She was only 12 years old when she was discovered on the streets of Harajuku by one of the editors of Japanese fashion site Drop Tokyo. Soon afterwards she was invited to sit in the front row at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo A/W 14/15. Mappy is the tween fashion blogger (now 13) and Instagram street-style star (she has more than 47,000 followers) who’s taking the Japanese fashion industry by storm and beginning to make her mark overseas too, having already been featured in ‘Teen Vogue’ (US).
With her trademark bob, red lips and outlandish styling, Mappy has a cool factor that belies her age. Still, she’s bubbly and curious as we talk about her favourite brands. ‘Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier,’ she lists. ‘But since I can’t afford to buy them, I shop at vintage stores and look for cheap fashion thrills. The platform shoes I’m wearing today are from Tokyo Bopper, which I bought with my savings, but this rucksack only cost ¥40.’
She has naturally garnered comparisons to Tavi Gevinson, the American editor of ‘Rookie’ who also shot to fame as a 12-year-old blogger. But Mappy prefers to distinguish herself. ‘As much as I love fashion, I also love to play the piano. My dream is to study music in New York and eventually become an international jazz pianist. That’s why I need to study more English.’
When asked about the Tokyo fashion scene, she says: ‘We’re experiencing a ’60s revival this season, which I love, but at the same time it makes me feel like we’re relying too much on the past. Also, with the fashion chains making the latest catwalk trends more accessible, I feel like people are starting to dress the same as each other. Nowadays, people don’t want to stand out and dress differently, which is a shame. In an ideal world, it would be more fun and exciting if people felt the freedom to dress in whatever clothes they want.’