My Chat With Gwen: Stefani Brings Harajuku Mini to Target

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I first saw Gwen Stefani perform live at KROQ's Weenie Roast in 1993. She wasn't on the bill -- but Sublime was playing in the early part of the day, and Gwen performed a couple of kick-ass duets with the late Bradley Nowell.

I was awed. Who was this platinum wonder? And HOW, pray tell, could I be her immediately?

Courtesy of Target

By the time high school rolled around for me, Tragic Kingdom was out, and the girl from Anaheim was on her way to icon status. I saw No Doubt perform as often as possible in those days, but even as I grew, moved across the country, and stopped spending all my milk money on concert tickets, Gwen was never far off my radar. Her style. Her bad-assing her way through mommyhood. Her launching herself into a second life as a fashion superstar. Her rocking a high-profile marriage to a bona fide heartthrob. And all the while, never a platinum hair out of place, or a smudge to her signature red lipstick.

So you can kind of imagine how I flipped just a little upon the realization Monday evening that I would be chatting with Gwen herself come Tuesday morn in advance of this weekend's Harajuku Mini launch (for non other than my beloved Target!). Somehow I managed to pull it together and get through the interview without collapsing in full-on vapors. Remarkable, I know. But really, Gwen is so lovely and effortless that I forgot she had an empire to run as we conferred on the perfect shade of red lipstick, trying to find punker pants in the 90s, and working Motherhood.

Anyway without further chat with Gwen...Part One. Yes, Part One. I'm milking this for as many posts as I can muster. ;)

Morgan Shanahan: Music and Fashion -- somehow you manage to tie it all together, through both of your lines. Where does the inspiration come from, and how do the two feed into each other?

Gwen Stefani: They definitely feed into each other over time. When I started L.A.M.B., it was actually very logical; it was like my backup plan -- I wanted to do something where I could be home with my kids. When I came out with my solo record, I was so excited by the Harajuku -- my fans couldn't really get their hands on L.A.M.B., and I wanted to do something more than a T-shirt for them.

MS: So, the Harajuku -- what is it that draws you to the culture?

GS: When I get dressed in the morning, it's a reflection of how I'm feeling that day. So when I first went to Japan and saw the Harajuku, I felt like, "How perfect -- a catwalk for kids to go, 'I want to be real and unique and express myself.'" That's the DNA of the line. It's my style mixed with the way the Japanese dress their kids -- a lot of clashing and mixing and things that you wouldn't think go together. I wanted the Harajuku Mini collection to reflect that kookiness. I also got to put some of my signature styles through the years in: punker pants, plaid skirts, zippers. Target wanted all of it.

MS: How has this experience been different for you than doing your other lines?

GS: What was so much fun in designing this line was that I knew how many pieces I had to put together. I've been working on the line for three years, but it's exactly what I wanted to create. When you do a collection and buyers pair down your line it changes the narrative. With Target, the main challenge was getting the looks I wanted for the right price. Everything in the collection is between $3.99 and $29.99 -- I'm just as hands on -- "Not enough ruffles!" This is real fashion for kids. People are going to lose their minds. And it isn't a capsule collection -- it's ongoing at Target.

MS: Let's talk about the tween line. I would have freaked out for some Gwen Stefani Punker Pants as a tween.

GS: Originally I just wanted to do the kids' stuff, but I got there the first day and Target was like, "DO THIS TOO!" Honestly, I was kind of freaking out at first, because there is only so much I can really do well and still be a good mom.

Ultimately, with the tween line, I wanted them to feel cool and that they're expressing themselves through their clothes -- that's what I always did. It's a sensitive age. I was still really into Hello Kitty, but in a different way. I wanted to wear it with like, zippered skirts, but your parents still want you to be a little girl.

MS: What age did you take an interest in fashion?

GS: My mom was making my clothes forever -- I got to pick out patterns and buttons and zippers from a very young age, and that had a huge impact on me.

Oh, guys ... the interview continued on. I asked Gwen what shade of red lipstick she wears, and how in the hell she maintains that fabulous hair. (I swear this isn't an interview for Ladies Home Journal in the 50s, but how could you be met with a chance to ask Gwen Stefani anything you want and not throw those questions into the mix, right?)

And it's not over yet. Tomorrow Delilah (my fashion-obssessed toddler) and I will be hitting the Harajuku Mini launch hosted by Gwen herself. So on Monday, this interview will be continued, I'll tell you Gwen's answers to my little beauty quiz, and if you have questions you'd like to ask the Platinum Goddess, you can leave them in the comments and I will do my best to include them in part two of our interview tomorrow!

Until then...check out some of my favorite looks from Harajuku Mini for Target:

Harajuku Mini

(I know, right?) Harajuku Minis launched Sunday November 13th at Target, available for both kids 0-5 and tweens. Leave your questions for Gwen below!


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