Lolita Content Collective: Fighting the Lightness of Lolita Web Content

Over the past couple days, I’ve been talking with a couple people in the lolita community about the lightness of content available related to lolita lately. Between the thought provoking article “The Fluff of Blog: Where Did The Real Conversations Go? ” on Fashadore.me, the conversations I’ve had lately, and purestmaiden’s post “Content Collective: Let’s Get Back to Talking About Lolita“, I’ve really come to realize that it’s not just me. A handful of the lolita I most admire for their knowledge and wit all seemed to express the same thought; the content available right now is fairly light.

What do I mean by light? Well, for example, I moderate rufflechat, a lolita discussion group on Facebook. A typical post on rufflechat is 1-5 sentences long, and can be answered with a reply of 3-5 sentences. Compare that to EGL where discussion posts could be a full page, and frequently were.

Where lolita used to write blogs that were very verbose, now people have tumblrs or facebooks full of photos with very few words. Or, they have blogs or vlogs where they basically just put forwards their coordinate snaps and other photo-based content.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that type of content. I think it has it’s place, and I really enjoy looking at beautiful coordinates and beautiful people. But I also think that there is an intellectual side to lolita as a subculture which seems to be dying out a little. I miss long form debate and discussion about lolita.

I think a few things have fueled this change. First of all, the web has changed significantly. Smartphones keep people constantly connected, and social media is the perfect way to express thoughts and feelings in real time while on the go. The ubiquitousness of cellphone cameras also means that everyone who has a smartphone has a camera in their pocket 24/7. The days of needing to remember to bring a camera, then bring it home, capture the photos, edit them, up load them, and then write html or bbcode to insert them into a post somewhere are long gone. This means that photo content has gone from requiring more time than written content to requiring almost no time at all. It’s faster to take and post a selfie than to write a two sentence facebook post.

Lolita fashion has always had a bit of an infatuation with idol culture. Being a famous lolita has always been a symbol of success to some people. I feel like the rise of the selfie culture has exacerbated this, pressuring people who may not have otherwise felt the need to engage in the popularity race to create light content frequently. Because the platforms that enable “selfie culture” are all about fast content that expires quickly, one has to create a lot of content in a very short time period to stay relevant. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating a lot of visual content, I do think that when it becomes almost compulsive like it has for many lolita, it stops being fun and starts to be a time drain and a source of stress. When your whole interaction with the fashion is based around creating new looks that are “the best” every week, you get into a cycle of buying and selling and photographing that isn’t really conductive to really just stopping and taking the time to examine things on a deeper level. It’s a totally different pacing.

Another thing which may have fueled this change is the ease of acquiring information and the rise in the number of people who are digital natives. Many lolita brands ship world wide, and for those who don’t there are shopping services now, which are legitimate shopping cart system wielding websites. It’s quick and easy to translate a site using google translate. Setting up an indie brand shop via etsy is quick and easy (on the tech side, at least).

You really don’t need nearly as much guidance and hand holding to become a lolita today as you did ten years ago.

Because it’s so easy to acquire information, or even survive without acquiring it, there isn’t nearly as much need for a support community. On top of that, the number of people interested in lolita fashion outside of Japan has grown exponentially, meaning that even without a central western online community, most lolita aren’t alone. There are large local communities around the world, and social media connects Lolita in a way that LiveJournal never really did.

So what does this all mean? Deeper content which used to be produced as the default, now takes a little more conscious effort, while lighter content which used to take more conscious effort is now easier to create. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.

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That said, I’m going to be joining PurestMaiden’s Content Collective. Here is my personal content pledge:

  • At least 80% of my posts, in homage to the old EGL rule, should either encourage some kind of discussion, or provide some kind of new information to the community.
    I’m not personally prone to posting a lot of haul or coordinate posts as it is. Mostly because I take terrible photos of myself, so this is pretty easy for me.
  • I will post at least Bi-Monthly, with a total of at least 25 posts this year.
    I know myself really well. I have times where I can knock out three posts in a week, and I have times where I sleep for a whole month. I have very low blood pressure, and I get tired quicker than normal people. Because of this, it really depends a lot on what is going on in my real life. It also puts me in the awkward position where right after I go to an event (when I would write about it), I’m usually at my lowest point. Conventions take a LOT out of me. So, that said, I’m aiming to produce the equivalent of a post every 2-weeks, but I’m acknowledging that I may only post once in a two month span at some points in the year.
  • My posts containing written content will be at least 500 words long.
    I installed a plug in that counts words, and apparently, I average 711 words in my published posts already, so this should be pretty do-able.
  • I will post at least one regular post for every new item post I post.
    I love making posts about upcoming brand items, and I’m not going to stop doing that (when I buy kera; I don’t always. Lately, I’ve had some issues with Amazon Japan not delivering), but I don’t want that to become all that I write!

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Lolita 45 Questions, A Decade Late

This is a questionnaire that was passed around on EGL back in the summer of 2005, 10.5 years ago. You can see the original post here: LOLITA 50 QUESTION, the answers, and an on-going community of answers that was last posted to in 2013.

I though it might be interesting to revive it and answer it a decade later.

  1. Please tell us your Hand Name (name that’s used ONLY in internet.) and hometown.
    “Handname” or “Handle” are both dated terms for “screen name” or username. In this case, my screen name is Raine Dragon (though I sometimes use rainedragon on systems that don’t permit spaces). I live in Maryland, USA. I would note that no-one should ever post their hometown / town they were born in on the internet as it’s often used as a password recovery question these days.
  1. About how long is your history as a Lolita?
    I’ve been a lolita since 2008/2009-ish, so ~ 7-ish years? I’m always bad at this.
  2. What first motivated you to do Lolita fashion?
    I became interested in lolita fashion through pixel art. I was asked to create some online paperdoll clothing for a website I was working with in the lolita style. I had a couple online friends who where lolita as well.
  1. After knowing Lolita fashion, have you had any time-gap or resistance till you actually started to be Lolita?
    Yes. I saw advertisements for lolita and kamekazi girls in manga magazines for a few years before I became interested in the style myself.
  1. Please define your Lolita style as much as possible. (eg. gothic Lolita, sweet Lolita, white Lolita…. Etc).
    Ok, so the options here are Gothic, Sweet or Shiro (white). I wear sweet and classic, personally. With a little bit of punk and decololi.
  1. About how many Lolita friends do you have?
    Back in the day, I’m sure these were manageable numbers! In fact, the few answers I looked at from 2005 were all lone lolita, or only had one or two lolita friends. I can’t imagine what they would have thought about how many lolita there are today. I can safely say I have dozens of lolita friends around the world, and my local community has a few hundred lolita in it!
  1. What is the best thing about doing Lolita?
    I so want to edit this question to “wearing”. But anyways, this ties back to the previous question; I love how many amazing people I’ve met through lolita.
  1. Conversely, what’s the worst thing?
    Probably the drama / hate. I don’t like it when people are mean to each other.
  1. Which Lolita Brands do you like?
    Angelic Pretty and Innocent World are my favorite two.
  1. What was the first Lolita item that you’ve owned?
    My first lolita items were from bodyline. Their bunny pockets set in sax, and a sax candy print skirt.
    Bodyline Candy Skirt Bodyline Bunny Set
  1. What is the “must have!” Lolita item?
    A good petticoat. Everything else is really felixible, but a good petticoat can make or break things, IMHO.
  1. Do you wear drawers?
    She means bloomers, and yes I do.
  1. Do you have any favorite Japanese music?
    Lolita fashion used to be more tightly interwoven with other aspects of Japanese pop culture than I think it is today, especially the music scene. I don’t really listen to much Japanese music.
  1. Where do you particularly visit as Lolita?
    I wear lolita to conventions, and meetups. Outside of that, sometimes I wear lolita around the house, shopping, or to restaurants.
  1. About how many times per week do you dress as Lolita?
    Less than once a week ;___;
  1. Please tell us about one embarrassing episode from the time when you were
    just beginning Lolita.
    The worst thing I can think of is that I almost bought from Milanoo.
  1. What’s hairstyle and color that you think Lolita would suite the most?
    Ouch. This question is brutal, and would never be written like this today! It would instead ask “what is your favorite hair style to wear with lolita”. That said, I’ll bite. I think the ideal hair style and color for lolita is… whatever looks best on the lolita wearing it! (I can’t do it! I can’t say “Hime cut is the only way” or “You must be blonde and curly”! XD) Longer hair with some wave or curls and natural colors are my personal preferences though.
  1. Have you ever thought of stopping Lolita? The reason?
    Yes. It’s expensive and sometimes I think about it and try to decide if I should just sell everything and invest the money or something that is a little more responsible. I don’t know. I can afford it, but at the same time, sometimes I get nervous about things.
  1. Please tell us your heart’s bible as a Lolita. (anything like a book, magazine, CD, idol…)
    The book “A Little Princess”. I try to conduct myself like Sarah, with a heart open to wonder, and kindness in the face of adversity.
  1. Do you own a doll? Tell us your feelings about her intensely!
    I INTENSELY DO NOT OWN A DOLL. I do have little cats. THEY ARE INTENSELY CUTE
    Mia 2014-11-21_12.52.57

 

  1. What kind of make-up do you wear when you wear Lolita clothes?
    I’m really bad at make up. I tend to wear office lady make up + more blush + more eyelashes with some glitter sometimes.
  1. Have you ever secretly changed clothes in a train station bathroom on Lolita day-out?
    No, no I have not. XD I have changed in the office bathroom after work though.
  1. Are you composed when doing Lolita all by yourself?
    Wearing lolita by myself in public doesn’t typically bother me. I only feel uncomfortable when people are actively being rude or disruptive to me.
  1. How much do you spend in your Lolita clothes & accessories monthly?
    I probably spent, on average, $200 per month, last year. However, I also sold a bunch of things.
  1. What is the most expensive Lolita thing you’ve bought so far? How much was it?
    Angelic Pretty’s Star Night Theater Bare JSK in Blue. It was new with tags, and had the choker and hip bows included. It cost me about ~$750 USDap_2009_jsk_starnighttheaterbare_color
  1. So far about how much has the expense been for Lolita goods?
    I really don’t want to think about it. I could probably buy a car.
  1. Lolita outfit really costs money. How do you raise money to cover the cost of
    Lolita?
    I have a job. I am a grownup. It is sad.
  1. Have you ever bought from an online store? If so, please tell us its good
    and bad points and some advice for the future. If not, please tell us why not.
    This question is so dated! XD Yes, I’ve bought from lots of online stores, it’s quite common now days. I buy from AP, IW, Putumayo, Baby, Meta, Closet Child, Kera Shop, F.i.n.t. and others
  1. Even if you sort of want to keep it a secret, please clandestinely tell us
    about a private manufacturer that is the best.
    Hmmm, I guess my “best kept secrets” would be Wistcuffs from Belladonna, underskirts from Little Dipper, and headdresses from Sweet Mildred.
  1. Is there a brand and/or an item that you think, “I could never get it! But I unreasonably want it!”?
    Le Premire Cri De Prophet from JetJ. It won’t fit me, so I’d have to have it majorly altered and it’s worth so much / so expensive that I can’t justify it.
  1. What do you think about people who only do Lolita at music-lives or cosplay?
    Oh, wow, this is really dated too. So it’s kinda a “what do you think about lolita who only wear it at conventions” type of question. Only, back in the day, like I said above, lolita was tied more to the music scene than it is today (at least it’s not so tightly tied in the west anymore), so this question made more sense.That said, personally, I don’t think poorly of people who only wear lolita at conventions. I think there is certainly a “type” of person who cosplays as a lolita at conventions, and they tend to have a bag costume type lolita dress, which they wear as a costume. I probably would just ignore that sort of person. They aren’t “real” lolita, and they typically don’t really care about wearing the fashion as a fashion.Lolita who are actual lolita and only wear it at conventions I’m not going to judge either because being a grown up can be time consuming. XD
  1. From what age to what age is it acceptable to do Lolita? Do you think that there’s a state in which someone must graduate from Lolita? (you can answer as ‘never graduate’)
    Graduating is a term used by Japanese idols in girls music groups when they are too old to continue in their position. They “graduate” and another girl takes their place. It’s used outside of girl-bands too, really it’s just a term for “retiring”.

    That said, I do not think there are any age restrictions on lolita. Wear it at any age you would like!
  1. Is there a Lolita fashion or behavior that you think “I don’t want Lolitas to do this!” about?
    Yes. It makes me sad when lolita support groups like Anime Matsuri which take advantage of lolita. It makes me sad when lolita support replica makers. It makes me sad when lolita are rude to strangers, especially children and old people who are curious but not being rude to the lolita. It also makes me sad when lolita are cruel to each other purposefully.
  2. Is there something you think “Lolita has to be this way!” about?
    Absolutely no pants! In all seriousness, no, not really. You need to get enough of the basics correct for it to be “lolita”, but there is always room for bending the rules on any one point or another
  1. While doing Lolita, has something changed from earlier than you did Lolita?
    I think this is supposed to say “Has the way you wear lolita changed over the years?”. In which case, I can say yes. I don’t wear twin tails, and I wear a lot more boleros.
  1. Do you go to school/work as Lolita?
    Only on Halloween.
  1. Do you wear Lolita clothes as casual wear?
    Sometimes. Getting dressed up is a lot of work!
  1. Do you have a boyfriend (or husband)? Do you understand each other? (I think she meant “Does he understand you (as lolita)?”)
    I’m dating another lolita. It makes life easy. 😛
  1. What do the people around you think of your doing Lolita? Do they accept it?
    My grandmother enjoys it, and one of my coworkers does as well. Everyone else seems to either tolerate it or have no real opinion (or they don’t know).
  1. What kind of Lolita is who has impressed you the most up until now?
    I have so many lolita idols. *w* I love Caro-chan’s blog, as a lolita blogger!
  1. Have you ever made your own Lolita clothing or/and accessories? If so, what was the best item that you’ve made?
    I’ve made rosettes, rings, crowns, headbands and other small accessories. I think my favorite was my black clock hand and rose crown.

    tumblr_mr5x6dVxMJ1s9hxveo4_1280

  1. If you have an ideal Lolita outfit or coordination, please tell us.
    I don’t, really. I like seeing the diversity and creativity in lolita, so I don’t really have one set idea of what the best coordinate would be.
  1. Is there a motif that you think “this is a symbol of Lolita”?
    Crowns and royal crests, I think, remind me of lolita the most these days. Though those twirling marshmallow candies are really iconic to lolita too!
  1. Would you want to dress your children as Lolita?
    I don’t intend to ever have children. I have kittens, and I have put clothing on them, but they seem to prefer sweaters to dresses and/or hats.
  1. What’s your image of the ideal Lolita?
    That’s hard, probably something like this?
    iw

Review: Sammy Dress [Negative!]

So, first things first. Sammy Dress uses a milanoo like template. I had a bad feeling about this even though I didn’t see negative reviews (there are many now), so I decided to write down everything the night I ordered (December 13th, 2015).

I ordered

1448824804999-P-3528137

Vintage Round Collar Sleeveless Butterflies Print Ball Gown Dress For Women

7.99 (limited time offer), normally $26.17 (69% off)

http://www.sammydress.com/product2323434.html

When I used a discount code I found online, this changed to $9-something, but it made my overall total less because the other dress discounted, so c’est la vie.

Style: Vintage
Material: Polyester
Silhouette : Ball Gown
Dresses Length: Mini
Neckline: Round Collar
Sleeve Length: Sleeveless
Pattern Type: Animal
With Belt: No
Season: Summer
Weight: 0.47KG
Package Contents: 1 x Dress

 

Size XL:  bust/waist/length/ shoulder

XL 39.37 31.50 33.86 13.78

1438968837354-P-2926529 1438968837071-P-2926529

Vintage Plunging Neck 3/4 Sleeve Polka Dot Prom Dress For Women

http://www.sammydress.com/product1858339.html

$7.54 (retail $21.43)

Product Note:
Accessories: Without Bracelet And Necklace
Style: Vintage
Material: Polyester
Silhouette : A-Line
Dresses Length: Mini
Neckline: Plunging Neck
Sleeve Length: 3/4 Length Sleeves
Pattern Type: Polka Dot
With Belt: No
Season: Fall, Spring
Weight: 0.32KG
Package Contents: 1 x Dress
XL 37.01 33.86 42.52 44.09 24.80

Bust/waist/hips/length/sleeve length

It had a positive review from someone 5’4″, 160lbs. 36D
I’m 3’5.5″, 145lbs, 34E

total with 12% off was ~$14, + ~$9 for shipping and a few bucks for insurance and tracking, so my total was $27.47.

And here is what I got:

20160111_18291420160111_183011

That’s a normal 12″ ruler. As soon  as I saw how small the package was, my heart sank a little. I know approximately how big the package with these two dresses should be, and this is a bit small.

20160111_184534

If you have a good eye for material, you may have noticed this is a totally different fabric.The original is opaque royal blue fabric with some stretch to it.

This is a sheer net-like fabric that is rough and scratchy. It stinks of chemicals so badly that I got a headache just handling it. It’s partially lined.

The 3/4 sleeves are comically tube-like, and are full length.

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As you can see, it’s sewn in white thread, and it’s not sewn well.

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There is something white all over the dress.
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I should note that the dress is too large on me, and yet there were already holes in the armpit and anywhere the fabric isn’t baggy, the stitching shows because of the thin, mesh-like fabric.

Verdict: Stolen stock photo of a higher end item. The product is a counterfeit knockoff version.

20160111_184607

This dress is made of a super thin material. It’s very strange for a dress. Feels more like a lining material or a costume material. The dress is cut awkwardly, so it gaps a ton at the arm holes above the bust. It looks and feels like a cheap bag costume. The butterfly print is blurry, and the back of the skirt has no butterflies. They just stop, getting cut off awkwardly at the side seam.

Verdict: Unclear. Either very photo-shopped or a stolen stock photo of a higher end item. 

At the end of the day, I would NOT recommend sammydress.