku Girls came out, it was like, you’re not even real, you’re a dream. It wasn’t like, ‘You’re not real because you’re Asian.’ Are you kidding me? That would be horrifying!”

The former No Doubt frontwoman went on to explain that she even called the four dancers Love, Angel, Music and Baby, which was the title of her debut solo album.

“When people asked me about it during radio interviews, I told them this was all a concept and we were having fun. By the way, the girls were cast to be dancers – that’s all. We went to Nobu in London and we talked about the concept of the record and I showed them my style bible,” Stefani added.

Additionally, the Cool hitmaker said she used the Harajuku style because she was in awe of it after visiting Japan when she was in her early twenties.

“When you’re from Anaheim (California) and never travelled outside of your city until you’re 21 years old, it was really crazy to go to Japan,” she added. “When I got there and saw how fashion-obsessed they were, I thought they were my people, because my style was so unique.”