On Being Lolita: Angelic Pretty at Anime Central

On Being Lolita: Angelic Pretty at Anime Central

I am supremely excited that this year one of the special guests at my local anime convention, Anime Central (ACEN) will be Angelic Pretty~ ♥

Angelic Pretty has been my favourite Japanese lolita brand house since I started wearing lolita fashion six years ago~ ♥ I don’t particularly dislike any of the other brands, not by far, and I don’t own Angelic Pretty’s clothing and accessories exclusively, but there’s just something about their designs that really draws me in. When I was first wearing the style I would print out pictures of their dresses and imagine that some day I would learn to sew and these would be inspiration. Ultimately that did not happen–firstly I am a horror with a sewing machine and secondly I like purchasing the clothing directly. I like supporting companies that make things I enjoy buying, after all, and the best way to show that support is with purchases. I would be very excited if BABY, the Stars Shine Bright, Innocent World, Mary Magdalene, or any other Japanese lolita company was represented anywhere in my area, but for me there is an extra bit of thrill in knowing that it will be my very favourite!

In general I don’t attend the local anime convention, even though my friends really look forward to it. I’ve attended a few years in the past, but I don’t really follow anime so there isn’t a whole lot there that appeals to me. It is another place to see my friends, but usually I’d rather wait for another day and another meetup. I also get really nervous in such large crowds of people. Sometimes I get very lost trying to navigate the maze that is the convention center and its attached hotels. Overall, it isn’t the sort of thing I plan on attending–but I have said to others, when the subject of the convention has come up in conversation, that the one thing that could make me attend would be the presence of Angelic Pretty.

At the time, it was something I stated mostly in jest. Although Chicago is a large city in the US, it doesn’t attract the same kind of attention that the East and West costs do. As Japanese lolita companies have expanded their scope to attending events in San Francisco (and opening stores) and New York, that was very exciting–but it didn’t necessarily seem to foretell any involvement in the Midwest. I honestly didn’t believe that Angelic Pretty would ever attend anything in my general area, anime convention or not. I couldn’t imagine a situation in which it would be a good business move for any of the lolita fashion companies, despite how much I would personally adore that kind of chance. Now that it’s actually happening, I am thrilled! ★

As soon as the announcement was semi-official, I started getting notes from different friends, reminding me of the words I’d casually tossed off in previous years when questioned about ACEN.

When details for the tea party were made available, I was so worked up about hoping I could get one of the tickets that my fears wormed their way into my nightmares. When I received the confirmation email about the ticket after sitting at my pink computer holding my breath and hope-hope-hoping that I wouldn’t be unlucky, I finally relaxed a bit–although I’m still nervous! I hope I don’t spill anything on myself or others, or do something similarly embarrassing. I am not very well-coordinated or graceful, unfortunately…

I also applied to model in the fashion show, and somehow I was selected~ I am also nervous about that, of course. There’s a nagging voice in my mind that keeps thinking they’ll see me and change their minds, or that they confused me with someone else and didn’t mean to choose me. I know, rationally, that both of those things are incredibly unlikely–but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. As long as I don’t worry so much that I can’t enjoy myself, I’ll survive regardless of any internalized silliness on my part!

I want to remember to take lots of pictures, enjoy all of the time that I can spend with my friends, and participate in everything to the fullest extent that I possibly can! I never could have imagined that I would be so excited for an anime convention, haha~ My life would certainly be a lot less exciting if I hadn’t become interested in lolita fashion; I never regret it. ♥ This seems like it will be a wonderful weekend. I’m determined to have a great time no matter what happens~!

On Being Lolita: Anime, Manga, and Jrock

On Being Lolita: Anime, Manga, and Jrock

fushigi boshi no futago hime gyu

Although lolita fashion is Japanese, I think there is a common misconception that it is deeply entwined with anime, manga, or jrock, and thus all lolita enthusiasts share a common hobby in those areas. I believe this kind of automatic association arises because there are many lolita who discovered the fashion due to an interest in the stage costumes worn by many jrock and visual kei performers or frillier outfits often noted as “lolita” in certain anime and manga series. However, not all lolita share these interests, just as not all lolita share a love of Victoriana or tea-time.

There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of a certain series or band, but it wouldn’t be right to assume that all other lolita you’ll encounter will share your passion. You certainly will meet some that do, so there’s no reason to feel ashamed or avoid the mention. However, a conversation that jumps right in and requires all participants to be fans of a given series or band can be confusing to those lolita who wouldn’t call themselves otaku.

There are some undeniable associations, such as the musician and designer Mana, formerly of Malice Mizer and currently of Moi~dix~Mois, who helped popularize gothic lolita fashion with his label, Moi-même-Moitié. DOLL, a manga series by Mitsukazu Mihara, features many characters dressed in lolita fashion–unsurprising, as the artist regularly creates artwork for the Gothic & Lolita Bible. Many other series use elements of lolita fashion in their characters’ attire. It would be silly to deny any link between these interests and lolita fashion, and I’m certainly not going to do so. However, not all aspects of Japanese culture are mutually inclusive. It is not necessary to like Japanese food to wear lolita clothing, nor required to enjoy listening to jpop to learn the language. There are some people who adore the culture as a whole, but not everyone shares that view.

Personally, although I’ve seen more than my fair share of anime series (my father is a Japanophile who spurred my own love of many aspects of Japanese culture), I’m really not interested in anime or manga as a whole. I’ve also listened to some jrock, but it doesn’t keep my attention. I always feel a bit embarrassed when I have to admit I just don’t know what someone is talking about when they break into a long analysis of a series I’ve never heard of.

It’s always important to keep in mind that every lolita is a whole, complete person. She is neither exactly like another lolita nor totally dissimilar. It’s important not to assume that because you share a fashion style you will share all other personality traits and interests. After all, variety is what makes people interesting and places value into friendships!