Introducing NOABURO: Nordic Minimalism meets Japanese Kawaii – And they are in Love!

Two years ago, Junko and Jacob opened the doors to their new shop on the lively street Jægersborggade in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. Jægersborggade is known for its many unique shops that feature handmade products and homemade foods from niche categories. They named it Noaburo, which is how you would say Nørrebro in Japanese. The shop was a perfect match for the mood of Jægersborgade. It was a first of it’s kind, with its very own niche of handpicked items from Japan, curated to match the quirky and cute expressions of Japanese street style. Us from Nordic Style visited them at their two years birthday celebratory event, and had a very exciting talk with them, about personal style, the Japanese and the Scandinavian fashion scenes and their vision of introducing kawaiiness to Denmark. 

Kawaii Noaburo

Junko & Jacob
Picture by Bryndís Thorsteins @thestreetland

When asked about why they decided to open Noaburo, Junko explains how she had always dreamt of bringing Japan to Denmark. She wanted to introduce something that was unique. Something that could inspire by bringing color and joy to the streets of Copenhagen. Before their opening of Noaburo, Junko and Jacob had been unsure of how a shop like that, filled with colorful garments and quirky accessories would be received by the minimalistic, Scandinavian crowd:

“The style in Japan is so different from here in Denmark, so we were excited to see how the Japanese trends would translate to people here, and if it would seem too crazy for them”.

Jacob follows up by saying that the reactions to Noaburo have been very positive, and people seem intrigued by Noaburos small, kawaii universe.

Junko describes how kawaii is a keyword in Japanese style, referring to all what is feminine, cute and colorful. Print mixing, color blocking and excessive accessorizing are the everyday displays on the streets of Tokyo. In general, Junko describes how the Japanese people dare to dress exactly how they wish; they are brave and are not so bothered with what others think of their style. When she first came to Denmark, she noticed this difference in people’s attitude towards personal style and fashion:

“Here in Denmark, people seem much more aware of how they look. The colors are vaguer, the detailing is minimal and the silhouettes are thought through. Particularly, I feel like the Danes are really good at proportioning their outfits, in a way that is flattering for their body figure. This is not something, that you think about as much as Danes do, when getting dressed back home in Japan – you just do whatever you want!” 

Jacob adds to this by explaining how the style in Japan seems to be more daring, with people dressing bravely and boldly, whereas it feels more conventional and “safe” in Denmark. But with that said, they both agreed that the influences between the Scandinavian and the Asian fashion scene appear to be growing. Jacob:

“The last few times we have been in Japan to collect new items for Noaburo, we have observed this increased tendency of minimalistic style elements. The details and jolly accessories are still there, but definitely less than before. It seems as if social media has made the communication between the two stronger, enabling us to inspire each other on a whole different level than before. We have noticed this tendency increasing slowly in both countries, and it seems like the fascination is mutual.”

Kawaii Noaburo

Kawaii Noaburo

Products by Flock @f.l.o.c.k, among others.

Kawaii Noaburo

Products by Schawarma @scharwarma_design

A lot has happened during those two years of Noaburo’s flourishing journey. The assortment has been expanded to also include a few Nordic designers, thoroughly selected in the spirit of kawaiiness, color and boldness. Furthermore, Noaburo has begun establishing their very own, original line of clothing. The first collection was called ‘Meiko’ named after Junko’s mom.

Junko explains how the vision behind ‘Meiko’ was to make something wearable and functional, but with a fun twist – a mix between the strong simplicity in the Nordic silhouettes and the more playful Japanese silhouettes. Junko and Jacob wanted to start by making the designs simple and basic, and then slowly add details and quirky elements as the collection grows, carefully monitoring how kawaiiness & playfulness gets a bigger and bigger role in the design, as well as in their customer’s hearts. 

Kawaii Noaburo

Kawaii Noaburo

Meiko Collection, photo by @silasstaal

The Nordic designers featured in Noaburo are Flock: with vivid prints and oversized silhouettes, Feast Studio: with faux fur coats and accessories with Japanese symbols and bold color mixing, as well as Schawarma Design: with sandals, T-shirts, and caps bearing an icon of the shawarma durum… just to name a few! What they all have in common, is that they have that quirky twist, that something out of the ordinary which can spark smiles and laughs. Jacob:

“It is so inspiring to work with all those young emerging designers, who are following their instinct and just going for it.” 

And that is exactly why Junko and Jacob fell in love with them and brought them on this journey of introducing kawaiiness and the playful perspective of personal style to Copenhagen. 

Congratulations with the two year birthday of Noaburo – we are excited to see what the future will bring!

Kawaii Noaburo

Junko & Jacob
Photo by Bryndís Thorsteins @thestreetland

Check out Noaburo on Instagram! Feeling crazy for more cuteness? Here is some more inspiration for you >>