I think we have started on that path because no one can keep up with all the prints being released anymore. I look through lolita updates and get fatigue after the first 20 new prints before I type my desired brand name to see if they are releasing anything new.
I can’t help but wonder have we turned Lolita into just another Jusco brand of clothing. Jusco is referenced in the movie and book kamikaze girls. The main character doesn’t want to purchase ordinary fast fashion aka cheap clothing that are mass manufactured sold at good deals.
She wants special boutique clothing that harkens back to the rococo period. She uses all money she can acquire to buy baby the stars shine bright. She focuses not on the good deal or how cheap the clothing is but on the quality and decadence of the clothing. The Jusco clothing is fast fashion much like fast food it’s cheap and satisfies in filling requirements but isnt fancy much like a quarter pounder is food and while tasty it will never be a steak. Most fast fashion looks great on the hanger but sometimes uses poor materials, drape of the fabric isn’t just right because of poor construction and it’s not meant to last for a long period of time. Also most fast fashion doesn’t feel special because it’s widely available and if something happens to it then it didn’t cost too much and you can always find something else that you like that’s similar for a reasonable price. If you live in the USA then here are some normal fast fashion clothing example stores: forever 21, Charolette Russe, Costco, Sams, Target and Walmart. If you want something a little more expensive then you might venture to a department store.
This isn’t one of those blog post where I’m going to preach about how fast fashion is killing society or the earth. There are plenty of other articles that already do that. I am also not one of those unrealistic naive’people that thinks the lolita world is going to close all fast fashion stores. These stores serve a purpose for the consumer who can not afford(for the majority) hand sewn couture.
Do we even have fast fashion in the lolita community? Of course we do. I argue that fast fashion should be used sparingly within the lolita community. So what do you mean fast lolita fashion? I’m referring to your cheap, cranked out daily lolita designs. Sure, I love that we have so many options of all these different dresses, blouses and etc. But.... Are we supporting quantity over quality? Let’s examine these constructs within the lolita community.
Before you get all this brandwhore ughhhhh she doesn’t understand my struggle please continue to read.
Lolita by definition is suppose to be a Victorian and Rococo inspired fashion. It’s not suppose to be mundane or ordinary. By making lolita a fast fashion you are allowing the fashion to be normalized. This sounds good right? Everyone will know what I’m wearing no more little bo peep comments here I come. I would argue that normalizing and making lolita a cheap and super mass produced item you are losing some sort of the magic of lolita.
Ok so now that I’ve throughly ruffled your petticoat let me explain myself. The details of some of the more expensive brands are cohesive to the dress. They have custom lace and details that carried through an entire dress and sometimes that connects from one season to another seasons clothing. This allows other accessories that were previously purchased to be used. This can be lost on a fast fashion brands that have a here today gone tomorrow philosophy. Many fast fashion designers don’t connect designs or collections they just pop out dresses as soon as they can get material printed. This leads to just more stuff that can mostly be used only for that set. There is no standardized fit from fast fashion, and most can not be washed in the washer. Most brand items can be washed in the washer in a washing machine bag on delicate cycle in woolite with cold water. The exceptions are some of the extreme delicate items or some of the older baby the stars shine bright dresses and ap milky berry print some dresses had problems although most were replaced by ap at no cost to the consumer.
I use to firmly believe that if you are an experimental lolita and are just wearing lolita just to an anime convention then you could and maybe should purchase a fast fashion lolita brand to see how it would suit you. That way your investment isn’t too great in a hobby you don’t know if you’ll stick with. Today that isn’t the case due to falling in value in the brand second hand market. The second hand market today you can get a quality item for same price in good condition as you can a fast fashion item.
But wait.......... what about?
One large conflict I have with this dichotomy is that size matters. While back shirring and brands make lolita more accessible to larger sizing for the western markets it is still lacking for some. This is a niche market that used to be filled by small indie designer brands in Korea and western countries which have been struggling with the introduction of cheaper brands that are mass manufactured but offer custom sizing.
What if I just want more? More dresses, accessories and everything lolita. I have more buying power if I select the cheaper versions. I hear this a lot! That’s not necessarily true but I beg to ask yourself and truly answer yourself honestly would I rather a quality second hand garment that will last longer or would I like for the same price a New but fast fashion item.
In addition that’s all well and good but I’m not rich and I can’t afford a closet of brand. I get that you can’t support those brands directly but you can purchase on the second hand market which allows a lolita to sell her brand at an affordable price and then turn around and buy more brand. So you are inadvertently supporting the Japanese brand you like.
So earlier you say that fast fashion is necessary for normal fashion because not everyone can afford the haut couture hand sewn brands. The reason why this construct works in normal fashion is the sheer amount of people need clothing. Lolita unfortunately is a niche fashion. This means there are less consumers purchasing these clothing items. So isn’t this all healthy competition. I don’t think that the fast fashion brands should be compared to Japanese lolita brands. The reasons I’ll get to below. To me it would be like comparing hamburger and filet mignon. Both are beef but completely different.
Ok are you still there? Thanks for continuing to read. Keep going it’s going to get more interesting....We all own something that’s lolita fast fashion. So why am I writing this post? If I own fast fashion lolita items aren’t I being hypocritical making this blasphemy post.
Well maybe, in fact I hesitated making a blog post about this subject because the sheer anxiety of drama and accusations of elitism. I forced myself to broach the subject due to the overwhelming amount of smaller indie and Japanese brands closing. I wanted to examine and fully examine even my own excuses of why I make that fast fashion choice. I knew Lolita wasn’t dying because I get new lolitas joining my community at faster pace than in the past. I can only conclude that the consumer market for these expensive Japanese brands had shrunk but not the number of lolitas. I came to some interesting thoughts by looking at the history of all fashion yes mainstream fashion too.
The Japanese lolita brands are the backbone of the community without them then there is no one pushing the New styles and trends and moving the fashion forward. Some can argue that fast fashion can push trends. That’s simply untrue though think about regular fashion. I’m not referring to big box stores I’m talking about your haute couture houses. Those house set the trends for their off the rack collections that filter down to your department stores and finally to your fast fashion stores.
If don’t believe me listen to this clip I have posted below from Devil Wears Prada.
If you support the Japanese brands you are helping decide what appears in the fast fashion markets. Wow so your purchasing power while different is helping shape what will appear in fast fashion markets which means more stuff you like.
But a community without the Japanese brands leading the way then fast fashion brands would soon fade by repeating ideas until it fizzles out.
This isn’t to keep you or anyone from purchasing fast lolita fashion.It is simply to say don’t purchase all your purchases from fast lolita fashion designers because you are cheating yourself.
In addition if your favorite Japanese brand closes and you don’t actually purchase from them or purchase their items from the second hand market then you helped them close.
This blog post took me a long time to write. It wasn’t meant to beat up on anyone. I wanted to examine myself and the community objectively and investigate why smaller Japanese brands are struggling or dying.