Crimson Reflections

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The Lolita Collective

Honey Cake Switching JSK: What Does “Switching” Even Mean?

Angelic Pretty recently re-released their Honey Cake series as a MTO. The original release had two JSK cuts:

The Round JSK was re-released, while the switching JSK was not. But… what do those names even mean? Well, the round JSK has a round neck, so that’s pretty straight forward. But switching? Less clear to the average person.

Switching, written as 切替 or 切り替え (Kirikae) in the name of a lolita item typically indicates that the item is made of two fabrics with one of the fabrics inserted into the other.

The straight definition of the term is this:

1. exchange; conversion; replacement; switching (to); switchover​.

Jisho Japanese Dictionary

So basically, in lolita, it’s the concept of a change between one material, fabric or texture and another, within one overall object.

Sometimes, this is referencing a traditional round yoke, like we see above with the Honey Cake Switching JSK, but it’s not always.

Here, with Angelic Pretty’s Antique Chocolaterie Switching JSK, they have added a panel in the front center of the bodice.

So, the bodice switches from print fabric, to a solid white area.

However, the contrasting panel does not have to white. In Angelic Pretty’s Harlequinade Switching JSK, the panel is colored to match the trim. We see the same thing with the much smaller panel in Angelic Pretty’s Holy Theater Switching JSK.

And it’s not just limited to inserts, the whole bodice is sometimes switched out for another fabric!

The term switching is also used to indicate fabric inserts at the waist, or in the middle of the skirt. Sometimes, even a very narrow waistband that looks like a built in sash will earn a piece this descriptive term.

Of course, the most common usage of all is with blouses and cutsews.

It’s interesting to note that while, I would say 90% or more of the blouses that use this term in the name do really switch fabrics, once in a while there is an outlier. Chelsea Round Switching Blouse by Angelic Pretty has a yoke shape, and appears to be sewn like other blouses with contrasting yokes… but the fabric doesn’t actually appear to change. It switches from one fabric… to more of the same fabric?

Which brings up an interesting point, some brands do use the term ヨーク(yōku) for a yoke in a blouse or dress. Baby, IW, MMM, MM, VW and Meta all do this regularly. But Angelic Pretty does not. So, it’s possible, that Angelic Pretty simply continues to use the term 切替 (Kirikae) / Switching for yokes, even when those yokes aren’t made of a contrasting fabric.

Finally, 切替 / Switching is one of those words that doesn’t translate into a single, easy term when you go from Japanese to English. Because of this, in translated names, you might see switching, switch, switched, contrast, contrasting, contrast panel, contrast bodice, or even yoke depending on the item and the translator. It’s also not limited to lolita; Japanese fashion brands use this term for all sorts of pieces of clothing with two or more contrast fabrics.

At the end of the day, the biggest take away, for me personally, is that if a dress uses 切替 / switching in the name, it may indicate a specialty fabric being used for part of the garment, which can mean paying a little extra attention to the washing instructions. But it can also mean that it’s introducing an extra color or texture that gives you more creative flexibility in your coordinate options!

Are there any other terms you see in lolita fashion that you wonder why we use? Let me know in the comments!

4 comments on “Honey Cake Switching JSK: What Does “Switching” Even Mean?

  1. Damn, I feel so silly now! I always wondered what they meant by switching/kirikae and now that you’ve explained it, it feels painfully obvious. I guess I focused too much on shape and/or function (especially that as I thought of detachable yoke pieces), where I should’ve been thinking about the fabric itself. Thank you for explaining that!

  2. Mind = blown

    wow it never occurred to me and now I too, feel like a fool. It makes so much sense when you explain it, I always wondered if it had something to do with the stitching or perhaps the strap style if it was a jsk. How peculiar though when they do it with the same fabric sewn as if it were switched! I love it.

  3. It’s funny how simple this seems in hindsight. This was one of the words in Japanese fashion jargon I was totally stumped by. Good to finally know after all these years, ha ha!

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