So y’all – this post is full of feelings. So prepare yourself.
One day (via a collection of text messages), my friend Victoria and I were talking about a variety of topics. From sending each other inspirational pictures, to planning our next after work dinner session, she brought up an interesting point, and it is the kind that makes your mind race in a ton of crazy directions. So hold onto your fashionable seat belts – this is gonna be a hella bumpy kind of post.
Ever since I was a child, my “fashion dreams” have revolved around the imagery provided by my heroes. Sailor Moon, Odette from The Swan Princess, Belle from Beauty and the Beast – the list goes on and on. All I wanted was to be a stunning, smart, fairy tale princess who kicked up and made her own dreams come true. But even in the mid-90’s, a lot of fashion never “got” the vibe I was going for – and thus I stuck to letting my mom throw whatever clothes she wanted on me, and instead focused on designing character after character that I wished, deep down, was me.
Anyway – flash forward to 2006. I was rocking Hot Topic garb on the daily, and that summer, I happen to walk into a panel room within the east coast anime heaven, Otakon. In such a space, I saw a vision that changed my life for the foreseeable future. The person at the center of that room’s attention was singer Nana Kitade, dressed head to toe in Punk/Sweet Lolita, and she was that heroine that I drew constantly as a child – as were the other Lolita’s in the room.
This is where Lolita Fashion (and Japanese Street Style) became at the forefront of my mind. This was a fashion culture so unlike anything from the Western world, and was embodying the romantic, fairy tale, whimsical aesthetic I so desperately wanted to represent. From large border printed skirts, to themes from my favorite stories, this was the kind of “genre” I wanted my fashion story to be organized into.
But, as time went on, Lolita Fashion lost its sparkle for me. It is beautiful at a distance, and I still “ooh” and “aw” at my friends as they fluff their petticoats, but between the cost, not being able to wear it on a daily basis in my personal life (and various other reasons listed in this post) it just wasn’t for me anymore.
Such a realization was a hard pill to swallow though – as the elements that I adored about Lolita and Japanese Street Fashion was the palettes, the shape, and its ability to give me the feeling of being in my own 70’s shoujo manga or Disney film was so wonderful. Luckily, the fashion world somehow got the “ding” noise from above – and so many retailers (including non-online brands) have made a wish of mine, and many others, come true.
For example, Betsey Johnson (a company always known for standing out from the crowd) and Kate Spade, are now making bank on novelty shaped purses that were popular from company’s such as Angelic Pretty.
Both online and major brands are showcasing dresses and tops with delicate whimsical prints, and doing collabs with nostalgic properties that aren’t just t-shirts. Instagram accounts of popular brands are showing alternative fashion customers rocking their garments. It is the beginning of a fashion evolution I can get behind.
It is all a sign that a majority of the fashion world is finally hearing the cries of us who want to represent all of the elements that make up our personality. For me, that happens to include a lot of brightly colored nostalgia, in which helps me feel the empowerment of my childhood heroes. But that also means I want to wave my feminine nerd flag high, and not feel ashamed of what my interests are – even if they aren’t always the typical things shown in Vogue.
With the help with brands such as Kate Spade, Lazy Oaf, Her Universe, ModCloth, Eloquii, along with vintage reproduction retailers like Unique Vintage, this message of embracing our feminine media influences is coming true. It isn’t perfect (I’m looking at you, Target, with your kids only Museum of Ice Cream line), but with personalities like teamsparkle and other Instagram bloggers proving the demand of these kinds of products, I can fully showcase myself to the world in an somewhat “grown up” and empowered manner.
So, what do you all think? Are you feeling like more major fashion brands are making garments/items that help you feel the things you got out of Lolita Fashion and other style subcultures? Or do you feel that you still aren’t getting the kind of attention from major retailers that you want/give money to, in terms of your personal style?