In just three years, Sweet Streets has become one of the most anticipated events for L.A. fans of Japanese street fashion. The annual group show/fashion event, which opened Saturday night at WWA Gallery, brings together artwork inspired by the creative fashion on display in Tokyo neighborhood Harajuku and youth culture-oriented Japanese fashion designers. Last year, 6% Dokidoki was on hand to talk kawaii and decora with the L.A. crowd. This year, the Sweet Streets exhibit was co-curated Spank!, a popular Harajuku shop.
With its emphasis on vintage and new fashion all with a sweet, girlie edge that recalls '80s nostalgia, Spank! has developed a large following. Their customers are called Spank! Girls and they mix-and-match pastels with references to characters like Barbie."Spank! loves so much of what American '80s and '90s culture was all about," says Sweet Streets founder Caro. "They really love Barbie and My Little Pony and Jem and a lot of the weird obscure stuff that we grew up with."
Spank!, who collaborated with L.A. designer Chubby Bunny for this event, is bringing back the '80s, but not in the same way we saw during the last decade's '80s revival. Ten years ago, kids were going new wave with Human League haircuts, Siouxsie Sioux make-up and Adam and the Ants outfits. It was a revival of a darker '80s remembered best by those who were teens and young adults at the time. Spank! takes the perspective of those of who were young children during that decade. The frothy shades of mint green and lavender recall My Little Pony. Popular cartoon and toy characters from the decade turn up on the clothing that makes the brand so popular.