Thanks to San Francisco’s yearly J-Pop Summit Festival, I have seen several lolita dress competitions over the past few years. But to sit down amongst the crowd, observe the dresses and how each girls come up with their own take of lolita outfit, and cheer on my favorites alongside Style Wylde‘s own Cynthia Anderson on August 27 were absolutely a wonderful experience :)
The competition was filled with pure honest entertainment that sometimes went to amusing, weird, nerdy, or even just plain silly. But all in all, it was an absolute fun times. In the past, I would simply brush off these kinds of things because on a first glance, these girls look like they tried to be something they’re not. I understand the whole concept of gothic lolita is HUGE in Japan sub-cultures (among other things – Harajuku, visual kei, ganguro, etc), but in the United States, I felt that it was pushing it too far. It was a weird feeling for me, trying to digest something I didn’t understand. And not to mention that I actually was into the whole gothic thing myself during my first two years of college (strutting down the campus hall with knee high black patent boots, black mini skirt, black spider web tights, purple top, black floor-length coat, and dramatic makeup). A bit hypocritical, eh? Even now, I still dutifully wear my DIY gothic-flavored wrist corsage and gothic hair clips. So I’ll always have that gothic part inside of me :)
But thank goodness for competitions like these that opens my eyes. These groups are so misunderstood and under-represented that I don’t care if this post is published almost two weeks after the event was held. What’s more important is that I applaud these girls who are so brave in expressing their individuality and their take on beauty even thought people might not understand them. Brava ladies! Anata-tachi wa hontou ni sugoi ne!
Let me provide this competition with a little bit of context: the theme is circus (so think over-the-top ring masters, lion tamers, dancers, musicians that a circus troupe usually has). Each girl has to incorporate at least one piece from Baby The Stars Shine Bright or Alice and the Pirates brand. They go out to the stage one at a time, do a little catwalk for the audience and two judges, and is asked a question from the judges about how they come up with their outfits and what inspires them to be a lolita. The judges then come up with 3 honorable mentions, a runner-up, and a first place winner. Some contestants even come from as far as Hawaii (like the beautiful girl on that picture above left), others come from Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and of course, San Francisco :)
What struck me the most about these girls is their bravery and dedication to assemble their outfits. Very intricate and gorgeous, this modern take of Victorian style of beauty really express femininity while showing strength. Some girls say that the whole lolita thing is hard to get for some people due to the outlandish nature of daily clothing (this is not just cosplay costumes, folks!), but once you’re into it, you’re hooked.
Even DIY or everyday “normal” pieces (such as a black blazer) are incorporated into the whole look as personal touches. Also, they add stories, poems, and other things that sometimes “weirded-out” the host but are always inspiring, entertaining, and definitely self-expressing. Lindsay (the gorgeous girl from Santa Cruz that ends up winning the whole thing, above right), for example, added crystals to her dress, created her whimsical hat, and really comes off as a wholesome lolita princess. I believe she truly stands out from the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, for all these girls, their cute appearance is only external. What’s inside them is usually very personal and deep, and therefore I really appreciate what these girls have showed us that day. Here are the rest of the pictures of this awesome lolita competition:
Thanks for reading. And for the lolita girls out there: you go girls!
Until next time,