Tuesday, 31 December 2019

2010-2019: My decade in (and out of) lolita with trying to find my place and myself

I started this decade with a waning interest in lolita for several reasons, the main reasons being my declining mental health and a change in my career path. There was little to no energy left in me to engage in the lolita community which is ironic considering that lolita fashion has been the very catalyst for my energy and happiness up until then. 

In 2012 I started selling off my wardrobe and kept only two pieces: an OP and a handbag from Kazuko Ogawa. They were my first lolita brand items that I ever bought so I just couldn't bear parting with them. I think every lolita has that kind of item in their wardrobe that they just never will part from.

I kept following the lolita fashion from a distance, adoring it as much as I felt detached. Having friends that are also lolitas helped keep me anchored in the community. Thank you Bella, Nadde, and Frida.

Late 2015 I got encouraged to travel to Under the Sea in Amsterdam, an international event arranged by Street Fashion Europe. The main guests were Juliette et Justine so I felt like I just had to go since they once were one of my most favorite brands. I was so excited, a huge international lolita event was a distant dream when I was the most engaged in the community. 

To be honest, I struggled with feeling comfortable again in the fashion because I had gained a lot of weight (age, medication, desk job, etc). I used to be able to fit into just about any brand JSK. The only JSK I could find for Under the Sea that I also would feel comfortable in wearing again after the hiatus was Rogue Aeries Nightmare Rising in size AU14. I was very worried and anxious about not belonging, not being pretty and feeling that maybe lolita fashion no longer was for me. It turned out that all my worries were unfounded. While being at Under the Sea I felt energized, happy and especially surprised that there were other attendees there that I recognized from the Livejournal days. I felt like I had come home. Again. I felt like myself. Again.

I have since 2015 visited at least one international lolita event every year. I have made several attempts at blogging again (case in point). I have met up with lolita friends for hanging out, going to museums and having some afternoon tea. I feel alive. Again.

2019 has been a year of fortifying my self-esteem in lolita.  I have been actively looking for lolitas on Instagram and other social media that are norm breakers in any sense of the word and there are a lot out there! I look at their feeds and I feel less alone. Just by existing, they have helped my self-esteem a lot. I thank them all.

I have discovered that hunting for brand garments that fit me is time-consuming and sometimes even disheartening. On the other hand, it makes me put in extra thought and effort before adding items to my wardrobe. The pieces I have in my wardrobe actually get worn a lot more. Some brand garments are possible to alter in size in order to fit me, all thanks to Nadde again for being an outright magician with sewing. 

I refuse to let body shaming restrict me from being my true self. I look forward to another 10 years of living my best lolita life. Again.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

If a lolita wears an outfit and does not post it online, are they actually a lolita?

Safe to say, photo evidence of lolitas either out and about or flaunting our shopping hauls is the most common way of connecting with other lolitas. So much so that some see it as a crucial part of dressing in the fashion. How come?

These are the main contemporary cultural contexts of the early '00s that I think about when answering this question:
  • Digital cameras started replacing analog cameras. Phone cameras were a thing but the photo quality was subpar. Analog cameras were bulky and the developing time of the film was just too slow. Digital cameras were slim, quick and affordable in comparison. 
  • Fashion blogging in general and street fashion, in particular, was on the rise. Showcasing what you were wearing or had bought for the day was something people were genuinely interested in seeing and in a sense also a form of escapism into a life more frivolous than one's own.

When lolitas outside of Japan, mainly North America and Europe, found like-minded peers on mailing lists and Livejournal in the early 00's the fashion was considered somewhat hard to attain. Not to mention somewhat of a challenge to fit into one's existing daily wardrobe. By the time that daily_lolita emerged only a very few Japanese brands had started to acknowledge international customers and lolitas knew of at least one person in their vicinity that owned a digital camera. This was where it all took off.

The main point of daily_lolita was to showcase the outfits you wore while going about in your everyday life. It was a reaction to the then-common view on lolita being so expensive and special as a fashion that it only found it's place on special occasions, like photoshoots or meetups. Daily_lolita wanted to help by inspiring you to make the most out of your expensive clothing by trying to wear it as much as possible. 

Most of the posting in daily_lolita was done by lolitas that could afford brand, could wear brand and/or owned a digital camera. But most importantly they had an occupation or daily activities that allowed, enabled or encouraged casual or creative fashion.

Daily_lolita photos basically became the main inspirational source for non-Japanese lolitas outside of the Bibles and the brands' own photoshoots. Through these photos, there was proof that yes, lolitas do exist, and yes, there is a world where you can wear the fashion as often as you want. 

As sharing photos online got easier, the lolita community spiraled into centering around a Descartesque way of thinking: "I post, therefore I am". Nowadays the fashion is well known enough to have regular meetups and international events. The level of ambitiousness put into coords is getting deeper and the level of what is considered casual has adapted. As a result, most photos of lolitas online are well thought out and planned ahead when it comes to the outfit and very much when it comes to the surroundings in which the photo is taken. 

So the photos we are used to seeing of lolitas today are much like well-composed artworks: depictions of someone's reality in a certain slice of mind and time. Posting your outfit online is a part of lolita fashion, hardly crucial though since there is so much more to the fashion than that.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Frederick Party, Innocent World 2007

Finally decided on getting the skirt and the handbag to match my cabin bag that I got in a lucky pack 10+ years ago. ❤️

Haul from a local lolita

an*Tai*na shoes, Metamorphose skirt, Angelic Pretty JSK




Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A trend is a trend is a trend - 10 years later

When reopening this blog I found an entry from 2009 about the evolution of the lolita fashion where I predicted that sweet's popularity would decline and classic would be the next big thing. Since it is indeed 10 years since I wrote that entry, let's look at this again.

Back to the roots: old school is very much a thing

After my pause from lolita I came back to a love bubble filled with adoration for way-back-when. "Less is more" attitude now flourish in the backwater of the early 2010's extremes and clones. For many lolitas, old school is welcoming. A certain cut and a certain choice of materials allows for more experimentation but still walking a thin line on actually being labeled old school. Less rules and more rules at the same time.

Since the cuts and materials have to be specific, the hunt for actual old school pieces are a big part of the substyle. The appreciation and loving care for these pieces of lolita history is on the same level as textile curating. Emphasis is put on how to preserve the pieces and showing the pieces. The ultimate goal is of course to wear the pieces but in any rate the interest for preservation is very high.

Sweet pushes for versatility

The change from old school sweet and new school sweet was so significant, in all our faces and especially unapologetic. Modern sweet lolita still keeps with the pastel color bombs and imaginative prints but is also much more suited for everyday wear. Cutsew JSKs are more of a common piece in a release today and also very popular since it is just much more comfortable and easily worn.

Angelic Pretty flirts with larme (which may or may not be it's own style but that's another discussion) and larme brands like Rosemarie Seoir are popular among sweet lolitas. Because of this, brands like Emily Temple Cute and Leur Getter have gained attention as well. The sweet branch has been broadened and, dare I say it, matured without losing it's playfulness. Just like it has always been. ❤ 

Safe spaces are thriving pods for OTT

Worldwide events with dresscode themes are common nowadays, something one could only dream of 10 years ago. Main guests at the events are typically one or several lolita brands so participants want to look their best while celebrating and showing their dedication to the main guest brand. The events are weekend getaways and a pinnacle in the modern lolita culture much like the tea party.

As a participant you are encouraged and inspired to wear an OTT outfit as the event is also a showcasing of sorts. You are presented with an opportunity to relish in all the aspects of aesthetic endeavours when you know that you will be surrounded by other lolitas in a separatistic space free from outer disturbance. The event space is safe so lolitas can thrive.

What about 10 years from now?

My humble predictions for the future of lolita:
  • Custom sizing or a wider range of sizing will be standard from Japanese brands in order to meet the new expectations that comes with what the non-Japanese brands are offering. Japanese brands must find a way to cater to the widened customer pool (no pun intended) or go down in to bankruptcy for not changing with the times. 
  • New releases will be even more limited preorders to ensure the creativity of the brand. Rereleases are raining down upon us now because they are a sure bet for sales. Rereleases are not doing that much good for future designs though and some lolitas argue that rereleases take away the uniqueness in owning a print. 
  • The Westernized idea of Lifestyle Lolita will make a comeback. As the old school definition of Lifestyle Lolitas were an unattainable dream because the clothing itself was somewhat unattainable, the new Lifestyle Lolita will instead be more commonplace because of higher attainability. As lolita fashion keeps on nudging it's way in to the consciousness of mainstream the interpretations of lolita as a fashion will also be more loose. Lolitas that have been in the fashion for 20+ years will by this point have most probably gained enough economic power to truly indulge themselves in all aspects of life. Hence the truly dedicated lolitas will be labeled "Lifestylers" to stand out. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Welcome to the archive.

I decided on opening the old lolita related entries in this blog because the interest in old school lolita fashion has grown a lot. This blog is a great timeline of not only my personal lolita fashion development but lolita fashion culture as a whole as it was back then and in Sweden.

After 2010 I started blogging on my own domain which meant that somewhere on all my old harddrives there is an archive of entries and photographs from my blog Paperlace.se (now defunct). If I find them I will upload them here as well.

Paperlace.se shut down after a few years more since I moved to tumblr: https://bellicosefrill.tumblr.com/

I have been wanting to start blogging regularly but to be honest I don't prioritize time enough to do it nowadays. Maybe some other day, some other time?

Until then, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Monday, 12 March 2018

When was the last time you actively approached and consumed lolita culture?

A few weeks ago I visited an art exhibition with oil paintings made by Ulrika Wärmling. She has been depicting parts of the Swedish lolita culture for almost 15 years. The exhibition itself consisted of new and old works, most of them being two metre long panels. It gives quite an impression.

Art exhibitions are one of many reoccuring activities within my local lolita community. Such super focused exhibitions like Ulrika Wärmling's that are specifically on the topic of lolita is uncommon, most of the time the exhibition topic revolves around something more or less remotely relevant to a generic lolita's interests. Lolita fashion is still a subculture in which the interpretation, the idea of and the expression around the subculture is under a constant forward motion. We ourselves create, nurture and further the culture.

When EGL was alive and kicking on Livejournal, the online community was my primary lolita community. I looked through the Black Lolita mailing list, checked new entries on Livejournal and made the usual rounds of reading other lolitas' journals or blogs. I stared longingly at dresses I couldn't afford. Text based posts where more common than picture based posts so I took the time to read, comment and spin on through a topic. Consuming lolita culture for me, back then, was something that I saw as my me-time in front of the computer.

As lolita culture has been more widespread and known, there are naturally more platforms available that allow space for lolitas online. Online communities are available on Facebook, amino and the likes. Fellow lolitas have their own Youtube channels, Instagram accounts or Vero profiles. After I got my smartphone, my approach to consuming lolita culture is less of an outreachable action and more of an aggregated action. I have my chosen sources available at any time, in my hand, chosen because they are in abundance, all gathered up in one or two flows of strokes. I read shorter texts, I admire more photos, my comments are shorter. Time seems scarcer or is it that time has another sense of meaning now for me?

Sunday, 21 January 2018

My favorite dresses from my wardrobe

The yearly wardrobe posts are a form of new years ceremony for Western lolitas. Humble bragging is combined with analysis of one's style development and a throwback of the past year's fashion consumerism. I am no better of course so here is my take on the wardrobe post tradition: my favorite dresses.

Moi-même-Moitié - Holy Queen JSK

I used to take photos of exactly every little thing that was lolita related in my closet. I won't do that. It takes a lot of time and it is not worth the time it takes. I am definitely NOT interested in seeing a person's wrinkly miscolored non patterned brand socks just because there is a logo on it so I won't subject anyone else to that kind of torture. Besides, I usually wear solid tights or stockings with my outfits so it's more like a crumpled mess and who wants to look at a picture of that?

Moi-même-Moitié - Lace Shirring Sundress

2017 was the year that I felt like continuing reaquiring and wearing lolita garments while navigating what out of all the products churned out would fit me, style wise and cut wise. I am now older, more curvacious due to medication and age (mostly age to be honest) and my generic fashion style has shifted. I look for the same qualities in lolita clothing as I do in all clothing: a coherent color scale, something that can be dressed up as well as down and a variety of fabric texture and materials in the same garment. I know, I'm boring and predictable like that. But with these criteria I actually WEAR the clothes in my closet instead of piling them on to an already overfilled rack.

Moi-même-Moitié - Holy Angel Long JSK

I have limited energy, health, time and opportunity to wear the fashion. A so called lifestyle level wardrobe is out of the question (also highly overrated). These are not excuses, these are explanations. My wardrobe content hasn't grown much during 2017. I actually bought more in December of 2017 than I did during the rest of the year.

Triple Fortune - Lily Cross OP

I am very fond of intricacy in details. The pattern of a layered row of lace can make or break the overall impression. Material choices that matter because they create depth in a relatively flat medium. Colors that lift each other rather than demanding your immediate and constant attention. This is what I prefer to dress in because it makes me feel strong, confident and beautiful.

Atelier Pierrot - Long Bustle Corset JSK

I find myself somewhat of a newbie again, having come back to lolita fashion after a hiatus. Trends are different, the second hand market is in full bloom and shopping from Japanese brands is not the only source of import anymore. Lolitas rather look to subcultural peers they actually can communicate with for inspiration instead of deciphering the thick commercial catalogues called mooks. Indie brands and small scale designers are highly acknowledged, no longer suffering in the shadow of the major Japanese brands but rather thriving alongside them. I have learned more in the past few months than I learned the last year before my hiatus. This is an excellent time to be in the fashion - and still a more than awful time to be a wallet belonging to a lolita.

Metamorphose temps de fille - Old School A-line Dress With Matching Headdress From The Time Period In Lolita Fashion When Garments Didn't Have Names, They Were Just Garments (yes this is a possible future blog entry)