Lolita fashion (ロリータ・ファッション) Originally came to exist for the purpose of reacting against the growing exposure of the body and skin in modern society. This means, followers of Lolita fashion would never class themselves as 'Sexy', but rather 'Cute' and 'Elegant'. As more and more girls begin to expose more skin, due to the media's influence, telling them that it is acceptable, more and more girls begin to fight back. Lolita fashion is a way of doing so. The 'fashion' itself is based around Victorian-era clothing, and costumes from the Rococo period, as they're fairly modest and don't reveal much skin at all. Also, the detail behind these types of clothing is seen as 'cute', due to the presence of bows and lace.
Lolita fashion kicked off in the 1970's, when brand names such as 'Milk', 'Pink House' and 'Pretty' (Commonly known as 'Angelic Pretty') Started to sell clothes that would be branded 'Lolita' by today's standards. In the 1990's, bands started to use Lolita fashion as their image, encouraging young Japanese fans to mimic their idol's style, thus, the popularity of Lolita clothing continued to increase. However, most followers of the fashion would say that it's more of a lifestyle choice, rather than just a style.
'Types' of Lolita:
Contrary to popular belief, Lolita fashion isn't plainly and simply about wearing cute pastel colours with lots of lace and bows, petticoats and stockings. Although many people would use the items listed previously to stereotype 'Lolita', there are actually many different styles within the Lolita fashion, each one of them is very unique. Some of which, many people probably wouldn't recognise as 'Lolita' immediately.
The listed 'style types' of Lolita fashion are as follows:
✧ Gothic Lolita ✧
This style originated in the 1990's in Harajuku, and is often referred to as 'GothLoli' (ゴスロリ). A combination of Gothic fashion and Lolita fashion, a little bit like a Hybrid within the Lolita community. Usually, followers of the Gothic Lolita fashion can be recognised by their slightly darkened make-up, such as red lipstick and neatly defined eyes. However, one of the key factors of Lolita fashion is that make-up is kept minimal, and so they tend not to wear too much make-up. Religious symbols, such as the Holy Cross, are usually worn in the form of jewellery or brooches. The colour scheme within this style is kept quite simple; black, white, dark-purples and blues are traditional colours for dresses, skirts, etc. Sometimes, Gothic Lolita will use bags and purses in the shape of bats, coffins and crucifixes.
Visual Kei rock musician, Mana, (The guitarist of both Malice Mizer & Moi dix Mois) is known for creating the two sub-groups 'Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL)', for women, and 'Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA)', for men. He has also released a Gothic Lolita fashion label, 'Moi-même-Moitié', which has become widely popular in the previous years leading up to 2013.
Other examples of brands whom cater for a darker Lolita style include:
'Atelier-Pierrot', 'Atelier Boz', 'Black Peace Now' and 'h. NAOTO Blood'.
|Photo from tokyofashion.com|
✧ Sweet Lolita ✧
Sweet Lolita fashion, also known as 'ama-loli' (甘ロリ), is heavily influenced by Victiorian, Edwardian and Rococo styles. This style uses the basic Lolita style, and adapts it with pastel colours and child-like, fantasy designs and patterns. As with most Lolita styles, make-up is kept very minimal. However, the use of Pink, Peach or Pearl make-up is seen as 'sweet' and is commonly used by most Sweet Lolita followers. In terms of lipstick, many Sweet Lolita choose to stick with nude tones. Sometimes, a bold red or pink may be used, depending on the person's individual taste. The outfits within this style consist mainly of pastel colours, fruit themes (such as strawberries and cherries), flowers (such as cherry blossoms, lilies and jasmine), lace, bows, animal themes (such as cats, bunnies and puppies) and ribbons to emphasize the cuteness of designs.
Jewellery will often maintain a 'fantasy' aspect, in the form of headdresses, bonnets and bows. This will help to ensure that an outfit looks 'cute', and also keeps any wild bits of hair under control. Bags and purses will usually have a 'cute' or 'sweet' design, such as strawberries, crowns, hearts and stuffed animals, usually in pastel colours with minimal detailing.
Examples of brands who specialise in Sweet Lolita fashion are as follows:
'Angelic Pretty', 'Baby, The Stars Shine Bright' and 'Metamorphose temps de fille'.
|Photo from Warosu.org|
✧ Classic Lolita ✧
Classic Lolita is seen as the mature style within the Lolita fashion. It focuses mainly on Rococo, Victorian and Regency styles, and the colour scheme is somewhere between Gothic Lolita and Sweet Lolita. The style itself isn't as dark as Gothic Lolita, but the designs and patterns are not as 'cutesy' as those used for Sweet Lolita types. The colours are often muted for this style, and designs are mature and intricate. The over-all desired effect for this particular style is maturity and simplicity, whilst also not seeming boring. It's for people whom don't wish to draw so much attention to themselves, but also don't wish to blend in with the rest of a crowd. Designs will often include a-lines and Empire waists, to give a look of maturity and elegance.
Classic Lolita style still uses the same silhouette as the two mentioned previously. However, with this style, shoes and accessories used in this style are more functional and reliable than those used in the two previous styles. Jewellery with an intricate design often plays a big part in Classic Lolita outfits. Make-up within this style is kept natural and mute, as opposed to the dark make-up used in Gothic Lolita, and the 'sweet', 'cutesy' shades of pink used in Sweet Lolita.
Examples of brands whom sell Classic Lolita clothing are:
'Juliette et Justine', 'Innocent World', 'Victorian Maiden', 'Triple Fortune', and 'Mary Magdalene'.
|Photo from weheartit.com|
✧ Punk Lolita ✧
Punk Lolita (or Lolita Punk) is a cross between typical Lolita fashion and small aspects of the Punk fashion scene. Motifs that are typically found in Punk fashion, such as tattered fabric, chains, safety pins, plaids and screen-printed materials, are incorporated into the Lolita look. The Punk Lolita fashion mainly consists of blouse (or 'cutsew') and skirt combinations, although it's not uncommon to find a Punk Lolita wearing a dress, either. The common footwear among Punk Lolita are boots, Mary Jane's or Oxford's with a platform heel. Punk Lolita is also loosely based on the work of Vivienne Westwood, whom has become increasingly popular in Japan, after releasing a Japanese collection. Her work vaguely resembles Lolita, but also has a Punk twist. Inspiration also comes from London's Camden Town market, where a lot of alternative clothing is sold.
Punk Lolita isn't just for women, though. Males have also been known to take up the Punk Lolita fashion...
Popular Punk Lolita brands include:
'A+Lidel', 'Putumayo', 'h. NAOTO' and 'Na+H'.
|Photo from adistasdays.blogspot.com|
✧ Other Types ✧
The following are not as well-known as those listed above, however, they do still exist...
✧ Princess Lolita ✧
Hime (姫) or Princess Lolita consists of fashion based on the European aristocratic style, used to give a 'princess-like' appearance to girls whom follow this particular style. This often includes a tiara and a bustle-back skirt as a base.
✧ White & Black Lolita ✧
Shiro & Kuro Lolita. Shiro Lolita, meaning "White Lolita" base their outfits entirely on white or cream coloured clothing. Subsequently, Kuro Lolita, meaning "Black Lolita" base their outfits entirely on black coloured clothing to contrast with their counterpart. This style can be modified from any other style of Lolita fashion. For example, taking a Punk-esque outfit built up of entirely Black items, and then having someone else do the same thing, only with White, would be classed as Shiro & Kuro Lolita.
✧ Ōji Lolita (Boystyle) ✧
This is basically Lolita style for men. It's based heavily on Victorian-era male clothing, such as shirts and blouses, partnered with short trousers and knee-high socks. Top-hats and caps are also worn to give the outfit an ultimately boy-like appearance. Some would not consider this style to be Lolita fashion, as it doesn't follow the same guidelines as the other styles. However, many would consider it to be the 'Boystyle' of Lolita clothing, and would say that it is still Lolita, just by different standards.
Outside of Japan, this style is commonly known as 'Kodona'.
✧ Guro Lolita ✧
Guro, meaning "Gore" is the portrayal of a "Broken doll" or "Innocent gore" to some people. Usually, Guro Lolita will wear white clothing, and then use fake blood and bandages to represent injuries. It is believed that white is the colour of choice because it contrasts so well with the blood. Others say it is to represent purity. The real origin behind this style is unknown.
✧ Country Lolita ✧
Country Lolita is derived from both Classic and Sweet Lolita fashion, using straw baskets and gingham patterns to give the outfits more of a 'country' appearance. Straw hats are often worn, as well as fruit prints such as watermelon and grapes.
✧ Old School Lolita ✧
This style doesn't associate with the huge false-eyelashes and vibrant wigs that are slowly creeping into the Lolita scene. Using basic designs and lacking bold, vibrant prints, this is very much a 'simple' Lolita style for those who do not wish to attract too much attention.
Lolita fashion that incorporates aspects of 'Sailor' fashion, such as sailor hats, collars, ties and stripes. This style is not to be confused with the popular 'Sailor fuku' or, Sailor-esque school uniform that is common in cosplay.
✧ 'Wa' Lolita ✧
'Wa' Lolita, also known as 'Wa' Loli (和ロリ) is a style that combines traditional Japanese clothing with the typical Lolita fashion. For example, Kimono's that have been modified to be worn with traditional Lolita garments. In most cases, they are modified to allow the use of a petticoat underneath. Meaning that the Kimono will be shortened to knee-length, and will often stick out at the bottom in a typical Lolita fashion. The shoes and accessories used in this style are typical of traditional Japanese garb including Kanzashi flowers, and Geta, Zori, or Okobo. These shoes are often used in place of the normal Lolita platform and high-heeled shoes.
Similar to Wa Lolita, Qi Lolita fashion uses traditional Chinese garments, modified to suit the Lolita fashion requirements. Such as a petticoat, etc.
✧ Casual Lolita ✧
A simplified, toned-down version of Lolita fashion. Although it doesn't follow the rules perfectly, Casual Lolita style does incorporate certain elements of Lolita fashion in a way that makes it easy to wear everyday. It's almost described as what a Lolita would wear when not "dressing up", as though it is the home fashion for Lolita. As it can be developed to suit every style of Lolita fashion, there really aren't any limits on this style.
✧ Bittersweet Lolita ✧
Similar to Kuro Lolita in the sense that this style consists mainly of black, however, at the same time, followers of this style will try to make their outfits look as youthful as possible.
✧ Belle Lolita ✧
Similar to the Princess Lolita in the sense that the Belle Lolita takes its inspiration from the Victorian and Late-Baroque period. However, Belle Lolita fashion focuses more on the Southern United States, in terms of floor-length gowns with layer upon layer of the finest materials. Also, Belle Lolita are easily recognisable from their use of pearls and sun hats as accessories.
Lolita fashion has had a massive influence on various aspects of culture and daily living. From magazines to anime, manga to video games. Everyone wants a little slice of frills and ribbons, with cutesy designs and no erotic tendencies. Various designers have been inspired to release Lolita-esque fashion collections, and movies have also started to feature Lolita fashion to boost popularity. It's not just happening in Japan, either. All around the world, Lolita fashion brands are opening new stores, or starting online stores for international buyers. Lolita meet-ups are held in almost every country for enthusiasts to meet and make friends in a controlled environment. Blogs and websites have been dedicated to it. More and more brands are starting to open up their doors to Lolita, designing new clothes all the time. Even I, myself, have been sucked into this craze! Although, being the only one in my local area whom is involved in this fashion scene, sometimes it can also be a little bit lonely. But, all in all, Lolita fashion is all around us. We may not see it in the form that it's shown in the pictures above, but modern fashion is starting to tweak its clothing so that it has a slight Lolita-esque charm to it. I'm sure, if you look really hard at the clothes in your wardrobe, you'd be able to pick out something Lolita-inspired.
I sincerely hope that this has cleared up what it's truly like within the Lolita fashion world. And that, those of you whom started reading having absolutely no idea what the term "Lolita" meant, can now exit this article with a strong idea of what it means to be Lolita.