By Joe Roberts @jrobertsjourno
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Videographer / director: James MacDonald
Producer: Joe Roberts, Ruby Coote
Editor: Helen McKee
Jillian Vessey, better known to her fans as Pixielocks, has created a colourful life for herself, inspired by Kawaii style from Japan.
The 21-year-old fashion design student and YouTuber lives with her partner Steve in a townhouse which the couple have decorated in their own expressive style.
Jillian told Barcroft TV: “If I could sum up my style in one sentence it will probably be to not take life so seriously and to have fun.
“I love rainbows and parties and everything fun and kitchy. It comes from Japan, it’s often referred to as Kawaii street style, or Harajuku street style.”
Jillian, who is also inspired by Anime, dresses in her eye-catching style every day, and has built up more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and almost 100,000 followers on Instagram.
She continued: “Magical Girl anime is such a driving force in my life. The morals, the message, the power, the music, the imagery, I just want to live and breathe it.
“It’s just the strong women with magical powers that save the world that inspire me so endlessly that I just kind of wanted to look like them.”
Her colourful home is an extension of her personal style, and features rainbow walls, a collection of Polly Pockets and vintage art, and a sewing area where Jillian can create her own clothing.
“I definitely like to keep my house just as bright and colourful as my overall aesthetic,” she said. “I think it’s very important to surround yourself with things that make you happy.
“I love my house. My interior design is actually equally as important to me as my fashion and style.”
Jillian, whose wardrobe is organized in rainbow order, credits the internet and growing up in a small Canadian town with helping propel her towards a more expressive style as she got older.
She said: “I dyed my hair for the very first time in grade seven and since then it has never been its natural color.
“I’d wear these giant hoop earrings and these wedges. I just always had this urge to dress obnoxiously.
“But in middle school I discovered anime and Tumblr and Lookbook and that’s kind of where my style started evolving into what it is today.”
Having such a striking personal style brought Jillian her share of negative attention, but she says the online judgement was always worse than what she experienced in her day-to-day life.
She explained: “Bullying is always going to happen a little bit when you step outside the box, which sucks because it shouldn’t. You should be able to just be fun and be yourself.
“Definitely it was worse online, even throughout high school I never had too many face-to-face issues, just the regular gossipy girl, mean girl issues.
“But for the most part the online bullying is definitely the cake-taker. You just build up a thicker skin and surround yourself with good, supportive, happy people and realise that ‘haters gonna hate’ as they say.”
Now Jillian and Steve live a happy life together in their rainbow castle, despite Steve’s personal aesthetic being comparatively conservative.
Steve explained how he met Jillian at a My Chemical Romance concert: “I was with there with a friend and we just kind of ran into each other and I was like, ‘God, this girl is gorgeous.’
“She was wearing this crazy outfit and I was like, ‘Oh I love it.’ I love when people express themselves and they’re confident and that confidence radiated off her.”
Now Steve takes photos of Jillian for her Instagram pages and generally supports his anime-loving partner in her endeavours.
“There is quite a big difference between our styles,” said Jillian. “But I think that’s kind of a good thing. Opposites attract. Steve is very business casual, just like men on the job, and I look like this.”
The young entrepreneur is now studying fashion design and is able to live off her YouTube channel income.
She still notices people staring when she and Steve go out for photoshoots, but says it really doesn’t bother her.
“I definitely get stares but I think I’ve come to the realisation that it just comes with the territory. It’s like sneak photos and when it crosses that extra line is when I’ll actually tell people, ‘Excuse me could you please not take a photo of me without my permission?’”
“Why do people judge others for the way they dress? That is a million dollar question. I don’t know, but I think the world would be a much better place if we didn’t judge others for how they choose to appear.
“I think everyone who has even the slightest bit of interest in Kawaii culture, Kawaii fashion, Magical Girls, anything to do with this fun vibrant world should definitely look into it.
“It has done wonders for me and my brain and my life and my mental health.
“I know it’s scary and that judgment and stares can be intimidating but just give it that try, put on that outfit, and walk them streets.”