Hello everyone! I can't believe the end of 2021 is almost here!! This year has gone by SO FAST, but hopefully everyone feels like they were able to accomplish at least 1 of their mini goals or complete a project! Here's one of the last digital interviews for 2021, as I hope that in 2022, I can do some in-person interviews! This digi-view is with one of the most colourful people within the kawaii community!
Kristina Elle(cybr.grl) - Designer and Owner of CANDY☆TRAP
I've never had an opportunity to meet Kristina in person, but maybe our paths will meet soon, given that events are slowly starting to happen again! She is a Texas-based, spunky mom full of colourful energy and it shines through all of her instagram posts, online content, and videos! (I think we would get along juuussttt fine!) Kristina, also known as cybr.grl, is well known for wearing decora fashion.
(The CANDY☆TRAP online storefront is full of colours and even some froggies!)
I asked Kristina when CANDY☆TRAP came to life: "CANDY☆TRAP came as an epiphany back in 2018 when I realized how difficult it was to find bright, colorful clothing that wasn't just catered to young kids. I was especially looking for unique pieces to wear for Harajuku and Decora fashion. It wasn’t until a year later that I took the plunge to take a break from college to pursue my dream of starting my own brand featuring my own designs. It was a very scary decision but I’m happy that I went for it! I took things slow by starting out with a kickstarter since I didn’t have the funds to start the brand immediately since I was a broke college kid but the reception was amazing. We managed to hit the funding goal in just a couple of hours and it completely blew my mind. From there I started working on new collections like Clowncore, Frooty Tooty, Harajucrew, etc. and hand making accessories like beaded necklaces and hair clip sets. It is really all thanks to the support from the community that my brand has been able to grow this much in just a few years."
(The colourful collection Harajucrew features characters wearing various Harajuku styles!)
"Love your colours!" Is the message behind the brand and Kristina tells us a little more about what she truly feels and how she wants to convey that message through her designs:
"Regardless of how old or young you are, regardless of your size, regardless of your gender, etc! I want to use CANDY☆TRAP as a message to show the world that you don't have to be afraid or hold yourself back from wearing what you want to. For example, oftentimes older people get shamed for dressing colorfully or alternatively, or people who have darker skin tones feel like bright colors won't look good on them when really it does look amazing on them and it's really cool to see older people wear alternative clothing. I feel like there just really needs to be better representation too so I try to have all kinds of different models."
Back in March of 2020, CANDY☆TRAP had its very first fashion show! A truly exciting experience for anyone who loves to design clothing. I asked Kristina how that experience was for her! "It was even more amazing than I could have imagined! My favorite part was being surrounded by friends that I love dearly. I was very lucky to have a bunch of friends of mine model my pieces (some even traveled from out of state!) and I'm eternally grateful to all of them for being amazing models and friends! When the entire show was happening, I was literally bawling my eyes out the entire time and at the end of the show, they had me say a little speech on stage. So I took the mic and screamed "F*** what anyone thinks and wear whatever the f*** you want! Your dreams can come true too!" It was incredible."
(Model looks from the 1st ever CANDY☆TRAP fashion show!!)
I also asked Kristina what is the most important aspect of fashion to her. She responded with: "Creativity! That's a huge part of why I love Decora fashion so much, you can get super creative with it and come up with some fun outfits!"
Decora is definitely the perfect style for you if you love to cover yourself in rainbows, accessories, hair clips, and even stickers!
I also love to ask people what is something they are most proud of. I think its important to celebrate our successes and share it with the world! Kristina says that she is proud of all of us! (horay!)
"Last year was an extremely difficult time for so many of us. It definitely affected the J-Fashion community as well. Many shops & brands in Harajuku, even the beloved Kawaii Monster Cafe, had to sadly close up shop. But this year, we have been starting to see a lot of exciting and fun things opening like Haruka Kurebayashi's new shop on Takeshita Street, a new location for the Spank! store in Nakano Broadway, and even a Neo Decora meet up in Japan! I personally got to participate in some really fun online J-Fashion meetups and started this new series on my YouTube channel called "J-Fashion Mythbusters" where I sit down with veteran members of the community to dispel myths and misconceptions about our various styles. It's been a huge honor to get to sit down and talk to these amazing & inspiring individuals and I've definitely learned a lot as well."
It is indeed saddening to hear about the closure of many shops, not just for us kawaii fashion lovers focusing on the streets of Harajuku, but also all around the world. Thankfully, it seems like things are starting to pick back up again and maybe we are even one step closer to a more "normal" day-to-day reality! (The above photo is a collaboration t-shirt with Creep-P x Cybr.Grl)
Here's just one of the videos that's part of the cybr.grl Youtube Channel series "J-Fashion Mythbusters"
Lastly, I asked Kristina what upcoming projects she has in store for everyone. She is currently working on a few fashion shows and even a HUGE collaboration!
"I've got 2, maybe 3, fashion shows in the works which is exciting! I love working with the community to make these shows a reality and getting to hang out in person with a bunch of like minded individuals is always a great time! Also I've got more collections that I'm working on so be sure to look forward to more bright and colorful clothing & accessories that I hope will brighten your day!" If you haven't heard, Kristina will be doing a collaboration with popular Harajuku brand ACDC RAG. This brand is already known for their colourful, decora-friendly designs, so I think this collaboration is the perfect harmony!
In 2020, Kristina even won the T-Shirt design contest with ACDC RAG. Her shirt is available to purchase on the ACDC RAG website.