Japanese street fashion
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Gothic Lolita - Gothic Lolita is a distinctive Japanese fashion style. Gothic Lolita is often seen in places like Harajuku. Gothic Lolita pictures.
Gothic Lolita or "GothLoli" (ゴスロリ, gosurori; sometimes
alternatively "Loli-Goth") is a youth fashion among Japanese teenagers and
young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl's clothing and often aims to
imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Gothloli's name and origin is
a combination of lolita fashion�appearing deliberately cute to the point of
looking childish�and certain styles found within gothic fashion. The style
started as a youth subculture sometime around 1997-98 and became a
well-established genre available in various boutiques and some major
department stores by around 2001. Some observers consider it a reaction to
the "Kogal" aesthetic.
Picture Above was taken in Harajuku
Gothic Lolita was influenced and popularised by the imagery of more feminine Visual Kei (or "visual rock") bands. Visual Kei is a Japanese form of rock music defined by bands featuring performers in elaborate costumes but whose musical style varies. Mana, the cross dressing former leader and guitarist of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer is widely credited for having helped popularise Gothic Lolita. He coined the terms "Elegant Gothic Lolita" (EGL) and "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat" (EGA) to describe the style of his own fashion label Moi-m�me-Moiti�, which was founded in 1999 and quickly established itself as one of the most coveted brands of the Gothic Lolita scene.
Gothic Lolita - The style
Gothic Lolita style is usually a combination of black and
white, often black with white lace and typically decorated with ribbons and
lace trims. Skirts are knee length and may have a crinoline or petticoat to
add volume. As in mainstream Japanese fashion, over-knee socks or stockings
are extremely popular. Black fishnet stockings and white or black tights are
also common. Shoes or boots with high heels - though not usually stiletto
heels - such as Mary Janes, complete the look. Frilly, ruffled or
lace-trimmed Victorian blouses are also popular especially with "EGL" types,
who may also favour long skirts and jackets rather than the overtly
"childish" designs of typical gothloli's. Apart from the occasional
shortness of skirts, designs are usually modest, sometimes with long
Although "Lolita" is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov's
famous novel, and GothLoli is often worn by teens, most followers of the
style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as
Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look "cute" rather than
"sexy". Many Lolitas claim that the term 'lolita' doesn't necessarily have
anything to do with sex at all. The usage of the word may also be considered
Goth Loli culture
In Japan it is mass-marketed and has wide visibility particularly in the streets of Tokyo and Osaka, on television, in manga (see Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa for an example of gothloli inspired manga) and computer games. Outside of Japan it is still a fringe fashion although it has slowly begun to spread to other countries. Gothic Lolita, along with Cosplay and other Japanese cultural phenomena, can sometimes be seen at concerts and anime conventions throughout Europe and the United States. The style has not yet been mass marketed outside of Japan. However, there are plenty of dedicated fans filling the gap. Gothic Lolita magazines are widely available for purchase on the internet and at Japanese bookstores, which also deal in anime and manga. Adherents in Europe and the United States often sew their own homemade Gothic Lolita outfits, sometimes offering them for sale to make up for the difficulty of acquiring them from Japan.
Gothic Lolita in the West
Many Goth girls in the west, have borrowed from the Japanese goth loli style, and have created a market for this style of clothing (particulary in online auctions). Americas Tokyopop recently comissioned, along with performer Courtney Love (who is not goth/goth loli herself, but is a former Japanese resident) an original manga in the goth loli style, called Princess Ai. This was the first (at least publicised) Japan/West goth loli collaboration.
Gothic & Lolita Bible
One magazine in particular, the irregularly published Gothic & Lolita Bible, has played an instrumental role in promoting and standardizing the style. The 100+ page magazine includes fashion tips, photos, sewing patterns, catalog descriptions, decorating ideas, and even recipes.
Gothic Lolita - Shopping
Currently the heart of the Gothic Lolita subculture, at least commercially, is the Marui Young department store in Shinjuku, after its predecessor Marui One closed at the end of August 2004. This large youth-fashion oriented department store has 4 floors entirely devoted to Gothloli and related fashions.
Crossover with Goth
"Gothloli" as a fashion is not as strongly associated with
a particular style of music or outside interests as goth, and individual
followers of Gothloli fashion may listen to a wide variety of music
including regular Japanese pop.