With her honey-colored hair and the flowers, bows and pastel shades of her Victorian era-inspired apparel, Sanakan Igarashi is the ultimate blast from the past, a throwback to the sweetness and innocence of little girls of eras gone by.
Hers is a look called the Modern Lolita, a fashion subculture that’s all the rage in style-setting Japan. A reference to the 12-year-old girl in Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel, Modern Lolita fashion involves girlish garb and details such as lace-and-bow dresses, clunky mary janes, and opaque stockings.
Igarashi says the idea behind her Modern Lolita fashion designs came during her midlife crisis. Turning the challenging period into a constructive one, she left her job as a graphic designer and focused on what she really wanted to do.
Inspired by alternative Japanese fashion as well as the bold aesthetic of Dolce and Gabanna, she is now enrolled in styling classes at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines.
Igarashi—who sources her vintage hats and clothes online and in local shops, then modifies them—loves the intricate details of alternative Japanese street style as well as the lush look of period dresses. While some people might find her fashion a little too much, she gladly dresses to the hilt, not so much to start a trend but to
establish the mindset that fashion can be “wearable art.”
For budding designers, Igarashi’s advice is to have a clear vision of their brand. It’s not just about selling your ware or getting countless likes, she adds, but also about being true to yourself and what you want to achieve.
For now, Igarashi aims to focus on styling her existing pieces rather than creating new ensembles. She also plans to enhance her aesthetic with more details and layers—bring back petticoats and neutral-colored skirts into modern times.
Most of all, she wants to give her clients the liberty to express themselves through fashion.
Photography Kenneth Tangonan Makeup and hairstyle Joe Solis Model Hannah Locsin of PMAP