The story of ‘Lolita fashion’


Photo by Chau kar

“Lolita fashion” by Chau kar is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Lolita fashion is a type of fashion that is inspired by Victorian era fashion.

What do you think of when you hear the word “Lolita”? There’s the book Lolita and the fashion Lolita, and chances are you’ve only heard of one of the two. In an online survey, this question was asked to people of generation Z and the majority answered fashion. But when asking the question to older generations, they think of the book first and usually have not heard of the fashion.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Lolita fashion. Because of the book “Lolita”, when people hear “Loita fashion” they think of more revealing clothing which is not the case at all.

Most Lolita fashion is based on modesty and clothing that covers up. With that, it also takes a lot of inspiration from clothing in the Victorian era. Lolita is a style that originated in Japan; most of it consists of cute aesthetics. Its popularity shot up around the 1990s-2000s, and in around 2010 the style became more mainstream.

There’s no clear start to Lolita fashion, but it is believed to have stemmed from a fashion called Otome-kei also known as maiden style which started around the 1970s. Although the cuteness aesthetic, which Lolita also takes inspiration from, was at a rise before Otome-kei.

While the cuteness fashion and Otome-kei were gaining popularity, many people began experimenting with this type of style/fashion. This led to a new style called “doll-kei” which was followed by Lolita.

The term “Lolita” was first used for this fashion in the magazine Ryuko Tsushin in one of its 1987 issues. After this many new clothing brands featuring this type of fashion started appearing. Once Lolita grew into popularity it started to influence and help create new fashion subcultures. Lately, Lolita fashion has been losing popularity with the appearance of stores like H&M.

Lolita fashion has been experimented with and is known for the many different ways you can wear it, which means there are many subcultures within Lolita. There are more than 23 different types of Lolita subcultures. Some of the most popular are gothic lolita, sweet lolita, classical lolita, and Guro lolita.

One of the more popular types of Lolita is gothic lolita. Gothic lolita usually takes normal Lolita and makes it darker while adding things like crosses or skulls to it.

Sweet lolita is also another popular subculture of Lolita. Sweet lolita is quite different from gothic lolita; sweet lolita usually has many light colors and ruffles. When people dress in sweet lolita you see a lot of times they like to add things like sweets or “fantasy elements”.

There is a type of Lolita that sticks closely to its Victorian-era style clothing, it’s called classical lolita. Classical lolita uses mostly solid colors, floral patterns, stripes. This subculture is probably the most similar to the Victorian style, it’s very different from the normal cute and fantasy Lolita.

Lastly, guro lolita: guro lolita is based around a more of a scary feel. When dressing in guro lolita people usually wear accessories like eye patches and will use makeup to create fake wounds on themselves.

Lolita is a helpful way of self-expression for many people and a style for many more. Even though its decrease in popularity, many online creators are trying to keep it alive. In the future, more fashion inspired by Lolita will pop up, which will let it live its legacy.