The Importance of Lolita Fashion Publications & Their Impact


There’s been so many other things to write about (and one or two prompts I wasn’t interested in) that it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Lolita Blog Carnival topic. It’s great to do one again and this week we are discussing the importance and impact of lolita fashion publications.

Magazines, easily the most common example of publications, have long been a part of the lolita fashion community. Gothic and Lolita Bible and KERA have started out as our sources of new release information and continued as sources of inspiration and other news and information. Now this legacy is primarily carried by Girlism and tulle. Having a magazine dedicated to the fashion we participate in helps establish a sense of group identity beyond just your circle of friends. They are physical proof that ‘this is not a phase, mom’ and that it’s an interest of a wider group of people. This is something that all niche hobbies and interests once had and as someone growing up with plenty of those in the 90s and 00s, I feel it was a mark of validation when your particular hobby, however big or small, had its own dedicated magazine.

Publications like FRUiTS and KERA gave a platform to people, who previously may have thought they were alone in their love for fashions that stand out.
The format of the newer lolita fashion magazines is pretty much the same as it was in GLB and KERA. While this is mostly because of how fashion magazines generally are set out in Japan, they have helped create certain things which are now inherent parts of lolita fashion and its community. Street snaps is likely the biggest legacy of those publications – many lolitas nowadays continue to strive for that street snap look to their photos and admire the organic feel they have. On the other hand, things such as hair and makeup tutorials geared specifically for our style have helped shape our idea of what is part of a lolita look or not. Again, much of that is more to do with what’s popular in Japan, but as those magazines promoted a simpler, more natural, feminine style of makeup, which was in big contrast to makeup trends in the West which tends to be bolder and more colourful, we got the idea that lolitas should wear natural makeup instead of thick paint. Some of that notion still prevails today, even though most of the times we agree that you can do whatever as long as you maintain basic hygiene, yet consistent promotion of those makeup looks in the magazines we looked up to for inspiration has had a big impact.

The snaps these days may mostly be staged or taken from social media - but they are still a regular feature!
Of course, it’s important here to acknowledge that publications are not exclusively on paper. Although we still have those thanks to Girlism and tulle, the majority of lolita publications these days are digital, keeping up with the times. KERA continues as website and we have blogs such as Wunderwelt Libre and a plethora of respected YouTubers that cater to our content needs. As a digital platform, KERA has been able to focus more on news and recommendations for places to eat or visit that are suitable for J-fashion enthusiasts, as well as do more detailed (albeit staged) street snaps, which give the photo subjects an opportunity and a voice to say something more about their outfits and themselves. They have also acknowledged their international audience by having a dedicated tab for all sorts of articles by international authors. And then on the other end of the spectrum lolitas from within our communities dedicate their own time and effort to produce interesting and informative content on YouTube. Having a balance between more top-down content such as KERA Online and grassroots things as that from YouTubers means that whether a lolita is looking for advice, information or inspiration, there is a reliable source of this that’s instantly accessible whenever and wherever you have an internet connection.

Screenshot of the Kera Style website as of May 9th. The magazine's content carries on in digital form.
And the impact of that? For one, the newcomers to the fashion start off with much better coords. The number of genuinely lovely, even if simple, first time coords is astonishing, as people can binge videos from the likes of Lovely Lor and learn what mistakes to avoid. I would like to think that this also brings us closer together as a global community. Whilst browsing a physical magazine together with your comm is fun, it only gets you so far. Comments on videos such as Last Week Lolita News attract audience from a variety of countries across the world, while thanks to a recommendation on KERA businesses in Japan may experience a spike of non-Japanese lolita visitors who have discovered it that way. We have more opportunities to connect thanks to these digital publications and I feel like we are taking advantage out of them.

A while back a brave soul on Rufflechat attempted to create a masterlist of all YouTube channels talking about lolita. This screenshot was taken on May 9th and the current count stands at 169 entries. We have more content created for us than ever!

On the flipside of this, it can make lolita feel like a much more fast paced fashion than previously. This can be said of any subculture, since it’s a symptom of living in this day and age, although in smaller, niche communities the FOMO effect and pressure are no less difficult to deal with than in mainstream society. Lolita fashion has gone from having to wait for someone to scan release info from GLB magazines to getting them instantly on the day of publication. And as we are getting more outlets for information about this fashion, it can feel harder to keep up. Newcomers may feel more pressure to build a coord, since it seems like there’s one release after another, as well as to make their first coord much more polished for the sake of likes on social media. I have already seen long-timers express disenchantment with the pace of new releases, which often is not reflected in the quality of the products, and many have turned to old school lolita out of longing for the times when this fashion was simpler, both in how it actually looked and how the community felt back then. Lolita fashion continues at the same pace as mainstream fashion, from one Instagram picture from a celebrity to a new video from your favourite YouTuber, but since against the mainstream there are much fewer of us, it takes less to feel as if everyone is in on something when you’re not.

Facebook pages like Chinese Lolita Updatess post several times daily. That's the furious pace the Chinese brands are going at - and we are getting it live in real time, mere hours after the updates being shared. That's enough to give people a serious case of FOMO.
What do you thing the effect and impact of lolita fashion publications has been? Do you think digital ones affect our community differently to physical paper ones? As always with the Lolita Blog Carnival prompts, make sure to check out what the other participating bloggers have to say:

1 comment:

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