... My start into lolita fashion.
from strangers to friends
Meeting Kanon was probably the highlight for me, one summer at London Anime Con. It was the second time for me guesting at a UK event and the first time for me performing. I was nervous, I had to give a panel talk about cosplay, and I was - all in all - not really there.
For July it was incredibly cold, as it always is in London, and I had just finished my drama school audition, trembling between fear and hope. After I finished my panel I went off-stage, to be greeted by a beatiful girl with blonde hair and a frilly outfit. I knew what Lolita was, roughly, back then. I was happily browsing japanese fashion blogs every night, trying to incorporate it into my daily style, which - to be brutally honest - isn't really doable with the only shops in reach being chain brands, and not owning a paypal account or credit card.
And it wasn't until that summer, that I began to save up on money and courage to start what I began to dream of.
Kanon in her beautiful Sweet Jewelry JSK
Her blog is: "Kanon's Sweet Wonderland"
Me, back in 2013
bodyline and the replica disaster
A few weeks later, back in Germany, I found myself on the way to customs, where I paid a massive amount for my first two bodyline dresses, which I sold later on in my lolita life. Overall, these were the first two pieces, that found a home on a clothing rack in my old bedroom, and later moved to London with me. Though they were probably two of the three most embarassing pieces I had owned in my life, back then I was incredibly proud of them.
While I struggled at my first weeks in college, keeping up with everyones native English levels while juggling with part time jobs, coursework and a choleric landlady, Kanon was the number one on giving me advice. While we both cheered on each another I began to follow more well-known lolitas on social media, trying to gather the courage to wear it out in public.
Back then, my wardrobe consisted of all black leggins and all black t-shirts, black trainers and black hairbands for my dyed black hair. Except for the hair, all drama college rules. I couldn't really go out with what I wanted to wear most of the time. Working night shifts at stores, I was happy with anything that would keep me warm during autumn and winter, and having a day off or two, I was trying to keep my blog and YouTube alive. Which was quite difficult, given that I only had internet for about an hour or two a day, hence my landlady not really caring for the people she shared a house with.
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After that, I had a huge fall-out with the lolita community.
And it took me a while to get back into it.
A long while. But I took my time, browsing through other peoples blogs, trying to find inspirations in it, while adding a lot more lighter colors to my weekend wardrobe. I finally gave away some of my SaiSai pieces to a friend last winter, before I moved to Japan.
To be entirely fair, I have never been a big fan of bright neon colors, wearing tights with holes or security pins as bag decorations. I was never a jeans-and-band-shirt type of person, and I can count the amount of times I went out without my hair being arranged and make-up put on on one hand.
There are some trends all teenagers follow, though they might not want to be part of it, it is the pressure and the fitting-in, that makes up think we have to be that way, we have to dress that way, we have to be plain and simple. Growing up in a conservative town didn't help getting out of that circle. But there is a moment, that everyone experiences, just after graduating from school or college or maybe university, where you question everything you are, your goals and - just as important - your wardrobe.
Be it those who are going to renew from denim to business, or those trading trainers and miniskirts against work uniforms and shoes. My friend who became a nurse after graduating threw out all of her old wardrobe, when moving out of her parents house. She left with a small suitcase and a handbag and never looked back. Ever since I saw her during that process, I kept thinking about how much I always took with me. About the amount of clothes I never wore, the ones I kept for the memories, the prom dress I might need again, the impulse-buy pair of shoes, that never matched with anything.
To be honest, I still own that kind of clothing. It has a much shorter live by now, and the last time I moved I threw out a huge pile of clothes I kept taking with me, when there was no need for them at all.
There are still items I hang on to, but there are some I had to let go off to make space for new ones.
Selling and trading was - as I discovered last autumn - the biggest salvation in my lolita life. Not only could I afford pieces that I saw on my first trip to Japan, no, I could afford more than one.
While moving to Tokyo put a big hole in my wallet and a even bigger one in my bank account, I downsized massively.
Or so I thought.
At KERA x Innocent World
Shopping in Japan
Now I know that bright red isn't for autumn, and that a red cape with white fur will make me look like Santa Claus.
Looking at it now makes it a massive collection, but looking at the amount of 'normal' clothing that I skipped and let go of, it looks tiny to me. The last time I moved I could fit all of my dresses into one suitcase, when I moved to Japan I needed three big ones for all my clothing, some of it being sent my airmail. I gave away some petticoats to art students, handed some things down to Closetchild, and invested into a storage unit down the road. That way, some items would always be in reach, but not block out the tiny wardrobe I had to cope with from that day onwards.
On my first trip to Japan - that was a business trip - I got to model for Innocent World x KERA, and the pictures of that later got printed in the KERA magazine, that I adored (15/1). It was the second time for me modelling for a lolita brand, first time being summer 2014 at Hyper Japan in London, where I was one of many foreign models showing off Putumayo's new collection.
This time, I wasn't just one of many, I was the one who got invited to fly to Japan and join a show at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, walking down the runway with Yura, Anna Yano and later on: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
My wardrobe changed massively after that trip, and I am really glad it did. I had saved up some money, got a few brand items and took a lot of energy and new ideas back to England. I moved to Japan two months later.
the bigger wardrobe
I used to keep all my dresses on a clothing rack in my old apartment, but sunlight and dust where hard to fight, so I decided to invest in an actual wardrobe this time. It's spacy and it fits all my dresses.
By now, my life is rotating around my work, which gives me the opportunity to wear Lolita Fashion out pretty much every day. A lot of new people I encountered online suggested that it would take the fun out of it, to wear them so much, but for me it has been really helpful and I have to admit that spending more time in it had given me the opportunity to be more creative with what I wear and how I wear it.
And while my life started turning more and more lolita, I began to feel better about it.
Now, I can wear it out in public, now I can be brave with colors, accessoires, oddly shaped bags.
I don't care about not fitting in anymore, given that I am a foreigner, having blonde hair and generally being really tall, I am getting stared at anyways. Compared to the west, it's a much friendlier stare, people ask for pictures, are interesed in the clothes I wear, and whenever I run into someone on my way to Closetchild on a lazy weekday evening, I get greeted with a smile - and I am not talking about the shop staff!
Filling the new wardrobe seems more like a journey than a desperate try to make things match and work for a season it's not designed for. I buy pieces that I can see in a store, not over someones sales post, and though I still have that passion for buying second hand, I can now go to the actual store to look and buy newly released items. It is a journey with the way being the goal, and I know it is never going to be perfect, but I like it that way.
last but not least
Thank you for reading through this massive post, and see you soon!