How Did You First Discover Lolita?


Since I’m still fighting off jet lag and general laziness, this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival prompt was great to ease me back into writing something for the blog.

How did I first discover Lolita? I’ll give you the long version.

October 2010, I had just moved to Oxford to start a degree in Japanese Studies. Everything was new and I was sort of on my own, since none of my friends applied to Oxford, so everyone and everything were totally new to me. Luckily, Freshers’ Week at my college included one morning spent with a sempai (or senior for the non-Japanese proficient amongst you) who would introduce us to our faculty, subject, tell us what’s what and who’s who before we started our classes.

My sempai was hard to miss. Honestly, I can’t tell you what she was wearing other than head to toe pink (and most likely brand), but it instantly caught my attention. Her clothes were different, they were colourful and vibrant, she was the one person in the whole common room who had instant personality amongst a crowd of jeans and T-shirt muggles. I loved it! But it was a “I love it on her” kind of love. I didn’t know what it was other than clothes and I had an inkling that it was from Japan (because duh, we all did Japanese Studies and we all know Japan’s loud and colourful), but I never asked her about it, not then and not later. She wore Lolita fashion daily and over the time that we were at uni together she gradually moved from full on pink princess kind of Sweet Lolita to creepy cute until eventually just doing her own alternative non-Lolita fashion with a clear Harajuku inspiration by the time she graduated. I think she left Lolita by now, as far as I can tell, though I may be wrong, but for one thing I am grateful: that she was my introduction to the fashion and allowed me to learn about it as a fashion, clothes, something you wear and not a costume or something to be singled out for (I’m sure she must’ve been, but she has enough confidence to at least appear as if any troll or hate comment is like water off a duck’s back).

This was my first discovery of Lolita, without really understanding of what it was that I was seeing or what it was called. I had learnt that later, gradually, albeit somewhat poorly through Bodyline and no research. Thankfully I eventually ended up on a straight path, correcting my mistakes and learning the proper way. Every now and then I wonder whether there were more that my sempai has inspired or what was her journey in discovering Lolita, but I guess that will remain a mystery for me.

How have you first encountered Lolita fashion? Did you know what you were looking at and, if not, were you baffled, bedazzled or just shrugged it off? I’m curious to know.


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