The Japanese sub-culture fashion- Lolita

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Lolita is a Japanese fashion subculture that is influenced by Victorian style clothing and rococo ko period styles. Fashion clothing subculture can be categorised into gothic classic and suite styles. It is the aesthetic of cuteness. the fashion was originally inspired by Victoria dolls and started in Japan in 1980s and gained popularity across Asia and other parts of the world such as in Britain etc. Lolita is a body focused fashion norm that is selected by the youth who choose to find comfort in the imaginary world of Lace, bows, tulle and ribbons.

Despite the basic Victorian doll image originating from historical Europe, Lolita’s cute and feminine style flourished in Japan due to the fact that the concept of cuteness and sweetness has historically not been restricted to children,

Popularised widespread and pickup by the fashion media Lolita fashion was officially born in the 90s earning its name as well as a more visible place in public consciousness. During this time visual kei-inspired rock bands emerged and became world famous. The characteristics of the kei group included over-the-top outfits, dresses and feminine makeup.

The term Lolita refers to a sexually precocious young girl by definition but does not apply to the Japanese Lolita fashion. Lolita first made in appearance in Harajuku Tokyo in the 1980 in the streets of Harajuku district. The Lolita has now developed into multiple sub-genres with the most desirable one being gothic Lolita. Traditionally Lolita was made-up pastel colours with embroidered cotton prints and lace and sometimes carried toys such as porcelain dolls or teddy bears. The Gothic Lolita is more likely to wear black lace, monotone black or black or grey or white dresses. This style has been popularised by Japanese visual rock bands.

The Lolita style itself ranges across a variety of sub-genres such as Sweet Lolita seen in Angelic Pretty, Classic Lolita seen in Victorian Maiden, Pirate Lolita seen in Alice and the Pirates and the lesser-known Grotesque Lolita seen in Blah Blah Hospital. By promoting demure mannerisms and sweet femininity without the traditional passivity ascribed sexualized women, the style offers participants resistance against conventional cultural pressures and happiness via an escape into fantasy.

 

Some other sub-cultures of Lolita are:

Aristocrat Lolita is a more mature style that is not always considered part of the Lolita style spectrum, but something more of a sister style. Aristocrat is generally considered an exclusively Gothic substyle.

Most Aristocrat outfits are black based, but some can be white, and may have an accent color.

The Aristocrat silhouette is often very sharp and unadorned, favoring simple but striking cuts over ruffles and lace. This is also the major defining feature between Aristocrat and many Western Gothic styles.

Casual Lolita is simply a term used to describe an outfit that is toned down for more casual wear. They often favor cutsews over blouses, petticoats without a lot of poof, and minimal accessories and styling. Many times tee-shirts with cute, Lolita appropriate, prints are worn with Lolita skirts to make a Casual Lolita outfit.

 

 

Classic Lolita is often considered a more mature style that tends to be more historically inspired than other styles. It tends to focus more on elegance and less on cuteness. It also tends to look more toned-down than other styles, as some Classic dresses could even pass for fancy “event” dresses. This style can sometimes border either on Sweet or Gothic Lolita.

Other subcultures include: Country Lolita, Ero Lolita, Guro Lolita, Hime Lolita, Kodona Lolita, Kuro Lolita, etc.

With a following of primarily young women under the age of 40, despite the visuals depicting child-like innocence and youth, failed dreams and cynicism are a large part of Lolita culture and often the reason for escape (Younker 2011). These negative emotions may have fueled the emergence of separate sub-genres such as Gothic Lolita with its gloomy and dark aesthetics as a deliberate reflection of how the Lolitas see the world and their place in it. The connection between youth and sexuality, although not the goal of Lolitas, is still a common commodification by male consumers of Japanese Pop culture depicting hybridized Lolita aesthetics. With proper representation, Lolitas are, despite being sweet and demure, against the objectification and sexual submission of females – instead feminine strength in the form of self-control and proper conduct is ideal for the fantasized ‘lady’.

– by Anushka Dwivedi

picture credits-(google images)

References:

  1. https://penguinlolita.weebly.com/types-of-lolita.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_fashion

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