I first discovered lolita fashion around 2005-ish (I think? That was a while ago), when I was a fledgling weeaboo babybat and LiveJournal was still cool. I was looking up stuff about Mana and Malice Mizer when I stumbled across EGL on LJ. I was immediately hooked.
not sure what attracted me to lolita fashion in the first place. I
loved seeing the street snaps of Japanese girls in these antique gothic
doll clothes, while talking on their cellphones and hanging out on the
sidewalks. I was so fascinated by the idea that lolita fashion was
rebellious just by being extremely feminine - on our side of the pond,
it seemed that rebellious fashions always involved spiked battlejackets
and mohawks. It opened up my world a little bit.
For the next decade or so, I scoured
EGL and snapped up any photos and tidbits of information I could get. Grainy scans of GLB, Fruits, and Kera, and a few fansites were all I
had to go on - social media other than blogs wasn't really a thing yet.This was when
lolita was slowly beginning to take hold in the west. I just remember
the excitement of finding something new and unusual, and sharing that
excitement with others.
I was a teenager working crappy odd jobs in the summer at the time, so I contented myself with just admiring the photos and chatting with all sorts of people about everything lolita. I figured if I couldn't be a lolita now, I could in a couple of years when I had money.
I couldn't afford to put together a proper wardrobe until quite recently...by recently, I mean this year. I bought my first piece in April, and finished buying pieces for my first full coordinate a few weeks ago. Thank goodness, because I would have looked ita as all hell if I'd bought all the things I thought were ~* KAWAII DESU ~* at age 13.
The first time I put lolita clothes on was awesome. After wrestling with my petticoat for a bit before
managing to jam it into my skirt, I looked myself up and down in the
mirror. I'd never felt so elegant and pretty in my life. Slightly
ridiculous and a bit itchy, but pretty. So, I was finally ready to dive headfirst into lolita for real! But...
I hadn't really noticed it so much until I started wearing the clothing, but over the years there'd been a shift in the subculture (can we call it that?). Lolita was moving away from being a wearable daily fashion and was steadily becoming more costumey and OTT. Social media emphasizes pictures over content, and that community spirit I got from reading blogs and EGL posts was largely replaced by posting photos to get likes and Tumblr notes. Fighting over who has what brand and how much. It feels like a lot of lolitas treat it as a costume for conventions and photoshoots.
I miss reading blogs about lolitas who let their style bleed over into the other aspects of life. I miss the talented people who sewed their own dresses. I miss the days when people didn't feel afraid to post their lolita outfits for fear of being nitpicked to death. I miss simple coordinates!
Was it always this much of a popularity contest? It seems like earlier lolitas wore the fashion for themselves, because it was fun and appealing to them, instead of worrying about being gossiped about online. They had less focus on having insanely OTT outfits that looked photoshoot-ready and more emphasis on wearing the clothing as daily fashion. People didn't seem so anal about following a strict set of style rules instead of just following the general guidelines to the fashion.
There is just so much damn pressure to be perfect. Don't people enjoy the fashion for the sake of fashion anymore? Maybe I'm getting nostalgic for something that never existed...
It sounds silly, right? How
could I have fallen out of love with a community that I wasn't truly a
part of until...well, now? But even though I didn't actually wear the fashion until
later, there's no doubt in my mind that it helped to shape who I am.
Before then I had a passing interest in fashion, but lolita turned that
interest into a strong passion - fashion is my hobby. My artwork was inspired by
the artists I saw in GLB. Through
EGL on LJ I made so many friends and discovered music that I still enjoy.
I realized I'd kind of lost touch with what attracted me to lolita in the first place. I loved how elegant and frilly I felt when I put on my lolita clothing, that carefree feeling of being able to wear stuff without caring what other people thought or if anyone else liked it. I wore it for myself because it made me happy, and I loved injecting little lolita touches into my everyday life. And ultimately being happy is way more important than getting lots of notes on Tumblr or being validated by strangers on the internet.