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Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Kawaii as a button

To talk style with Jimmy Hassett, a shop assistant at Wicker Park vintage boutique Kokorokoko and a DJ who goes by the name Virtual Brat, is to get seriously schooled on Japanese trends. “I’m into the fairy kei/decora vibe, which is kawaii [Japanese for “cute”] and very pastel,” he says. This loosely translates to a childlike look in which he layers as many cutesy pieces as possible. “I am meticulous with accessories and where they are. I love adding more throughout the day, like hair clips, plastic chains, and bracelets.” He’s attentive to color as well: “Everyone should be conscious of the colors they choose to put on every morning. You’ll realize that you not only feel good about yourself but you’ll brighten someone else’s day too.” Some of his inspirations are the 80s Italian design and architecture collective Memphis Group, Harajuku and rave fashions of the 90s, Simon Fortin’s cuddly artwork, and rainbow-bright Milkbbi clothing, as well as vintage pieces from Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck’s out-there 90s line W&LT (such as his shirt and backpack). Other influences come from music: “I like stuff that is hyperfast, catchy and cute. I recently deejayed at East Room for Nightcore Night. Nightcore is pop music that is sped and pitched up. The atmosphere was really positive and the crowd was jumping up and down. I hope to play there again!” Listen to Hassett’s high-speed mixes on Soundcloud.

Originally featured in the Chicago Reader.