How to be a modern princess
Frilly dress, bows and flowing locks. Lots of pink or on the contrary, lots of black. Ever seen someone like this in the city and wondered what theatre play are they in or what product are they promoting? Well, today you're gonna find out and the answer to this question is neither of these two.
Lolita is a fashion created in Japan that quickly spread to western countries after the year 2000. Since then, the fashion went through a lot of changes, and what was popular in 90's and 00's is now considered "oldschool". It grew in popularity mainly thanks to musician and model Mana-sama, magazine "Gothic Lolita Bible" and the movie "Kamikaze Girls".
It has no connotations with the famous book "Lolita", it's a style inspired by the 19th-century children's clothes, Alice in Wonderland, rococo era and of course the japanese kawaii (cute) culture. Usually, an outfit consists out of a dress with sleeves/sleeveless dress with a blouse underneath, a petticoat that gives it the puffy figure and various accessories.
There are 3 main substyles.
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When I was starting with the style 15 years ago, the clothes were hard to get and none if a few japanese brands sold overseas. I even became a professional seamstress out of desperation! But the fashion was becoming more and more popular and with years it became much more accessible for western customers.
Since then Angelic Pretty and Baby the Stars Shine Bright opened their shops in Europe and USA, lots of japanese brands started selling to non-japanese customers and lots of western brands opened itself.
Lolita is not cheap . A brand dress can cost around 100-1500eur. You need to add shoes, accessories, and sometimes a wig. Remember it's not fast fashion and you get good quality things, made of meters of fabric and lace, as well as an unique design. For more budget options there are lots of local reselling groups and cheaper chinese brands, that are good for novices that don't want to spend 300eur on their first piece.
There are lots of sites and groups dedicated to Lolita Fashion, and the first thing before buying something should be researching the topic thoroughly. Lolita has multiple rules, and not much room for experiments if you're not experienced. There are veteran lolitas out there that can help you with their advice. After all, we are not only a fashion but a community as well! Lolitas meet for Tea Parties, talk on internet forums and there is plenty of instagram, youtube or tiktok accounts created by lolitas.
Other popular outside Japan street styles
Lolita is of course not the only alternative style from Japan that made it overseas. Here I will briefly introduce some of them:
Gyaru - there are lots of gyaru styles, starting from more cute to more sexy, less tanned to more tanned, and those using different kinds of makeup. People go back to experimenting with older styles, using heavy white make-up and platform shoes.
Himekaji - in my opinion, the most popular gyaru style in the west, a "casual princess". Very girly, feminine style, combining flattering clothes with cute aesthetic. More toned down than sweet lolita.
Mori-kei - it translates to "Forest Style", it uses very natural colours, many layers, drapings, and elements. It likes to use thrift store or handmade clothing, but it's not limited to it.
Fairy-kei - uses lots of pastels and neon pastels, mixing it with 80s aesthetic and cartoon motifs.
That doesn't exhaust at all the variety of japanese alt fashion styles of course, but it's a great start into deeper research if you're interested in the topic! And who knows, maybe you will be the next modern princess?