Inspiration is everywhere. While that’s always been true, with the advent of the Internet and social media — particularly Instagram — it’s never been so easy to scroll through endless images until suddenly it’s two o’clock in the morning and you want to buy a purple fur coat right now! If you already follow Coco Pink Princess, the seven-year-old Japanese girl whose incredibly cool outfits have earned her nearly half a million followers on Instagram, then you’ve probably fought that very same urge. And if you’re new to her account, well, you’ve been warned.
That this tiny style star hails from Harajuku is not surprising; it’s known for both its amazing shopping and unparalleled people-watching, and it is arguably one of the places that birthed the street style phenomenon with the publication of FRUiTS, a monthly magazine started in 1997 that featured images of the unique fashion subcultures that walk its streets. It’s also the place where Coco’s parents relocated after the Fukushima earthquake of 2011 and opened a vintage store called Funktique, and where Coco learned something at age seven that most never master: the true appreciation (and art) of self-expression through clothing.
“She’s grown up in an environment where she’s been surrounded by clothing,” Misato says, “so she’s always seen clothing [and] fashion in a fun and positive way.” But once Misato started posting photos of Coco on her own Instagram, requests for an account dedicated solely to Coco began rolling in. And Coco was more than on-board; in a video for Vice, Misato explains how Coco really wanted to have a “K” in her following count (Instagram switches from an all numeric follower count to 10K once follower counts reach 10,000). It might seem odd for a young child to be so aware of these things (and it’s certainly different from what we grew up with), but it’s simply part of our ever-changing world.
In the two years since Coco's had an account, her style has gone through a monumental shift. In Coco’s first-ever post she’s wearing a flower-print short-sleeve dress, white socks, and her signature baby bangs. It’s an extremely cute photo that feels like it’s captured a natural moment in the life of the five year old. Most of the early images have a similar vibe, and feature snapshots of Coco with friends, or Coco out on the streets of Tokyo. But in just two short years, Coco has become the de-facto style icon for the Instagram generation with a look that’s approachable (because she’s seven), and simultaneously completely out of reach for most. More recent photos reflect a marked change: They have a slightly professional sheen and feature Coco in more traditional Instagram #OOTD poses with a “defiant model” vibe while wearing the latest, coolest brands, like Gucci, Gosha Rubchinsky, and Helmut Lang. one scroll through her feed and you’ll see Coco still looks like a toddler — just like, the coolest toddler you’ve ever come across in your life.
Despite having been featured in Vogue and Elle, and having “done some very big jobs [that] can be scary [or] intimidating, even for adults,” the account is still a family affair. Coco explains that, after choosing a theme for her outfit with her dad, they then pick the clothes that she'll wear together. The outfits often incorporate her favourite colour “light purple (for now),” or her favourite clothing item (a “purple fur coat,” of course), hats, and sneakers. Although Coco dresses the way a lot of adults wish they could dress, the truth is, her looks are always age-appropriate, and she never looks like a shrunken adult. Earlier in the summer, when she wore shorts, tall tube socks, sneakers, and a T-shirt, the look was exactly what we all wore at that age, except, you know, our T-shirts weren’t Gucci. But that’s probably the reason she resonates so much with the public at large; her cuteness is entirely wholesome and natural. When all over the world so many things that we love can be problematic, this is a little piece of the world where the vibes are always chill.
Coco meanwhile, is still living the life of a normal seven-year-old, just one who plays dress-up in front of hundreds of thousands of followers instead of a mirror. “[I like] to play Tag and [go] feed the Carps at a lake in Harajuku,” she says of her other hobbies. As for how her Instagram fame will play out as she gets older and gains more independence, her mother insists that her focus is on building “a great platform” and making sure her daughter has “great experiences that would lead her to a great future.” Already, she says, Coco has shown tremendous growth and professionalism in her shoots, "she's become stronger, and [has approached her work] in a very dignified way." Coco, meanwhile, is leaving her options open: “[For now, when I grow up] I’d like to be a hairdresser, a chef, or a patissier.” Whatever she ends up choosing, we know her future will be as bright — and possibly as delicious — as the outfits that keep her followers coming back for more.