16 Jun 2017

5 Things You Hate in Prints


There aren’t many things that I hate in Lolita prints. Even when something isn’t to my taste, I believe in the “live and let live” philosophy, but while I generally struggle to think of things that I feel very strongly negatively about, there are one or two things that grind my gears.







1. Too busy backgrounds


So much going on!
Prints need to be balanced and while too much empty space isn’t good either, at least it doesn’t give you headache or blinds you like overly busy prints can. Angelic Pretty’s Classic Fairy Tale, Meta’s Fancy Egg or Baby’s Kira Kira Parfait are all examples of prints where, to me, the background overpowers the border print and makes the whole thing too much all at once. You lose the print in all this busyness, which in turn makes me think what was the point of making this a border print in the first place if you can’t really see and appreciate it without being very up close. I think it’s easier to make an emptier print look lovely (which Innocent World, the master of understated classiness, has proven time and time again) than it is with very busy ones.




2. Odd colour choices


Let's play "find the print"!
Sometimes the print itself might be amazing, but it’s ruined by questionable choices in colourways. The background colour needs to compliment the print, otherwise it either disappears (AP’s Dreamy Parfait in white or most colourways of Baby’s Enchanted ~ Under the Candy Magic Spell ~) or looks strange and like an afterthought rather than a careful design (Alice and the Pirates’ yellow version of Faint Love in the Watercolor and the Melody of the Rain or AP’s yellow British Bear). Just like with the background pattern, if the overall colour palette doesn’t compliment and work with the print, then it can actually ruin it. Not to say that there is no room for bold colour choices within Lolita, but it seems like the print must be created for them rather than the other way around (and to prove that I don’t hate on yellow, just look at Haenuli’s yellow Beauty and the Beast or The Promise of Eternal).



3. Items stuck in without reason or rhyme


Explanation, please?
We all know AP’s notorious run of sticking crosses on everything, regardless of what the theme of the dress was, but that’s just the most obvious example. I’m not saying that every part of the print has to be perfectly and obviously connected to the theme or the style of the dress, but at the very least you should be able to work out why a print features this or that element. Again, AatP’s Faint Love in the Watercolor and the Melody of the Rain series could’ve been alright, but what the heck does a film tape have to do with melody, watercolour or rain? It looks and feels very random, more like they needed a filler and ran out of options than a conscious design choice. Though seriously, how could anyone beat AP’s obsession with crosses on everything? It’s like once they discovered Goth and crosses they couldn’t resist putting them on everything, from actual Goth-y prints to summery floral pieces.



4. Too obvious logos


Can you make it bigger?
I can't read your logo...
Lolita fashion offers so many interesting and clever ideas to incorporate brand logos into the print that the obvious solutions stick out to me like a sore thumb. Especially when you compare two Baby prints from the same year, Little RED Riding Hood ~ Fairytales of the Märchen Forest ~ and Marie Antoinette ~ Beautiful Splendid Queen Portrait ~: one is very clunky, obvious and doesn’t really work with the print theme (toy bricks are only very, very loosely related to the Little Red Riding Hood – see point 3 above) and the other is subtle and cleverly incorporated into the print in an aesthetically pleasing way. I’m not saying that in every print the brand logo has to be an Easter egg to be hunted down and found, but even Meta, who often just writes their full name somewhere on the print, ensures that this fits in with the design of the dress and the print. And again, with so much room for creative solutions, the print designers could be more imaginative – in the example used above, Baby could’ve easily made their logo look like the author of the books or their logo could be embossed on the cover, although that wouldn’t solve their problem of suddenly having too much blank space on the print and subsequently, the dress. Choices.



5. Overused themes


Less Alice and more
Wacky Races
Now, this will be a touchy one, but let me explain. What I mean by this is the constant return to themes that have been exploited in Lolita prints to the point where there is literally nothing new to do without making it feel forced. For example, while food is a very common theme in Lolita, brands still manage to bring a new(ish) take on it, even on the same kinds of food such as cake (compare Memorial Cake with Antoinette Decoration, for example). On the other hand, I feel like everything that could’ve been done with Alice in Wonderland already has been done and the last few attempts at originality (AatP’s Alice Wonder Car Chase or their Alice and the Secret of the Mysterious Dressmaker) simply felt strained and like trying to keep a zombie looking alive. And as much as I love them, the same can be said about carousel/carnival prints or stained glass prints. Whilst I kind of named and shamed them, Alice and the Pirates have actually been pushing the boat in the last two or so years by attempting so many themes that haven’t been done before at all or very little: Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, One Thousand and One Nights, Les Miserables, fortune tellers… This level of innovation is only matched by Taobao brands and while most of these AatP ones have not been successful sell outs and I see why they (or any brand) would keep regurgitating the same theme, it makes me sad that for every fresh idea for a print there’s a least five Alice in Wonderland prints and three carnival ones.





It got pretty tough to list more after number 3, but I got there in the end. As I said, there are very few things I’d consider using the word “hate” to describe when it comes to Lolita fashion and I tried to keep this list aligned with the “live and let live” motto I mentioned at the beginning. While I may say that I wouldn’t wear or buy a bunny print or a painting print, or an Alice in Wonderland or a dog/puppy one, to say that I hate them as print motifs is a big stretch, especially as there are examples of each of these which I find beautiful, especially on other people. On the other hand, the list above is a little more universal and could apply to many designs, determining whether it’s something I’d find attractive or at least understand the creative decisions or not. I realise that there has to be room for experiments, and subsequently mistakes, if the fashion is to grow and move forward, but I do sincerely hope that the things above will become as rare as they can, even if only for my own sake.



What things do you hate in Lolita prints? Are there any? The participating bloggers certainly seem to think so, check out their pet peeves:




4 comments:

  1. I think book prints can slightly come into returning theme catagory, while AP and Lief did some beautiful examples of it, they didn't add orginality to it. In contrast F+F did that with their none in circus series(which is a spy novel inspired series, but feature books). Strawberry prints, they are Real zombies then you have to add crosses to sell it, AP... And it did fail. Meta does at least a couple of different fruits. If I have to like to buy more strawberryprints, it should be more oldschool and less gingham.

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    1. Oh yeah, definitely. There are loads of motifs in Lolita that have been done to death, yet are still being done. I can't even tell most of the strawberry prints apart and while I can see that different people might have a different favourite from amongst them, it doesn't necessarily justify this lack of innovating. Even when brands innovate, they tend to then do a lot of very similar stuff like AP's Goth-y stuff - since the success of Holy Lantern their more Gothic stuff is still utilising quite similar details or styles. Which is why I'm so sad that AatP's innovative stuff is having some odd design choices, they could've been absolute sell outs!

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    2. I agree, even I own a strawberry print, it is not only Berry featuring on it, there is rasperries too, not many, but better than none. I actually like Attp's experiments, but I am looking for dresses with waist at the waist..

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    3. My strawberry print telling abilities stop at being able to tell which brand they're from, but that's it. I know a couple of names of the AP ones, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to match the name to the print. AatP and Meta have done dropped waist a few times and tend to bring it back every now and then. I'd love brands to do that cut more as it's quite flattering for me, but alas...

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