Lolita Blog Carnival : My Favorite Indie Brand(s)

This weeks lolita blog carnival topic is “Your favorite Indie Brand”, but I’m going to be honest here; I know so many indie artist that I really can’t just pick one, so I’m going to feature a handful of my favorite indie brands (and this is not at all an exhaustive list!) and what I like about each one. Ready? Ok, let’s go!

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Belladonna

Belladonna is owned by my significant other, Michelle, and her best friend Rachel. Michelle does the print designs and dyes the lace, and they both do dress designing, sewing, etc. I help them out sometimes with convention booths, stock photography, etc.

Best points: Their wrist cuffs are made nicer than the brand ones I’ve bought. The bows look really nice, the elastic is cased and the lace is soft. I’m more likely to wear a bunch of deco bracelets than wristcuffs personally, but when I do wear wristcuffs, I go for belladonna ones. I’ve been disappointed with every brand pair I’ve bought since I got my first pair from them. Their custom print dresses have great themes as well, and they make a point to offer colorways that work for a variety of people. They are sticklers when it comes to lace and material quality as well (I’ve watched Michelle take a fabric sample and try to destroy it to test if a fabric is going to hold up well to wear, including trying to tempt our cats into scratching it).

Black Friday Specials: Free shipping for the first 15 orders + discounts on a bunch of items

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Sweet Mildred

Sweet Mildred is another local designer, and she’s probably the indie brand that I have purchased the most from over the years; mostly headdresses, and the occasional piece of Jewelry. I have a whole book shelf that is just headdresses I’ve bought from her, and it’s full now so they are spilling onto other shelves and any place safe I can tuck them.

Best points: Her headpieces are wonderful, and she makes things that will match pretty much anything from sweet to classic to Gothic. They are versatile, well made and make quite an impact. Her accessories often include delightfully quirky things (I’m in love with these angry conversational heart rings I got from her that say things like “not sorry”), that make great conversational or statement pieces for any coordinate. She also makes a lot of dresses in all sorts of interesting fabric prints. If you want something to make a coordinate pop, or you want a piece with a lot of visual interest, check out Sweet Mildred.

Small Business Saturday Specials: 30% off all items + lucky packs

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Haenuli Haenuli Haenuli

Haenuli

Haenuli is a brand from Korea. They primarily produce custom print garments, though they also make some accessories (usually to coordinate with a specific piece). The main designer who goes by the nickname NuNu also draws a really cute slice of life as a designer comic strip which is posted to their facebook page.

Best points: Haenuli’s dresses often come in a lot of colors, and they offer a lot of sizing options. They also offer print tights in multiple sizes. The pieces I own and have handles are really solidly constructed, and the material choices are good. Their prints are intricate and interesting, and even when the motifs are popular motifs, the overall look and tone of the artwork is unique. They also have a lot of creative and interesting dress designs.

Black Friday Specials: 10% discount with code: HNL10persale 

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Moss Marchen Moss Marchen Moss Marchen

Moss Marchen

Moss Marchen is another local brand. The designer Martha creates accessories which trend towards gothic lolita and mori styles.

Best points: Moss Marchen has really great ribbon embroidery pieces, which are surprisingly cheap considering the time commitment required for making them.  The long-style necklaces she makes are also very nice and visually well balanced. The designer has a good eye and a skilled hand. They are made of good materials, and very reasonable in price for the high level of quality. As a bonus, her floral corsages are really nice and a great alternative to buying a corsage from a major Japanese brand like Pink House where they will cost you significantly more if you can even find one.

Unfortunately, this brand frequently sells out and is often not available for sale online. At the time of writing, the online shop is currently closed. It’s best to try to catch Moss Marchen at an event.

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Peppermint Fox Peppermint Fox Peppermint Fox

Peppermint Fox

Peppermint Fox is based out of Australia and is a team of two. Their brand trends towards otome style, and features lots of beautiful water-color-styled artwork. If you were a fan of beatrix potter as a child (or even now) you are sure to find Peppermint Fox delightful.

Best points: Their tiny companion series of pins. Each pin features an animal illustration, and each one has a name and a short back story. The stories are touching, and the expressions and clothing choices of each little animal backs up their story and personality. They make great gifts too, because you can easily match up a person you know with a sweet little personality.

Black Friday Specials: N/A, but there is a general sale going on at the moment.

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I Do Declare I Do Declare I Do Declare

I Do Declare

I Do Declare is a US based brand run by designer Kelsey. While most lolita has a strong Victorian influence, I Do Declare goes back farther in time and draws influence from the European middle ages, and older.

Best points: Technical sewing craftsmanship and detail work. The pieces made by the designer directly have intricate, high level technical details like lace inserts, traditional applique, bead work, etc. In the image spread above the white lace is a close up of a lace and bead work insert the designer put inside of the back of a white gown that gave the illusion of being able to see the wearer’s spine. The manufactured garments produced from her work also have a high level of technical detail, which show off the designer’s skill and vision. It’s a pleasure to look at her work, and the quality is absolutely stellar.

Black Friday Specials: Pre-orders for the wool witch hat shown above open at 8:00PM EST.

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voodooodolly VooDooDolly VooDoooDolly

VooDoooDolly

VooDoooDolly sells mostly jewelry and hats. The designer Mallory sculpts, molds and hand casts her jewelry, going as far as to use vintage metal sources in some of the pieces to add additional meaning. While fashion in general is an art-form, I would argue that many of her pieces are really more of tiny pieces of wearable sculpture. If you wear Gothic Lolita, and you don’t own some of her work, you are really missing out. I don’t know how to put it into words properly, but looking at her work feeds a starving part of the soul that longs to live lost in an art gallery full of masterworks. It eats at me that I can’t do her work justice, because it is so beautiful.

Best points:  The hand cast jewelry and elaborate hats. The jewelry which is interesting and powerful is really, really high quality and a steal at the prices she sells it for. Her hats are all unique, elaborate and detailed.

Black Friday Specials: I don’t know of any, but she doesn’t need one; she’s already selling things terribly cheap for what you are actually getting.

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545430_945698161629_573562109_nOther blogs participating in this theme:
Art du noirCupcake Kamisama’s Lolita World

Lolita Blog Carnival: Changes That I Will Make For My Wardrobe In The New Year

So, I’m actually a bit late on this one, but it’s a great Lolita Blog Carnival topic and so I thought I’d go back and write something even though I missed the deadline.

Pink HouseMy wardrobe has changed a bit over the past year, and I forsee it changing more over the next year. For starters, I’ve become more and more enchanted by Pink House, and I’ve started collecting some pieces from them. I’ve been collecting things that are red x white, and with bears or berries as the theme, as well as a little blue x red, and some florals. And one olive skirt that works with the greens in some of my pieces. It’s very light weight and comfortable, but I can still layer a lot up in the winter and not be cold. Pretty win-win.

I’m turning 30 this year, and while I still love lolita and don’t plan on leaving any time soon, I’ve found that I just don’t have the stamina for wearing it that I used to. Maybe it’s how OTT everything has gotten, or maybe it’s just that I’ve been attracted to heavier, more constricting pieces. Either way, I get tired, and I’m looking forward to wearing Pink House and more simple lolita pieces at events when lolita is just too much.

154802-s-03-dlAs for my lolita wardrobe, I’ve continued to sell off a lot of my pink and sax stuff, and I see myself continuing to do that over the next year. Also, I think I likely will let go of a lot of stuff that I don’t wear as frequently, and really start to pare things down to pieces I absolutely love. I’d also like to spend more money on “super basics”, and less on new pieces. “Super Basics”, to me, are basics that are very nice, and would take an outfit from “ok” to “really good”. They are those basics that cost a little more and often get overlooked because there is a cheaper option, that is almost as good. For example, I have a black x off white bolero I got from an IW lucky pack. Perfectly good, servicable bolero. But what I really need is a black x black lace fancy one. I have some offbrand navy heels, but I’d rather upgrade them to brand of VW. Little things like that. Blouses, brand underskirts, better shoes.

I also am going to continue to avoid buying lucky packs and oddment packs from IW and other “great deals”, because I tend to sell pretty much everything. It’s not a great deal when I have to do a lot of work.

Not so much a wardrobe goal, as a closet goal, but I’d like to get organized this next year. I have materials bought to make a giant frame to turn into a jewelry organizer and stuff to make paper-towel headbow organizers, and lots of decorative boxes. I want to get my closet into a tidy, organized state, so I can find thing easily.

I’d like to also get back into downsizing my closet. I want to get back to a point where I’m selling 2-3 things for each thing I buy. I simply don’t need to own as much as I do, especially as many things in my closet do not get worn frequently.

And of course, I want to finish my EGL Wardrobe post this year! Thankfully, I did most of my main pieces very nicely last year, and can re-use a lot of my photos, but I still have to take pictures of everything new this year… and all of my accessories and shoes and non main pieces that I left out last year! Yikes!

While it’s not a personal wardrobe goal, I would also like to get back into digitizing my collection of lolita publications and getting things entered into lolibrary.


545430_945698161629_573562109_nOther blogs participating in this theme:
Grey Velvet The Bloody Teaparty ♥ Alice in Lolita Land  ♥ Gosu-Rori
Pastel Jelly Beans ♥ Vanilla Bear ♥ Dollhouse Diaries ♥ It’s Witchcraft ♥

Lolita Blog Carnival : Design a Complete Coord for Under $100 USD

When I first looked at this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival topic, my very first thought was “the petticoat is going to either suck, need to be skipped, or take up half of the budget”.

That said, you can get some really cheap petticoats out there. People recommend Victorian Girl Dress on Ebay, but looking at the photos, it looks cheap and it looks like it’s probably not going to be the ideal smoothness and shape. There is also Maco Modes 582 (will run you about $50 USD), but that’s not perfect either. You can get a Classical Puppets A-line one from taobao for about $30USD (before SS fees and shipping), and that’s one of the ones I have an use a lot, but apparently, their quality dropped and a lot of people are seeing fraying / tears at the tiers in that one. If you need something quick in the US, the Black Ribbon sells some for $55 USD. Bunny House, another indie brand also makes petticoats that run around $48 USD before shipping.

Then I remembered that I had heard of an indie brand that made good petticoats really cheaply. That indie brand is MeLikesTea. MeLikesTea is based out of Brazil, so their prices are in Brazilian Reals. Like many non-english countries, they use a comma and not a period in their prices to denote the line between dollars and cents. So for PT10H – #10 made with Hard Tulle, which is listed at R$50,00, the price is only about $16.50 USD.

If you are trying out lolita for a convention, or don’t plan on wearing it much (2x a year), a hard tulle petticoat is probably ok, as long as you store it very carefully. If you want to wear the fashion in earnest, I’d suggest upgrading to the Organza material she offers. It costs more, but it lasts a lot longer. Hard Tulle petticoats are only stiff because the tulle is stiff, and very quickly deflate.

Writing this blog post pretty much confirmed for me that you would have a very hard time making a cohesive coordinate from scratch on only $100. I did not include shopping service fees or shipping, though I did try to source at least some things from local stores, or online shops with cheap or free shipping options.

Shiro

Coordinate 001 – Sweet Lolita Shiro Coordinate

Total: $99.55 USD

This isn’t an ideal hair accessory for this coordinate; I simply rand out of money and did the best I could. If you already have a petticoat, shoes and/or tights, splurge a little on a nicer headpiece. To wear the headpiece shown, you would have to do some sort of updo with your natural hair, and then pin in the hair comb.

Also, bodyline makes other shoes that are cheaper and I’d prefer, however, they are out of stock at the moment.

To upgrade this, add a pearl bead necklace and bracelets, and a nicer headpiece.

berry

Coordinate 002 – Berry Bitter Sweet Lolita with Second Hand Metamorphose

Total: $99.25 USD

This was a hard one because I really like using more accessories for something like this, but the budget doesn’t allow for it. The headbow shown is only a dollar and it looks it. A small black bow should be placed beside it if you have light hair. If you have dark hair, you can skip the black bows all together and put that extra dollar towards getting an oversized beaded bracelet in black. The other black bows and the red bows can be clipped on to the coord. Clip one red bow above the button on each sleeve of the blouse. Black bows can be clipped between the buttons of the blouse going down the front as embellishments.

If you have the money, upgrade to a nicer headbow that is lolita specific. Alternately, you can braid your natural hair and use hair ties with little strawberries on them, or red bows.

There was not a good necklace at the size I wanted in the price range, but this pendant from etsy can be put on a plain dark chain like the one shown. A red bow can be clipped on as well depending on the thickness of the pendant.

red

AP Style Sweet Lolita

Total: $99.98 USD

Going with an OP over a skirt + blouse or JSK + blouse combo is cheaper for a single coordinate, but more expensive in the long run because you can’t mix and match as much. A larger head-eating bow could be paired with this as well and Sweet Mildred does sell some, but she only had samples in pink photographed that I saw.

The tights have a subtle diamond pattern in them to match the OP, which I thought was cool, but solid white or pink tights would work as well.

I started out with the thought that this would be easy and I’d just do a bunch; after all, I buy dresses second hand for under $100 USD all the time. However, when you have to buy everything (petticoat, socks/tights, accessories, shoes), it really does add up fast. Once you have a good petticoat, some tights and some shoes, new coordinates are a lot cheaper to make than if you have to pay for all of those things at the same time.

To make the whole coordinate come out to less than $100 USD, you have to get the blouse, dress/skirt and shoes under about $75. That means $25/each, or a $50 OP + $25 shoes. And then, you don’t have much left for everything else after you pay for the petticoat.

I would say that $100 really isn’t enough to create a cohesive lolita coordinate. I would suggest someone budget closer to $200 for their first coordinate (to get a good petticoat, and pay for shipping and shopping services). I realize that is a lot of money, but lolita isn’t a cheap hobby, even when you try to buy things on the cheap.


545430_945698161629_573562109_nOther blogs participating in this theme:
Marionette Cemetery ♥ Art du noir ♥
Pépins de Pom & Co