Obsolete Words of The Western Lolita Community
I was reading post about the use of the term “replica” versus a stronger term like “counterfeit” or “fake”. One of the arguments against this was that we can’t change the words used by the western lolita subculture much like we can’t change the name, but, that’s not really exactly true. One thing I’ve very much seen over the last dozen years I’ve been wearing lolita and in the research I’ve done into the history of the fashion is that the language in the western community does change.
I thought it might be interested to look at some of the words that are fading in popularity, and some that already are out of circulation, as well as some of the terms that have shifted meaning. This is not an exhaustive list, and I welcome comments about things I’ve missed!
While gothic lolita is still very much a substyle of lolita fashion, using the term Gothic Lolita to describe lolita as a whole is out of style, with “Lolita Fashion” or just “lolita” replacing it. It’s possible that it came from one of the various books titled Gothic & Lolita, like the phaidon book or the Gothic & Lolita Bible as the “and” is frequently dropped colloquially.
Gothloli / Loligoth
Gothloli, was another older name for the fashion that peaked in usage around 2005/2006. In fact, ILD (International Lolita Day) was originally called International Gothloli day. The plural gothlolies seems particularly weird to me.
A bit of a cringey romanization of “Gothloli”, that was once used as one of the names of the fashion in English. This weirdly is still used to refer to the ゴスロリ sewing books, but literally nothing else in English. It likely was another attempt to not use “lolita” or “loli”.
Using Loli / Lolis as shorthand for lolita in general was pretty common in the early days of EGL, and international gothloli day was called international loli day as short hand pretty quickly.
The inverted form of Gothloli, there was a loligoth feedback database that was used before egl feedback (or more specifically egl feedback was made because the loligoth feedback database was deleted).
To make something that isn’t lolita, loliable via modification. This isn’t something that needs to be done as much any more because lolita is a lot more accessible, so I don’t hear it much.
With the shift to Lace Market, people generally have shifted from talking about listing things on the ‘Comm Sales’ (EGl Comm Sales Livejournal) to listing them on LM (Lace Market).
Amaloli (literally Japanese for sweet loli), was used for a while because people felt like it sounded less weird than sweet lolita, but now, most people would be more weirded out using it because it contains loli. Hello Lace used this term for a while IRL.
Kurololi / Shirololi
Kuro and Shiro (aka all black or all white) have dropped the “loli” ending that they often had in the past. Unlike sweet lolita or gothic lolita though, it’s less common to hear “kuro lolita” and “shiro lolita” as it is to just hear “kuro” and “shiro” alone now.
Pretty much everyone just uses the terms Ouji or Boystyle now. Part of this is likely because influential figures in Ouji (and there have never been a ton of those) don’t really use this term anymore. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on boystyle, so to quote an actual expert, Buttcape on why she doesn’t favor the term circa 2017:
Though the term “kodona” is widely used in the online international communities, “kodona” is not the proper term for the style. The term kodona has previously been sourced from a Gothic & Lolita Bible interview with Plastic Tree’s vocalist Ryutaro to describe his personal style. However, this is incorrect. I asked several fluent Japanese readers to read the interview and according to them the word kodona does not even appear in the spread. Nobody really knows why the international community latched onto the word kodona.
The origin of kodona is still unknown to this day. Googling any variation of 大人 (otona) + 子供 (kodomo) will fetch zero relevant results. If you were to go to Japan and ask a lolita off the street about kodona fashion, most likely they would have no idea what you are talking about. We’ve even asked brand designers in person and they don’t know what kodona means. Alice and the Pirates designer Tomomi Nakamura, also known as Cathy, refers to the style either as men’s style or ouji style. The term kodona doesn’t translate well into English either. It would be the equivalent of calling yourself an adult child which has negative connotation.The New Ouji Overview by Buttcape,
It’s worth noting that since this was published in 2017, the word has declined significantly more in usage, to the point where it’s pretty rare to see it.
Constructive criticism, written as C/C or CC has fallen out of favor and people tend to use the term “Concrit” instead.
I don’t think the term OTT Sweet isn’t being used anymore, but I do think that the definition of OTT Sweet from 10 years ago is what people call Sweet Lolita now. So what I’m seeing is more use of the term Sweet Lolita to describe what would have been called OTT Sweet in the past. The term OTT is still used, but it’s applied to things that aren’t quite decololi because they don’t use quite the right balance, but they are very much more elaborate than the OTT Sweet of 10 years ago.
Dream dress as a word hasn’t stopped being used, but it’s changed meanings. Dream Dress has shifted from being a single or couple absolute dream pieces that people dream about the day they might own and love forever as their ultimate all time favorite, to… more of a word people throw around more casually to indicate that something is on their wishlist. This likely has something to do with how lolita has become so much more accessible and the average age of people who wear the fashion has gone up as has the average income of someone wearing lolita. This means there are far more people who can buy the things they want immediately instead of dreaming for years about owning a specific dress.
ita-litas / ita-loli / itai lolita / italoli
Ita is a Japanese term that is basically “ouch”. So, like looking someone up and down, and then saying “ouch” because they are so ugly/unstylish you think they are painful to look at. The western community used to actually compound ita or itai with variations on lolita, but now it’s more common to hear people just use “ita” alone. That said, it’s a really mean thing to say about someone, so do consider if it’s really what you want to say before saying it!
[ ]-lita / [ ]-loli
calling oneself a word (bro, fro, bow, hover, a location, etc) with -lita afterwards as a joking way of inventing a group name for a specific adjective is also something that has fallen out of favor, though some people do still use some of the older terms like brolita
While some male lolita still use the term brolita to self-identify, this term is rooted in the idea that lolita is a “girls club” and only for people who are cisgendered and female and those who aren’t are “other” (which in and of itself is weird since Mana-sama has been a lolita icon for decades). In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for people to use this term very casually while talking about people they may not even personally know. However, these days, to be more inclusive, typically, we use the term lolita regardless of someone’s gender identity unless that person specifically chooses to use a specific term like brolita to self-identify.
Hime (princess) as a substyle has included elements of two things over the years. OTT Fairy Tale Princess looks… and cross overs with Hime Gyaru. Since Hime Gyaru has more or less gone out of style, the Hime substyle is more likely to mean “princess” to day than to have anything to do with Gal style.
I think there are several other words which are likely to see shifts and changes in the future
Headbow VS KC
I’ve been seeing an increase of KC for headbow and I think over a very long period of time, KC might gain traction. I don’t expect headbow to go away totally, but I think KC is going to gain some market share.
Taobao vs Chinese Indie Brand
I’ve been seeing a shift away from using Taobao, and towards using terms like Chinese Indie, which I think is a really positive change that I’d like to see more of. I do still see people using “Taobao” as an insult sometimes, which I’d really like to see us move away from.
increasingly, I’m seeing people shorten coordinate to coord. Using coord isn’t new, but I’m seeing coord used in contexts where people would have written out coordinate in the past. I expect us to reach a point where everyone knows what a coord is, and most know it’s short for coordinate, but almost no one types it out.
Replica VS Counterfeit / Knock Off / Fake
The term replica was adopted by the community back when the community opinion on counterfeit goods was significantly more positive than it is now. Almost 10 years after fakes were banned from sale on EGL, they are banned from most major lolita groups. I can very much see there starting to be a shift away from the term replica and towards terms which are more negative and more common in other fashion collecting hobbies.
Quarter Shirring / Half Shirring
Back in the day, pieces from AP that had shirring across part of the back were often said to be quartered shirred, while full back shirring was often called half shirring. There has been a shift towards “full back shirring” (or confusingly full shirring) versus partial shirring (quarter shirring) instead. However, this isn’t really solidified into a single term for each type from what I’ve seen, though quarter shirring is pretty much gone.
What are some words that you used to use as a new lolita that aren’t very much in use anymore?
6 comments on “Obsolete Words of The Western Lolita Community”
Wow this took me back! I forgot about a lot of these terms and I had no idea about kodona not being a real term!? Very interesting read. Thanks for posting
This was so interesting t read (and makes me realise that I’ve been kicking around for a good long time lol).
This was really interesting! It can be hard to find these kinds of things about the older Western culture as a newer lolita when a lot of it’s already been scrubbed off the Internet for whatever reason. Thank you for your efforts!
It might be good to add to the definition of “ita” that people more often use it referring to themselves now. I’ve seen a decent amount of Youtubers, especially those who have been in the fashion since the 2000s, refer to their first few years where they made embarrassing/bad coords (in their own opinion) as their “ita phase”. In this instance, it’s a way to poke fun at themselves and reminisce on their fashion journey. I don’t know when “ita phase” became a phrase, but you might!
Talking about an ita phase at least goes back to 2010, not sure how far back though because a lot of the insults would have started on things like lolita secrets or GTFO EGL, not main EGL, and those types of sources aren’t always searchable / available still.
A lot of the community’s insults are used self-deprecatingly and have been for as long as I personally remember, ita, brandwhore, terms about weight… And while I recognize this, I feel like it’s kind of like calling one’s self any normal insulting term or swear word versus calling other people that? Yes, it’s somewhat more social acceptable to mock yourself than it is to mock others, but I also… I don’t know. It’s hard to put into words. If someone constantly mocks themselves for being… let’s say “stupid” just for an example that isn’t directly related to lolita. Let’s say I go around “oh my god, I’m so stupid, I got a B on this test.”, “Oh my god, I’m so stupid, I forgot that this print was designed in 2004″… and my friend got a C and never knew when that print was designed, then my friend is going to think “oh man, if Raine thinks she’s stupid, what does that mean she thinks about me?!?”.
So, in that sense, I think it’s kind of important to be cognizant about how we talk about ourselves, especially when we are around other people who may feel they are more of whatever that thing is. I spent a long time in my younger years really hating myself and everything about myself. And now, looking back, like, I’d never tell another person the things I told myself back then. And if I saw someone else saying those things to another young person, I’d think they were being really cruel. I don’t know. It’s hard. I have a lot of complex feelings about this, sorry…
The idea of an ‘ita phase’ too, goes back to the idea of making fun of someone for not being an expert on something they are new to, which… I mean, yes, everyone has to learn things. No one springs up knowing everything. And with lolita, especially, different people start at different places. So one person’s “ita phase” might be someone else’s coords after 5 years experience. I don’t really like the idea of mocking people for simply not knowing things yet, you know? Like, how are people supposed to learn if “experts” mock them when they don’t know the answer. And like, if I was new and the “experts” around me are all mocking themselves for not having known things in the past, I think I’d be way more self conscious about myself and have a way worse experience than if people were more encouraging, you know? And I think this aspect of the lolita community where people really have a very high bar for newcomers stifles growth and can be extremely toxic. Especially as the bar just keeps getting higher and higher.
So, I guess, what I’m getting at, is that, while I do hear people jokingly (or not) talk about how they were such an ita when they were new, I kinda of lump this in with people talking about how they are/were so ugly, or so fat, or so stupid, or whatever other insult people pick to pick on themselves for their insecurities. And someone who calls themselves ugly or stupid might not walk up to someone else and call them that to their face, but they probably do think that about some other people. After all, they have to have some definition for the insult they are using for themselves. So, I don’t really separate it a whole lot in my mind, personally?
And then like… it’s clothes. Some days you just get up and get dressed and you don’t look your best. Every day can’t be your best. Every coord can’t be your best. If it was, it would be average, not the best. And I think the community has developed a kind of toxic obsession with perfection to the point where people almost feel like they have to beat other people to the punch about mocking their old coords least anyone think they might think they were “good”. And that’s not good for the community either, IMHO.
IDK. It’s complicated and hard to explain properly, I’m sorry for rambling. I have a lot of complicated feelings about this, honestly.
Thank you for answering! I get where you’re coming from. I have felt uncomfortable seeing a few people use the term when it feels like the same kind of deprecating as “stupid” like you were saying… but then other people use it in a softer way that doesn’t bother me and I kinda like, where it feels more like reclaiming a term that hurt them before. But, well, I wasn’t there to watch the use of the term for all these years, so maybe I’m not interpreting what’s really happening correctly.
I agree with you on the toxic perfection mindset, though. I was happy when old-school came back because I hoped that would bring back the ideology of that time, as well. I can’t remember who made a blog post about how the Harajuku kids in the 90s and 2000s intentionally wore imperfect outfits because the point was to have fun, and I loved that!
BRANDWHORE! That needs to be on this list.
Back in the day it was used as an actual insult towards lolitas deemed to be rich, snobby, or show-offs (for example, I remember it often being used to refer to Milky-fawn.) Nowadays it’s a kind of ironic self-identifier or a joke, or sometimes even used as a mark or pride so to speak. People WANT to be brandwhores now it seems.
A few others I thought of: kote lolita, dandy, UTKs, and twinning (used to be more strictly wearing the exact same outfit, now refers to two or more people just wearing the same dress or print.)
Great article!!! Definitely took me back lol.