One of the real highlights of the Japanese Art Festival was the opportunity to see the best of the UK Lolita scene putting on a fabulous fashion show showcasing the diversity on offer in this ever-growing subculture.
We took some time out to get to know some of our Lolitas better and get their opinion on the UK scene. Apologies to those who we did not get time to interview, at least your pictures can speak volumes in lieu. You all looked outstanding and were a credit to the state of the subculture in the UK, with examples like yours to follow we can only expect greatness from the Lolita at Hyper Japan later this year.
So without further ado:
Name: Boykitten – Check out the site here
What are you wearing? Today I am in a sweet kodona outfit, a sailor-cut suit by Alice and Pirates with a layered t-shirt underneath. My prince pants and my socks are by Metamorphose.
Lolita History: I have been interested in the fashion for 6 years but only wearing it for the past 4 years with 3 years at a professional level. It started when I kept seeing the keyword EGL come up on ebay, I liked all the clothes tagged so I looked it up and found the Livejournal community and it went from there. I started buying things and ended up with a brand packed wardrobe costing thousands of pounds!
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? I think that people who get into the fashion get into the culture as well. I have ended up learning some Japanese to GCSE level as well as shall we say getting into the darker sides of Japanese modern culture.
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? I can only see it getting bigger. It is currently diversifying and rather than just sweet and gothic styles we are seeing a lot of new looks and an increasing tolerance for mixing styles and wearing them differently. For example, I wore a Lolita top to come here today with latex leggings – some might disapprove, but while not necessarily Lolita, that was definitely my starting point and I just took it from there.
And finally, what do you make of Mori Girl fashion as a trend with apparent proximity to Lolita? Personally I prefer a punkier spirit and bordering on the Ero-Lolita style. That is my base level of dress and given I am a student I can get away with it!
What are you wearing? A Classic Lolita ensemble. The dress is by Victoria Maiden, the bonnet I actually made myself, Topshop tights and the rest is off-brand.
Lolita History: 3-4 years now. I saw a Gothic Lolita Bible in a book shop when I was about 14 but didn’t really think about dressing that way at the time, but then one day I just decided I was going to go for it.
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? Personally I am not one for things like Anime, I like it, but I dress purely for the fashion not Cosplay. Of course I like the Japanese culture, but I am not a fanatic! I am one for old-fashioned Japanese art and culture of travel in Japan, the onsens and landscapes and so-on. I certainly enjoy that more than the modern aspects.
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? I think it could catch on. In particular London is open to new styles, with enough exposure I can see I toned down version of the style going mainstream.
What are you wearing? Today I am wearing a complete Baby the Stars Shine Bright outfit.
Lolita History: I actually can’t remember how long, but maybe 5 years. I first saw it on a trip to Japan some 8 years ago when the fashion was in it’s infancy. I liked the look of those “princess” dresses but I could not see where I was going to be able to wear them. Later on in the mid 2000’s I was reading Fruits magazine and was really interested in costume clothing at the time, so it was a natural progression from there.
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? Personally I am not into Anime and Manga, I am interested in more mainstream Japanese culture, like the food and shopping trends.
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? I guess it is getting more popular everywhere in the world. Particularly in places where the brands have expanded to like Paris and America. Obviously shipping services and the ability to buy direct from Japan has been crucial. I think the Lolita brands are becoming aware of the overseas market and it is great that along with Kera magazine they are going to be attending Hyper Japan this year. Easy access to those kind of brands can only increase it’s popularity.
And finally, what do you make of Mori Girl fashion as a trend with apparent proximity to Lolita? I like it, but I don’t think I could pull it off. I know some people mix the styles, but it is not for me.
What are you wearing? Baby the Stars Shine Bright, all of which I bought at the shop in Paris on my honeymoon a couple of weeks ago! Except the shoes which I am afraid are from Primani…
Lolita History: I have been interested in it for ages, about 5 years maybe? One of the old-hands anyway! My path to Lolita is a little bit embarrassing but there is a Livejournal community called boylove or something like that, that I was on purely for research… anyway they had some screen caps of a manga where in the course of an particularly contrived story the boys had to dress up as Gothic Lolitas and someone commented that they might enjoy it over at EGL, I followed the link and fell in love straight away. So the short-answer would be “The Internet” go me into it!
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? It probably sounds strange, but I have actually ended up meeting a lot of Japanese people. I live in Kent so I guess that would not have happened otherwise! I suppose that has been the biggest influence, but I also love Japanese food now, especially Sushi.
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? I wonder if it could ever be like Punk or the Mods and Rockers were in the UK – if it could have that kind of endurance. When is something a genuine subculture, and when is it a fad that tourists can buy t-shirts about on Carnaby Street. Clearly more and more people are getting into it, the clothes are more available in more and more sizes – which is really significant for girls outside Japan. I think that as long as people are interested in Anime and Manga, given its presence there, it will endure.
And finally, what do you make of Mori Girl fashion as a trend with apparent proximity to Lolita? I like it! But it is basically Lolita minus a petticoat with a fur coat.
What are you wearing? Almost everything is off-brand except for the Shirley Temple skirt.
Lolita History: 5 months. I guess I found it through Anime and Manga, but that representation is so different from real Lolita fashion.
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? I actually think of Lolita as a mix of western and eastern style, so I suppose I don’t think of it as a purely Japanese interest.
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? Thanks to the internet a lot of people are discovering it and that through that factions will eventually grow. But I don’t think it ever should be mainstream.
And finally, what do you make of Mori Girl fashion as a trend with apparent proximity to Lolita? I think it is very pretty, I think it would suit my sister who is more into Dolly-Kei. But a lot of Lolita have crossed over into Mori and I would love to see more cross-over in the future.
What are you wearing? Melty Chocolate in black by Angelic Pretty, I just love the contrasting colours.
Lolita History: 2 years. I was dragged to a Lolita meet by a friend who makes her own clothes. The brand dresses can be really expensive so there are those who make their own, but I can’t! I have evolved from classic towards more OTT things, I never used to wear wigs but you get to a point where you just ask yourself – what else can I do? It is a fashion and it evolves, I just don’t think I would ever wear contact lenses though, but who knows, I can be fickle!
Has Lolita fashion introduced you to other aspects of Japanese culture? I actually cosplayed before I got into Lolita. I was also in the ballet club in university and the anime society asked us to choreograph a dance for them for an expo so that was also an introduction to pop culture. Oh and I love Japanese food!
What do you think the future holds for Lolita Fashion in the UK? A lot of Japanese brands haven’t really come to the UK yet, but at Hyper Japan this year they will so who knows where it will go from there. There seems to be a lot of Lolita fans in the UK, but that might be because I know most of them! I think that if the fashion is well represented in the UK it will expand rapidly, but I just don’t think it has the credibility it deserves yet. This is such a shame as Lolita owes so much to the English Victorian era, so the UK should be its spiritual homeland.
And finally, what do you make of Mori Girl fashion as a trend with apparent proximity to Lolita? I like the way it looks on some, but some can look like Bag Ladies! I would like to try a floral layered take on it.
If that has all been a bit too sweet for you, I thought I would end with something a little bitter! I would love to have been able to have had a chat with you, but I suppose that will have to wait for next time.
A huge thank you to all who took part and we look forward to seeing you at Hyper Japan where I hope a couple of you will be taking the plunge and competing in the Kera model contest!
Samuel and Rebecca