Lolita fashion

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A lolita in Harajuku
De Angelic Pretty Shop in Tokio

Lolita (ロリータ・ファッション, rorīta fasshon) is a fashion subculture from Japan, that is highly influenced by Victorian and Edwardian children's clothing and clothes from the Rococo period.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Furthermore a very distinctive property of the Lolita fashion, is the aesthetics of cuteness.[8] The clothing style can be categorized in three substyles: 'gothic', 'classic', and 'sweet'[9][10][11][12] In addition there exist many more substyles such as 'Sailor', 'Country', 'Hime' (princess), 'Ero', 'Guro', 'Oriental', 'Punk', 'Shiro (white)', Kuro (black) and Steampunk Lolita.[13] This fashion has evolved herself to a widely followed subculture in Japan and the rest of the world.[14][15][16][17][18]

Description[edit]

The main feature of the Lolita fashion is the volume of the skirt.[19] This can be created by wearing a petticoat or crinoline. De skirt can be clock shaped or being A shaped.[20] De components of the Lolita fashion exist mainly out a blouse (long or short sleeves) with a skirt or a dress, which usually comes up to the knees. Loltia's are wearing frequently fashion wigs in combination with other headwear such as hair bow or a bonnet (comparable with a Poke bonnet). Also lolita's are wearing sometimes Victorian underpants under their petticoat. Further they are wearing knee socks, ankle socks or tights and shoes with a high heel or flat shoes with a bow. Other typical Lolita garments that are used in Lolita are jumperskirt (JSK) and one-piece (OP).[21]

History[edit]

Although the origin of the Lolita fashion is unclear, it is likely that the movement has started at the end of the sixties with the fashion style and subculture Natural Kei, in which they were romanticizing the Victorian Period.[22] This resulted at the end of seventies to a new movement called Otome-kei, which influenced the Lolita fashion a little bit, because Otome means maiden and maiden style looks like a lesser elaborated Lolita style.[23] Before Otomo-kei emerged, there was already a rise of the cuteness culture in the earlier seventies, during these years there was a high emphasis on a cute and childish handwriting on Japanese schools.[24][25][26] As a result of that the company Sanrio began experimenting with cute designs.[27] The cuteness style, which was also called kawaii style, that popular became in the eighties.[28][29] After Otom-kei, the Do-It-Yourself behaviour became popular, because of this a new style emerged named 'doll-kei' the predecessor of the Lolita fashion.[30]

During the years 77-98 was a large part of the Harajuka shopping district closed for car traffic on sundays. This would have resulted that many pedestrians could meet eachother in Harajuka.[31] When brands like Pink House (1973)[32][33], Milk (1970)[14] and Angelic Pretty (1979)[34] began to sell cute clothing, resulted this in a new style that would be later be known as 'Lolita'.[35][36]The term Lolita appeared therefore as first in the fashion magazine Ryukou Tsushin in the September 1987 issue.[14] Shortly after that Baby, The Stars Shine Bright (1988)[37], Metamorphose temps de fille (1993) en other brands emerged.[14] In the nineties Lolita became more accepted, with bands like Malice Mizer and other visualkeibands, that rose in popularity. These band members wore elaborate clothes, that fans began to adopt in their own clothing.[38] During these years Japan ended up in an economical regression[39], that caused a raise in more alternative fashion cultures and youth cultures such as gyaru, otaku, visual-kei en Lolita[40], but also in viusal kei like clothing and other youth culture such as Mori, Fairy Kei, Decora[41] The Lolita style spread quickly from the Kansai region and finally reached Tokyo.[citation needed] Partly due the economiscal difficulties their was a big growth in the cuteness culture and youth cultures, that originated from the seventies.[42] In the late nineties the Jingu bridge -also called the Harajuka bridge- became known as meeting place for youth who wore Lolita and other alternative fashion.[14][43][44] Lolita become more popular, causing a growth in warehouses that were also selling Lolita Fashion.[45] An important magazine that contributed to the spread of the fashion style was Gothic&Lolita Bible (2001), a spin-off of the popular Japanese fashion magazine KERA (ja) (1998), also the fashion magazine FRUiTS (1997) contributed to the spread of the Lolita fashion.[46][47] The magazine Gothic&Lolita Bible was also been translated a while to English and spread outside of Japan trough the publisher Tokyopop[48][49], in addition FRUits published in 2001 an English picture book of the Japanese Street Fashion. After the fashion spread itself further trough the internet, more shops opened abroad, such as The Stars Shine Bright in Paris (2007)[18] and in New York (2014)[50].

It looks like the youth that gathered themselves in Harajuka or at Harajuka bridge disappeared. Some Explanations are given. One of the explanation is that fast fashion (cheap fashion) in Japan, caused a reduction of the consumption of street fashion, such as the appearance of the retails H&M and Forever21[51][52]

Sources of Inspiration[edit]

The Western culture has influenced the Lolita fashion, the book Alice in Wonderland (1865)[53][54], written by Lewis Caroll, is an example of this.[55][56] Alice in Wonderland has inspired many different brands and top magazines.[57] Alice Deco is an example of a magazine that is named to her.[55] The reason that the character Alice was an inspiration source for the Lolita, was because she was an ideal icon for the Shōjo (shoujo)-image.[57][58], by which it means an image of eternal innocence and beauty.[59] The first complete translation of the book was published by Maruyama Eikon in 1910 translated as Ai-chan No Yume Monogatari (Fantastic stories of Ai).[60] An other figure that did server as inspiration source was Marie Antoinette who lived in the Rocco period[61], from her is even a manga created The Rose of Versailles (1979), also known as Lady Oscar in Europe.

Popularization[edit]

People who have popularised the Lolita fashion were Mana and Novala Takemoto. Novala is a writer who has written the light novel Kamikaze Girls (2002).[15][62]. This book is about the relation between Momoko, a Lolita girl and Inchigo a Yanki. The light novel is edited into a movie (2004)[15][63][64][65][66] and a manga (2004). Novela himself claims that "There are no leaders within the Lolita world".[67] Mana is a guitarist and is known for the popularizing of the Gothic Lolita fashion. [6] He played in the band Malice Mizer (1999-2001) and founded an own band Moi Dix Mois (2002). These bands are categorized under the Visual Kei genre, that is known for their eccentric expressions and elaborated costumes. Further he founded in 1999 a own fashion label, known as Moi-même-Moitié, which specialised itself in Gothc Lolita.[68][69][70][71] The similarity between these person is that they are both very interested in the Rocco period.[68]

Japan himself has also tried to popularize the Lolita fashion. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, has therefore on February 2009.[72], assigned models to spread the Japanese pop culture.[73][74][75][25] The assigned persons obtain the titles Kawaa Taishi (ambassadors of cuteness).[74][76] The first three ambassadors of cuteness are as follow the famous model Misaki Aoki, who represent the Lolita style of frills-and-lacee, Yu Kimura who represent the Harajuka style and Shizuka Fujioka who represent the school-uniform-styled fashion.[74][77] An other way that Japan tries to popularize the Japaneee street fashion and Lolita is by organizing the international Harajuka walk in Japan, this should caused that other foreign countries would organize a similar walik.[78]

Possible explanations that could be given that the Lolita fashion can be found outside of Japan is as following: A big growth in the interest of Japanese culture, the internet as a place to share information[43][75][79][80][81], worldwide being able to shop, chances and enthusiastic foreign lolita's who are engaged in the Lolita fashion.[82] The origin of the Japanese influences can be found in the late nineties, in which cultural goods such as Hello Kitty, Pokemon (1999)[83] and translated manga's appeared in the west.[84] Another source mention that anime was already imported to the west in the early ninities.[85] Moreover scholars mention also that, anime, manga caused the raise in popularity of Japanese culture.[86].[87] This is supported by the idea that cultural streams have been going from Japan to the west, and from the west to Japan.[88]

Motives[edit]

Lolita is seen as a reaction against the stifling Japanese Society, in which youth is pressured to strict adhere to the gender roles and the expectation and responsibilities that are part of these roles. [89][90][91] Wearing the fashion inspired by childhood clothes formed a counter reaction against this.[92][93][94][95] This counterreaction can be explained from two perspectives. The first perspective is that the reaction is a way to escape the adulthood[23][68][96][97][98][99] and to go back to the eternal beauty of childhood.[100][101] The second perspective is that it is an escape to a fantasy world, in which the ideal identity can be created that would not be acceptable in daily life.[6][102][103]

However there are loltia's that are saying that the subculture is just purely a style for fun and it not doing to protest against the traditional and formal ways of society.[14] Other motives for lolita's to wear it could be that it give them a sense of confidence[104][105] or ensure them that they can express their own (alternative) identity. [14][82][34][103][106][107]

Confusions[edit]

Before the Lolita fashion got her name, there already existed a book called Lolita (1955)[82][108], which was written by Vladimir Nabokov. This book is about a romantic relationship between a twelve-year-old girl named Doleres Haze, with her nickname Lolita.[109][110][111] The first translation of the novel appears in Japan in 1959.[112] Because the west have a novel with a controversial subject, this word has gotten a negative connotation, which resulted that the word became sexualised trough time by the media.[113] and is being associated with sex.[114]

The sexualisation of the word can be attributed to a number of influences such as the movie Lolita from 1962, which was sexualized and did not show the disinterest that Lolita had in sexuality[115][116], other movies such as Lolita (2000), The Amy fisher Story (1993) reinforced the sexual association [117], the Lolita Nylon advertisements (1964)[118] and other media that used Lolita in sexual contexts.[119] An other factor is that wearing cute clothing as adult is considered in the western as childish, whereby people connect lolita earlier with paedophile fantasies then with fashion. Japan in contrast, accept more that cute is part of the fashion.[119]

Earlier their is written about Lolita in sexual context, but that was called the Lolita complex, -also known as Lolicon-.[120][121] This term was used for the first time by Russel Trainer in his roman The Lolita complex (1966)[122] This term the Lolita complex therefore became popular within the otaku culture.[7] Moreover the term refers to paedophile desires.[7] This expression of the Lolita complex can therefore be found back in the nineties in which school uniforms became a central object of desire[123] Young girls were pictured therefore sexual in manga.[123]

Within the Japanese culture the name refers rather to cuteness and elegant then to sexual attractiviness.[124][125][126]

An other confusion that often occurs is between the Lolita fastion style and cosplay. However both are spread from Japan, these things are different and have to be perceived independently from eachother.[127], one is a fashion style while the other is a role-play, whereby clothing and accessory is being used to play a character. This does not exclude, of course, that there may be some overlap between members of both groups.[128] This can bee seen for example at anime conventions such as the convention in Götenborg, in which cosplay and Japanese fashion is mixed.[129] Therefore for some lolita's it is insult if people are labelling their outfit as costume.[14][130]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading and documentaries[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://hdl.handle.net/10292/2448 Kathryn A. Hardy Bernal (2011) The Lolita Complex: a Japanese fashion subculture 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. ^ http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/anthro_hontheses/11/ 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. ^ http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/anthro_theses/87/ 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. ^ https://dx.doi.org/10.4236/aasoci.2012.24034 A. Jiratanatiteenun, C. Mizup.tani, S. Kitaguchi, T. Sato & K. Kajiwara (2012) Habitual Difference in Fashion Behavior of Female College Students between Japan and Thailand, Advances in Applied Sociology, 260-267, p. 261.
  6. ^ a b c https://eltalpykla.vdu.lt/1/32351 A. Haijima (2013) Japanese Popular Culture in Latvia: Lolita and Mori Fashion, University of Latvia, (Letland), p. 32.
  7. ^ a b c http://repository.wellesley.edu/thesiscollection/391/ K. Coombes (2016) Consuming Hello Kitty: Saccharide Cuteness in Japanese Society, Wellesly College, United States of America, p. 36.
  8. ^ https://dx.doi.org/10.21159/nv.02.02 M. Monden (2008) Transcultural Flow of Demure Aesthetics: Examining Cultural Globalisation through Gothic & Lolita Fashion, The Japan Foundation Sydney, New Voices Volume 2, 21-40, p. 29.
  9. ^ http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/anthro_hontheses/11/ 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.
  10. ^ Style Spotlight: Gothic Lolita in Belgian Cupcakes Magazine, published by Hilde Heyvaert, vol. 5, 2012.
  11. ^ Style Spotlight: Classic Lolita in Belgian Cupcakes Magazine, published by Hilde Heyvaert, vol. 2, 2011.
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