Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A Brief History Of Lolita (and me)

Like I said a couple of days back I realised I've never written about why I wear Lolita.
Me circa 2015

I feel like everybody has different reasons for wearing Lolita, which is pretty cool, so here are mine.
Obviously the best place to start is at the beginning, and this is no exception. I first found Lolita via this Morbid Outlook article appearing in a google search for goth I made in 2005.
I was already interested in the goth subculture, and dressed in a sort of weird emo/ skater punk/ car crash of a teenage style at the time, but I never really thought I'd found my niche up until that point.

Me circa 2005

I found the article pretty interesting and I was curious so I changed up my search terms to "Gothic Lolita" and found... Well not very much really, back in 2005 there wasn't very much information on Lolita fashion online that was in English, but I found Avant Gauche, Neitherland, Blue Period, EGL and a bunch of sites that no longer exist and I can't remember the names of or I'd wayback machine link them.
I kind of fell in love with the haunted doll like look that Gothic Lolitas wore in 2005, at the time I wasn't interested in Sweet Lolita at all, and Classic and other styles were still emerging (although I recall there was something a lot of people talked about at the time called "Country Lolita" involving straw hats and gingham, which you don't really see any more, and I feel like it's been swallowed up by Sweet and Classic these days).

Believe it or not this was the least awkward photo I could find, must be around 2007 because I see my tattoo.

At the time I was just beginning to learn to sew, at first with a little help from my grandma, and then at college, followed by my university degree and finally getting some polish and learning historical techniques from Queenie at Forever in Black, but back then I couldn't even sew in a straight line, still I persevered and made, well sort of ok-ish beginner garments if you ignore my god awful use of colour (I didn't have a lot of money at the time so had to make do with what I could find in the "end of the roll bargain bin"). The cami I made from a pattern I got from a Gothic and Lolita Bible scan I found online, I have a random piece of that fabric in my stash to this day, it's a weird nylon blend, so burning it is not an option haha.

You know when you look back at a photo from ten years ago and scream WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHY?!?!?!

So as well as learning to sew I attempted to start up a Lolita wardrobe using only a local goth shop and second hand stuff bought from charity shops. I ended up with something close to exhibit D up there, which I suppose had the skirt been a bit longer wouldn't have been too horrific, but still I look back and cringe because this was before I met Queenie, who saved me from the horror of plastic boned "corsets" and when I look at that photo all I see if the one peeking out there.
At this point I was at college, and I could sew a little better, and I was even starting to get creative with patterns, but I still couldn't really afford very good fabrics as I had no money of my own and had to rely on pocket money, most of which got spent on college supplies so thrifting was the way to go for me at the time.

Gay Pride 2010, needs more poof but getting there

Once I got away to university I finally had money of my own for the first time in my life, although I didn't really have a lot of it, so I made a few purchases from Taobao, the first thing I bought was this Rose Melody dress, and while there are a few things that still needed work, this is probably the first photo of myself I look at and think looks recognisably Lolita. and actually the funny thing is it's not really gothic, it's actually way more classic, so I had already started to experiment with different styles.
Around this time I also started blogging, and my sewing skills were a lot better so I started making a few pieces here and there.

I'm probably most proud of the bonnet I made

I also became friends with Queenie who helped expand my sewing repertoire and helped me to learn how historical patterning works, and more recently started to teach me to make corsets.
As my confidence started to grow I started to make more of my own lolita and buying less (although I do like to pick up the occasional super pretty piece here and there).
During my time wearing Lolita, I have made some awesome friends, and unfortunately lost a few people who I considered friends but who were not, I have grown up, learned to sew, thankfully learned how the colour wheel works haha, appeared on television twice and was involved in a make over show that sadly never aired, been in a music video in lolita and have modelled in countless photoshoots and the important thing...

I have had fun, and I am still having fun, so I don't plan on sopping any time soon :)

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