Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Can you be a thrift store/ charity shop and D-I-Y Lolita and still be a "real" Lolita? A Lolita brand-analysis and debate.

A Lolita brand-analysis and debate.

Is it possible to be a Lolita, while only wearing items found at thrift stores/ charity shops and items that you have made yourself?
Is it possible to be a "real" Lolita without ever owning brand?
These questions are well worth thinking about!

What defines a "real" Lolita?

I love brand. 
Without Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Moi-même-Moitié and Angelic Pretty - Lolita had never been an alternative fashion style of the magnitude it is today.

These brands have had fashion shows, beautiful photo-shoots with wonderful models, they have had fan-contests, give-aways, tea-partys - all in the name of promoting Lolita. 

Aoki Misako, model for Btssb, Kera and the Gothic Lolita Bible, even became the ambassador of cuteness, to promote Lolita fashion and Kawaii to the rest of the world!

 The Lolita brands made it happen, they put the fashion world in spin.
They promoted their idea of fashion and made it accessible to us, Lolitas' outside of Japan.

Without brands, you could surely say, that you would probably never have dressed in Lolita.

So, in order to be a "real" Lolita - do you have to own brand items?

I would, even after my brand-loving introduction, still want to argue for "NO".

Yes, the Lolita-concept as an alternative fashion is promoted by brands and is dependant on brands to thrive. Brands dictate the rules, changing them with tiny steps, renewing and redefining Lolita - often unremarkably - as the seasons pass, in order to create new, beautiful products that we are willing to pay the price for.

Btssb A/W 2011 (c) Macarontea

I am forever thankful to the creative think-tanks in the brands design-teams, for creating such awestriking items. 

Yet, I feel as though this fashion should not only be for those who have grand monthly salaries or for those who have parents that are willing to pay 600 USD for a coord. That would be limiting the fashion, and it would back-lash upon the brands and the brand-loving-Lolita communities as well.

In order for Lolita to continue to exist, it must be more accessible! The fact that you nowadays can order brand online overseas (compared to a couple of years ago when you had to fly to Japan to get your dream items), is not the same as accessibility - because a lot of Lolita-lovers can't even afford to pay the import taxes of a brand dress!

To exclude Lolitas' that don't buy brand is pure Elitism
You should be honest to yourself and others if you consider the following: 

> A "real" Lolita always wear expensive "brand"-items <

If you agree with this statement, You are, by definition, an Elitist. 

You could even be a Lolita with no money to buy brand, and still you confine to the Lolita-brand-Elitism. You perhaps always feel inferior 'cause you are not wearing the "dream-items" from the latest EGL brand-update... You are a "Wanna-be". An elitist-groupie, that upholds the hierarchy and elitist movement "That only a "real" Lolita can afford Lolita brand".

Even if you argue that you should buy brand second-hand, if you're budget doesn't cover a new coord - this doesn't finance or support brands directly (maybe indirectly, because the seller will perhaps buy a new brand dress for the money). But it is still not financing the brand per se - thus buying brand second-hand is just the same as buying from indie-brands or making the outfits yourself.

To not accept creative D-I-Y minds, think-tanks of the home-sewing machine, teams of inspiring Lolitas', dreaming of uniquely printed JSKs, would really limit Lolita in a bad way!

Lolita is an alternative fashion style with a rather strict "uniform"/silhouette, but I want to argue that you do not require to buy brand to cohere to it.

The runes say "Odin, Sleipner, Lolita" ^^

And ask yourself - What do you really mean with "brand"?

What counts as a Lolita-brand for you?
Do you draw the line by defining it by country of origin - as a brand founded in Japan?
Do you define it by time - as being one of the founders of Lolita in the 1980s-90s?
Or do you define it by price tag?

However you choose to define it, it will still be a slippery-slope definition, and you will probably have to redefine your thoughts as years pass.

Because the fact is, Lolita is a-changing :) As long as Lolita stayed in Japan, it was an easier task to contain it. But as Lolita becomes more global, it is filtered through the fashion of the continents, through culture (and religion!). It is blending into mainstream fashion, merging with other alternative styles and forever living and thriving on the fantasy and creativity of the styles' wearer.
Lolita is dead. Long live Lolita!

Yes, you can very well still be Lolita, even though your entire wardrobe consists of hand-made items or up-cycled thrift store dresses.

Yes, you never have to own a single "brand" item to be Lolita, you do not even have to have it as a goal.

You can honour the founders of the style by purchasing their coords, but even if you do have the money to spend - Lolita is first and foremost a certain air of style, not a price tag. It's the idea of the perfect Victorian doll with a big scoop of Kawaii :) A state of mind that can't be bought by bucks!!!

Quality, however, can be bought by bucks :) And the brands do up-hold a certain quality (compared to knock-offs), but truth-be-told - if you want REAL quality - aka exclusive materials such as pure silk, real leather, hand embroidery - you have to buy from indie-brand, thrift vintage or D-I-Y... 

Hope you enjoyed this post (:
Please keep the discussion alive in the comments field!
Are you an elitist? Or just a wanna-be? ;)
Or are you a creative free-ranging Lolita?

Hugz /Mary

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