While the majority of the drama has (hopefully) calmed down now and this is no longer fresh, I decided to vent out some of my feelings about 2019’s Street Fashion Europe: Traumerei. Not to start the drama anew, but to reflect on some of the things that I have found not to my liking and why. There may be some constructive points being made here or it may even be structured in a somewhat organised way, yet understand that this is still intended to vent out personal emotions. All opinions expressed here are mine and this will be a long read. You have been warned.


For anyone out there not familiar with what’s been happening. Street Fashion Europe started around 2014 with Enchanted in London being the first event. It’s a way of bringing the wider European lolita and J-fashion communities together through an event catered specifically for them (as opposed to fashion segments at anime conventions). Over the years and across the four events done so far SFE has brought to Europe J-fashion designers, models and artists, which the community might otherwise not have met. It’s a wonderful idea and over the years the event has grown, as you might expect. It took a hiatus in 2018 and has announced a comeback for 2019 with an event in Germany themed Traumerei.

Traumerei itself

For a while there have been suspicions that the next event would take place in Germany, so this came as no surprise. However, the more was unveiled, the more I raised my eyebrows.

Firstly, the location of Rüdesheim am Rhein may be charming and full of appropriately aesthetically pleasing locations, but it is a small town. As such what tourism infrastructure it has (namely accommodation and transport links) is more limited compared to big cities, which is where previous SFE events had been held (all capital cities except for Barcelona). This immediately meant that booking accommodation and flights would have to be done immediately after securing an event ticket to avoid commuting long distances on the day of the event – and even then commuting might be unavoidable.

Second, and much bigger one, was the tickets themselves. From the need to register for the event (justified by regulations in Germany), to the need for participants to be 18 or over, all the way to the tiers and prices themselves. All of this was being very exclusionary from the beginning. The need to pre-register was just odd and someone suggested that maybe this way the organisers are trying to avoid public liability insurance by trying to pass off SFE as a private event rather than public. We couldn’t think of what other regulation might require people to pre-register interest, but if this was the reason, then God forbid anything does happen at the event – that could potentially be as big a problem for organisers as it could for attendees. Moreover, a friend of mine was questioned as to which comm were they part of – later I learnt that the organisers were trying to ensure that no sexual predators gained access to the event. Having said this, that friend is an established, well-known figure in the wider lolita community, you’d expect someone like this to not need any additional checks to establish whether they’re legitimate or a kinkster trying to get in. Still, that entire additional screening gave off vibes that lone lolitas or those with no local comm would not be welcome due to lack of verification. The need for being 18 or over at the time of the event immediately excludes a big portion of the community, since the wider lolita community is quite young! We shouldn’t presume someone’s maturity level or financial capabilities based on age and as a community we are committed to creating a safe space, so there shouldn’t be a need for additional safeguarding of minors. Especially given the need for pre-registration and all the extra checks to ensure legitimacy of interest of all attendees. And if you really needed an age restriction, then at least lower it to 16 to allow more people to participate.

As for the ticket tiers themselves… In short, they were very expensive. Yes, the organisers have put on a lot of extras. And I do mean A LOT. Traumerei could be divided into a whopping five (or five and a half even, if I’m understanding this correctly) parts: Saturday daytime, Saturday evening, Sunday tea party, Sunday daytime and Sunday afterparty. The half is also a Saturday evening, but it’s featured only on the cheapest ticket option and is described differently to all the other Saturday evening options, so while I presume that they will take place at the same time and location, it seems that cheaper ticket holders will only have access to a restricted number of activities. There are four ticket tiers (they have long names, so I’m referring to them by past equivalents for ease): Gold at 155, Silver at €145, Bronze at €85 and sub-Bronze at €30. Given that there are all these extras, I can see why the tickets cost as much as they do – that is not quite what I have a problem with (even if Gold ticket for Saturday and Sunday at Dream Masquerade Carnival cost me something like £80 altogether, so have this for price comparison). My main issue lies with what’s included in what, the biggest irk being that the Bronze doesn’t include tea party (and no option to purchase it separately), and with the numbers available. I understand that the tea party was most likely due to venue capacity and the health and safety regulations involved with that. This is very much a personal upset, since I would’ve preferred the cheaper tickets and to add the tea party separately if possible. And again, I see why the organisers wanted a thank you pre-sale, but from my point of view the move to not have more tickets available for general release was like shooting yourself in the foot. The last TPC event also had a thank you pre-sale open to past volunteers and donators, but that was: a) a good month prior to the general release; b) restricted to the bottom two ticket tiers only, so that no-one would have an unfair advantage in getting the Gold tickets; and c) there was a set number of tickets put aside for the pre-sale, while another set number was set for the general release, again ensuring fair chances to everyone. By not doing something similar and allowing even the possibility of all tickets selling out before the general release, SFE organisers have sent a message that if you haven’t been part of SFE in the past (and there are many reasons why you might not have been), then we don’t really want you there. Now, that is not and never will be justification for harassment and doxxing of organisers! Whoever has been doing that has not only harmed themselves (news of who’s done that will spread and those people may find it hard to attend other events in Europe), but the larger community by depriving them of adding those extra tickets to the event. Having said this, the organisers would have done better by having a set number of tickets available at the pre-sale and a set one for general admission, rather than opening all the tickets up for pre-sale and allowing general admission to suffer. Which is exactly what has happened, as the few tickets that were left over sold out immediately upon the sale starting and thanks to the dickheads involved in harassment/doxxing the organisers decided not to add more tickets as originally intended. It was a lose-lose situation as far as I was concerned.

Personal opinions

I have already mentioned some things, so let me expand and add the bits that I haven’t mentioned yet.

As someone who has not attended any SFE events before, I was really looking forward to the chance of going to Traumerei. I wasn’t that involved in lolita fashion in 2014 and 2015 to even know about Enchanted or La Vie En Rose, so there’s nothing I could’ve done about that. By the time I found out about Under the Sea, it was too late for me to get a ticket from the resale thread and secure cheap travel and accommodation. And with Omnia Vanitas, it was a combination of Brexit affecting GBP-EUR exchange, the date (it was in March or April, which I was still saving for a potential Japan trip) and lack of interest from my other friends (I didn’t want to go alone, plus it’d be cheaper in group), as many prioritised Dream Masquerade Carnival. But I had heard great things about SFE events and the various reports I’d read and seen looked fun, so I was excited to plan for attending it. To feel marginalised from the very beginning by the prospect of not having any tickets left over after the pre-sale was disheartening to say the least. It turned my excitement into disappointment before any tickets were even offered for sale, as I knew that my chances would be very slim, next to none. So it’s not difficult for me to imagine that others might feel the same way, from people like me to those who have been excluded by some additional measure beyond their control (e.g. age or not ‘passing’ the additional ‘which comm are you from’ check). And by the time of the ticket tiers announcement I had already been a bit less enthusiastic as I braced myself for an expensive event due to Traumerei’s location and the cost of travel and accommodation involved.

However, between the registration and pre-sale all the announcements have progressively dampened my excitement. I might not have been able to attend any other SFE events, but I was lucky enough to go to two Tea Party Club ones, as well as Myths of Our Own and then The Grand Embassy (which was happening as Traumerei was unveiling its details – stealing thunder much?). As well as this, between 2016 and now my awareness of lolita fashion events in Europe has grown immensely, and to an extent I’ve even been able to observe the development of lolita events in North America and Japan. So when each Traumerei guest announcement unveiled someone I had either already been familiar with or who is not someone I would spend this kind of money to meet, my excitement was progressively dampened. For me meeting prominent figures from the J-fashion community is a big part of the event – and a big reason why I would spend certain price on a ticket, travel and accommodation. Yet for all my love for Triple Fortune, for all my appreciation for Imai Kira and Atelier Pierrot, and for all my sympathy for Ayumi-san from Rose Marie Seoir, these are not the kinds of guests I would spend €85-155 plus accommodation and travel to meet. Triple Fortune have been very active recently, in 2019 alone they will attend a total of three confirmed events in Europe (Paris in February, Milan in March, then Traumerei in June), so if I wanted to meet them, I would have more than ample opportunity to do so at a much more affordable price. As a casual admirer of both Imai Kira’s and Yuko Ashizawa’s work, their presence is not enough to entice me (even though I will still more than happily support them by buying their products). And as much as I like Ayumi-san, we had only ever met through my volunteering at TPC – I own two bits from her brand, but overall it’s not really my style (or size for clothing) and, again, my sympathy is not strong enough to justify the ticket price. The announcement of Nunu from Haenuli as another guest came good two weeks after that poor general release ticket sale, so while the chance to see her again may have swayed me, by that point it was too late to do anything about that. All of these people are established friends of Street Fashion Europe, they have attended SFE events (or other ones in Nunu’s case) in the past and they are not exactly new to SFE. Of course, there will be attendees who are big fans of their work or who have not had a chance to meet them yet, who will be bursting with excitement at the opportunity. But that is not me. Based on the names of the event and the ticket tiers, I had been suspecting that Baby the Stars Shine Bright designers might be announced as a guest, but they have not (as of yet?). So even though BtSSB is nowhere near my favourite brand, I would personally feel it more justifiable to spend €85 to meet them and would at least consider trying to enter the ticket bloodbath had they been announced in time. And that’s just my opinion as someone who is into lolita – I can only imagine how marginalised enthusiasts of other J-fashion styles might feel given that so far only one of those guests is not explicitly linked to lolita fashion. For an event called Street Fashion Europe, representation of other styles certainly is poor so far. And given that Oni-con this year managed to invite both Akira, Sex Pot Revenge and Bio Politics (sister brand of Royal Princess Alice), and Under the Sea included a whole segment on kimono (as well as had Akira in attendance), it’s not like it’s impossible to find non-lolita guests and get them to come over.

What was included in the various ticket tiers was also a big factor in putting me off the event. On the one hand, I dislike how only the two most expensive tickets included a tea party. I understand why that might be, but I still dislike it. It helped me understand how people who were unable to get a tea party ticket for Dream Masquerade Carnival might have felt and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone organised an alternative tea party on that day. For me the shopping and socialising (which is best done at a tea party) are the most important aspects when attending an event, so not being able to have that without the priciest tickets is off-putting. Secondly, as I read through all the things that are included in each tier, I grew tired just through reading. If you haven’t attended a big lolita event before, you would probably be starstruck at how much you get for your money. But I’ve been there and done that, and my priorities are different now. Dream Masquerade Carnival had all these extras and not only FOMO got to me to the point where I grew too exhausted to enjoy myself by the end of that first day, but I still haven’t done everything that was available (and the things I didnt do, I regret missing out on, like not getting to the photo booth and getting individual coord shot at the fancy set). Myths in Dublin might not have been that overwhelming, but it was another long event and being dressed in an OTT coordinate for so many hours is tiring in itself. Traumerei has both: it will be two long days and FOMO will exhaust you further if you try to do everything that’s included in your ticket price. Again, those who have been to lolita events before will probably have enough experience and knowledge of themselves to prioritise what they really want most. But someone attending for the first time (if indeed there are any people like this given how the ticket sale went) will fall for those traps and this could in turn impact on their overall enjoyment of the event. They might also fall for the additional trap of trying to squeeze in outfit changes during the day, as the different parts could seem almost like different events. There’s only so much fun you can have and so many bright sides of life you can look at when your feet hurt, you have a headache, you feel tired, potentially dehydrated (carry a bottle of water, people!) and just want to change into pyjamas and lie down, watching Netflix with a cup of tea and a pizza or whatever. After four large scale events I am smart enough to know what I want out of it and prioritise that, but it has come at a price of exhaustion in the past. And truth be told, as someone who likes ‘value for money’ and enjoys getting ‘bang for my buck’, if I went to an event with some unusual extras, I would probably still fall for the trap of trying to do it all because I already paid for that and it’d be a waste not to. So even I, as an experienced lolita event goer, am not immune to this, despite consciously knowing better.

In conclusion

To every complainer I always say ‘well, you do it then’. It really does take an incredible amount of time, effort, energy and people to pull off an event at this scale, and I still think that we should be grateful that there are people like the SFE team who dedicate their time and energy to do it, even if we’re not quite happy with what they’re putting out there. Feedback (given in a civil way!) is how they can grow and improve in the future, and many big events have started small (like TPC). Yes, I was very disappointed with how Traumerei has unravelled because I had really been looking forward to it and expected it to go like it had in the previous years. I’m not in a position to organise an event of this scale (or even half of this scale) myself – yet. It has been on my mind and just like that perfume workshop ILD has eventually happened, I think this might too. In the meantime, I’m making an active and conscious effort to support other, smaller events that are opening themselves up to the wider European/international audience. Myths of Our Own and The Grand Embassy were both first of their kind in their respective countries, and I sincerely hope that they will find it in them to continue and grow. There are also several others that I have had my eye on that I would like to attend, so here’s me hoping that they’ve been big enough to warrant another one in the future.

At the same time, while my own personal predictions for Traumerei are not the brightest or best, I still hope that the event continues and maybe goes back to the format and scale it has been in the past. An event that’s too exclusive will struggle to grow and risks becoming a ‘you can’t sit with us’ club. I do wish Traumerei success, so that it can continue, and I do wish that the organisers involved in it will take all the feedback they received on board to improve and make it more accessible for more people in the events to come. You are putting in a tremendous amount of effort – it would be a shame to see that stop one day.

Rant over. If you’ve survived it all the way to the end, give yourself a big pat on the back and have that chocolate you’ve been thinking about – you’ve earned it! If you have any energy left after this, I would definitely appreciate hearing your opinion. Even more so if you’re an outsider to the SFE/European lolita communities because your unique perspective might bring to light things that I hadn’t considered. I feel like we need to openly talk about and discuss the things that bother us in our communities so that we tackle and solve them instead of sweeping under the rug and allowing resentment to grow, so let’s start that discussion here, in the safe space of this small blog.


  1. Those prices are complete out, even hellocon has like over half the prize for tickets(but no 30 euro tickets). And they have attracted brands like Moite, Innocent world, Ateiler Pierrot and Trible Fortune.
    While going to Rhein area isn't bad, I do think a more central city, Hellocon has the same problem, except there is an airport.
    They could have chosen Düsseldorf, or Hamburg, both cities are really beautiful and easy to get to. And that ticket system is a catastrophy. I think earlier events in Germany has been less rigid.
    I didn't get to the Great embassy, because I don't have money for weekend in Barcelona. It would be the last plane to Barcelona and the first one home.

    1. That's exactly what I was thinking. The only other event with comparable ticket prices that I can think of might be Rufflecon, but that has ended now - and even then I feel like you got a lot more tailored content out of Rufflecon ticket than this?
      There are so many big cities with lots of national and interntional transport links in Germany: Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Koln... Yes, German public transport is very good and reliable, but you also need enough accommodation options to host around 200 people at once - and the majority of lolitas travelling to events prefer cheaper accommodation options like hostels and Air BnB's.
      That ticketing system was so bad. I remember that one of the problems they had was also present during Dream Masquerade Carnival ticket sale: once someone puts a ticket into basket, it counts as sold, even if it's not been paid for yet, and others can't buy it. But it's different when that happens during a sale with 200 tickets compared to sale with maybe 50 tickets.
      I considered doing the 'first plane in and last plane back' thing for Winter Memories in Rome. In the end I think I'm too old for this stuff now, I like having some sleep, I like not being tired - and I'd rather not travel in an OTT coord on a plane or go through passport control in an OTT coord (which may sometimes include a wig). I might do something like that when going back to Dublin sometime, since that's such a short flight for me, but not anywhere else in Europe.

  2. I feel this post sums up what a lot of people have been feeling towards this event. I'm generally not that interested in attending any more lolita events because at this point, I feel like I've seen all there is to see and done all there is to do where they're concerned. Still, when I do hear about a new one coming up I always look into the location and what the plan is. With Traumerei, the method for advertising the event rang immediate alarm bells for me; the vague posting about the location, the pointless trivia, and constant "coming soon" style posts got tedious very quickly and gave me the feeling there was something to hide (even if that wasn't the case).

    When I saw the whole "registration" thing I knew I 100% would not be going to this event, haha. it all seemed too convoluted and exclusive.

    I don't want the event to fail for the sake of the organisers and guests but I feel they need to be able to take on board some of the valid criticism, like simply being transparent from the off about the intentions behind the size and scale of the event.

    I'm glad to see the small events that have been springing up across the European community as it's nice knowing there are always alternatives people can consider instead.

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about the constant trivia and 'coming soon' stuff. I didn't mind it so much, but then again, I ignored the majority of it. It felt very artificial, just filling up the silence with white noise so that people don't forget that Traumerei is coming. I'd rather have fewer updates that were all meaningful and added something than tonnes of mostly trivia ones. I get that for those who aren't German and who might have never been to Germany, who may even have been planning a longer trip there, these little bits could've been interesting and useful, however, I feel like there's a time and place for those and a special travel and accommodation group would've been better suited than the main event page.

      I am very, very curious how it will all pan out in the end. What I've also started wondering recently is how what Traumerei has been like now will affect the next SFE event (other than in pure 'will it happen' terms). Although it's a dedicated team from all across Europe, the team on the ground always does the most work. With so little transparency and so many gossip flying around, will they even find someone willing to host SFE 2020, let alone a team able to do it? Again, I do hope that SFE lives on and that this will be just a glitch in its history, but we have to wait and see.

      For now I am really enjoying all these smaller events. There is definitely something to be said about trying too much and too hard with going big, when a simple tea party is enough. And I think I'd rather have lots of smaller events than few really big ones. Maybe it's just me getting really down by the whole climate around Brexit, but it seems to me that being invited to the smaller tea parties across Europe will ultimately bring the European lolita community much closer than one annual event could, as we'll actually be able to properly meet each other, get to know each other and forge real, meaningful friendships and relationships, rather than stop at saying 'hi' in between running from one stall to another because the organisers have packed a big event to the fullest.

      And, since it's 2019 already, let's see what will it bring on!


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