Lolita fashion

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Two gothic lolita girls in Harajuku, Tokyo

Lolita (ロリータ・ファッション, rorīta fasshon) is a fashion subculture originating in Japan during the 1990s that is based on Victorian and Edwardian clothing with a Rococo influence.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


A 2008 New York Times report called lolita fashion a cross between Alice in Wonderland and the Addams Family, whose influences include "Victorian children’s wear, the French Rococo period, goth-inspired darkness and Japanese anime".[8]


The first known use of the term "lolita" as a Japanese subculture was in the September 1987 issue of Ryukou Tsushin, a Japanese fashion magazine.[9] However, the origin of the term's meaning is complex and remains unclear.[10]

The movement itself grew out of styles created by the Japanese brands Milk and Pink House, established respectively in 1970 and 1973, the styles were worn by the readers of Olive magazine, who were colloquially called "Olive girls".[9]

Designers branching out from Milk further influenced the style; in 1974, Rei Yanagikawa left Milk to start a children's clothing brand, Shirley Temple Cute, which would later expand to include a matching adult's otome fashion line under the name Emily Temple Cute. In 1985, Megumi Murano opened the otome fashion brand Jane Marple; in 1984, Atuski Onishi founded a self-named brand that also sold feminine, otome styled clothing. In 1988, one of Onishi's designers, Akinori Isobe, opened the Lolita fashion brand Baby the Stars Shine Bright.[9]

In the 1990s, bands such as Princess Princess grew more popular, influenced in part by the success of early visual kei bands throughout Japan, some musicians, including Mana of Malice Mizer, founded lolita-inspired magazines,[11] which made the style popular among Japanese youth.

The fashion is being promoted throughout the world by Misako Aoki, the president of the Japan Lolita Association.[12]

See also[edit]

Further reading and documentaries[edit]


  1. ^ Kathryn A. Hardy Bernal (2011) The Lolita Complex: a Japanese fashion sbculture and its paradoxes, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, p. 20.
  2. ^ M. Monden (2008). "Transcultural Flow of Demure Aesthetics: Examining Cultural Globalisation through Gothic & Lolita Fashion, The Japan Foundation Sydney,". New Voices. 2: 21–40 [36]. doi:10.21159/nv.02.02. 
  3. ^ K. Robinson (2014) Empowered Princesses: An Ethnographic Examination of the Practices, Rituals, and Conflicts within Lolita Fashion Communities in the United States, Georgia State University, p. 9.
  4. ^ Chancy J. Gatlin (2014) The Fashion of Frill: The Art of Impression Management in the Atlanta Lolita and Japanese Street Fashion Community, Georgia State University, United States of America, p. 16.
  5. ^ A. Jiratanatiteenun, C. Mizutani, S. Kitaguchi, T. Sato & K. Kajiwara (2012). "Habitual Difference in Fashion Behavior of Female College Students between Japan and Thailand,". Advances in Applied Sociology. 2: 260–267 [261]. doi:10.4236/aasoci.2012.24034. 
  6. ^ A. Haijima (2013) Japanese Popular Culture in Latvia: Lolita and Mori Fashion, University of Latvia, (Letland), p. 32.
  7. ^ K. Coombes (2016) Consuming Hello Kitty: Saccharide Cuteness in Japanese Society, Wellesly College, United States of America, p. 36.
  8. ^ Jimenez, Dabrali (26 September 2008). "A New Generation of Lolitas Makes a Fashion Statement". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c Kawamura, Yuniya (2012). Fashioning Japanese Subcultures. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-84788-947-8. 
  10. ^ Hardy Bernal, Kathryn Adele. "The Lolita Complex: a Japanese fashion subculture and its paradoxes". Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Ishikawa, Katsuhiko, Gothic & Lolita, Phaidon, 2007, p 1
  12. ^ "Association formed to pitch ‘Lolita fashion’ to the world". Japan Times. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 

External links[edit]