Black-Owned Brands Capsule Wardrobe

When the Black Lives Matter movement regained momentum with the protests following George Floyd’s death, many within our niche J-fashion community stepped up, sharing lists of Black-owned indie brands. Although pandemic still affects many creators, those lists are absolutely worth saving for the future as they are full of fantastic shops and people worth supporting. Sadly for me, the majority of those creators are based in the United States, so shipping alone would prevent me from purchasing, even if I was after something in particular. However, I had an idea of showing support and amplifying Black voices within our community another way.

Welcome to the second capsule wardrobe in a row! I am on a bit of a hype with these, but also I wanted to challenge myself whether it was possible to create a capsule wardrobe entirely out of Black-owned brands. There is a lot that I want to say about this, so do pause to get yourself a beverage before getting stuck in.

My Initial Concept

I went into this challenge wanting to make a sweet lolita wardrobe. Partly because as a substyle it’s simply that much harder to substitute things from offbrand shops in comparison to classic and gothic, and partly because this is the one that causes the most backlash. If white lolitas are struggling with being fetishised and objectified for wearing sweet lolitas, then we can’t even begin to comprehend the experience of Black sweet lolitas. In a world where so many will tell you - directly or indirectly - that being Black and being kawaii are incompatible, it takes incredible strength to be that visible, put yourself that much more in the spotlight for unsolicited comments and attacks from the society at large. So I wanted the capsule to celebrate the Black lolitas who embrace their love of this hyperfeminine pastel style. For the capsule I used brands listed in Buttcape’s post, as this was the most accessible, as well as very comprehensive.

The Capsule and the Reality

Once I started putting the capsule together, I realised two key things that affected this capsule.

Firstly, that there weren’t enough pieces within the colour scheme and style I was after (sweet in lavender with white and black). This is partly due to many of the apparel brands being focused on other things: gothic and classic for lolita brands and streetwear and wider J-fashion styles for the brands carrying pastel clothing. I was also limited to the stock photos that I could find and edit, which involved more digging around as many shops are currently closed. This resulted in a change of direction to shades of purple with white and black as supporting colours. This also meant expanding from just sweet to a sweet and classic wardrobe.

Secondly, there were some items that are crucial to a lolita wardrobe that those brands simply don’t carry. On the whole this is a result either of what an independent creator is realistically able to produce (jewellery is so much easier to make than clothing, and clothing is much easier than shoes or bags) or of what style the brands were catering to (e.g. printed legwear in pastel colours is more common amongst wider J-fashion style brands, which in turn tends to be a bit too decora to blend well with sweet and classic lolita). Chances are that these Black-owned brands probably do carry some of the smaller bits I’ve substituted, but they didn’t have stock pictures of them that I could find, especially as these are easy filler stock for convention stalls that doesn’t necessarily end up in shops. As such, where I could, I tried to make my substitutes from other Black-owned companies - where I couldn’t, I simply went with other indie brands in the spirit of supporting small creators, which this capsule is very much about. A real-life lolita would shop around from various sources and shops, supplementing pieces from wherever they could and with whatever they enjoyed. But allowing myself to use shops listing their wares on Taobao or Japanese brands seemed like a copout for this particular challenge, so I did the best that I could.

Lastly, just like in my previous capsule wardrobe post, I did not include any jewellery purely in order to keep the collage as clear as possible. Having said this, so many of the brands on Buttcape’s list are making jewellery for all lolita substyles. I constantly hear lolitas complain how they need more accessories and a few rings and necklaces will not set you back as much as a blouse or a dress, but it will still support an indie creator whilst filling out gaps in your collection. So do check the brands on that list, if you haven’t already, and shop accessories to your heart’s content!

Where Are These Pieces From?

This could get quite lengthy, so I will keep it brief and to a list. As this post aims to promote Black-owned kawaii brands, I will only link to items or source photos for those (not everything in this capsule was currently available for sale or from recent stock). For all other items I will credit the brand, but I will only add links for the Black-owned ones. Otherwise I will provide you with the platform I found these items on.

A Few Coordinates

Sadly, the quality of the images that I was able to find varied very much, so these collages aren’t the best. I am very much an amateur of image editing, so I did the best that I could. Still, it was important for me to show some examples of what this capsule has to offer, both to prove that it is working and to showcase how well the creations of these various Black creators go together, that they can make coordinates as fancy as any other indie brands.

DollBe My Tea Table JSK

The coordinates for this JSK simply put themselves together. You may dislike black base with pastel dresses and honestly, I’m not usually a fan either. But I appreciate that this is a valid look and can totally imagine a few of my friends wearing those.

Ivy Frozen Productions Unicorn Tapestry JSK

Ugh, I am so mad that this designer doesn’t have typical stock photos! Yes, the photoshoots (which I presume were done post fashion shows at events) are gorgeous, but that doesn’t come across well here where you can see the hand I had to chop off. There was also a gorgeous lavender version of this JSK, in a somewhat fancier cut, but every photo of that had the model’s braid right across the bodice! So make sure to check out this brand’s Facebook and website to see the full photos and truly appreciate how lovely their dresses are.

However, that tangent aside, I love how both the cut and the print of this JSK remain on the simple side. This really allows you to dress it up or down, which I hope is evident here - despite that glaring gap where the model’s hand was!

Sugar Trampoline Purple Daisy Gingham skirt

Whilst the attempt at making this skirt be part of a fancy, elegant coord is a bit forced, I don’t think it’s a bad WIP example. Some accessories and extra layers, like maybe an overskirt, could zhuzh it up enough to bring it to that fancy level. In hindsight, maybe it would’ve been better with the ivory headdress instead for fancy vibes. Anyhow, the skirt is there to add a much needed casual option, as well as balance out the sweet ones. It simply can’t hurt to try something outside the box with it.

Lilith et Adalia Natasha OP

Dark shades of purple are very much underappreciated and underrepresented in lolita fashion, which is such a shame. As this OP demonstrates, the rich shade is enough to make any coord seem immediately a lot more elegant, refined and mature. Even with just a simple bow barrette this still looks good enough for a fancy tea party. And that is exactly why it’s good to have at least one OP in your wardrobe.

As you can see, although there are arguably still some gaps in the capsule, it offers a good variety of styles. This is in no small part to the blouses from Elegy. The high neck cuts in long and short sleeves work great for both sweet and classic coordinates, making for a perfect neutral base.

Final Thoughts

Whilst making a more gothic and/or classic capsule would have probably been a little easier, I believe that I would’ve encountered the same issues when it came to legwear, shoes and bags. And I wouldn’t have been able to shoehorn that adorable plush bear bag, which I really, really wanted to include because it’s such a perfect example of sweet lolita’s love for aesthetic over practicality without the Usakumya price tag. I also think that it is more realistic to show a wardrobe that includes styles that are significantly different from each other, since this is what many of us are like. Just because something is from two different styles doesn’t mean that it can’t be complimentary, which I hope this has showcased well.

Lastly, these are merely some examples of the fantastic creations these Black-owned indie creators have. As is no doubts standard whenever one makes a hypothetical capsule wardrobe, I ended up with a few things catching my eye, as well as some mental notes for brands to remember for later. It’s vital to keep an open mind because independent creators evolve and change - even many of these have started off years back making things that are very different to what they produce now. So whilst you may not feel like purchasing anything from them now, if you at least like their craftsmanship and quality, keep them bookmarked somewhere and follow them on social media, so that when they do create something you like, you don’t miss out on it.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this post and this capsule wardrobe. The above is only a snapshot of only a handful of Black-owned J-fashion brands. If you have any other ones that you particularly like, leave me some links in the comments, please!


  1. This post was a delight. This is such a creative way of showing support for black owned brands! Reminds me of a print magazine showing you the latest trends for the summer haha.

    I absolutely love that second coordinate with one of my skirts; I never would have thought to pair gingham with patterned tights like that but it looks so damn cute! Why haven't I tried this sooner!? Generally speaking you have a real eye when it comes to experimenting with lolita fashion and would make an amazing stylist <3

    1. I am so, so glad that you liked this post! When the lists of Black-owned J-fashion brands first started making rounds on social media, I thought about what lolitas and their shopping habits are actually like. So many only shop indie brands at events, where they can see the pieces in person. Otherwise indie brands across the board lose out to big Japanese brands (because clout) or Chinese brands (because they're lower price), using excuses such as "are the stock photos accurate" and "this is too expensive for me" (which completely ignores the real cost of garments!). I thought that a capsule wardrobe with nothing but Black-owned brands (or as little of it as possible) would be a better way to encourage people to support through actual purchases because now they could see these pieces 'at work', so to speak, instead of in isolation.
      Haha, I would totally love it if this could be a magazine spread! "S/S 2020 trend: Bringing the Activism Back to the Kawaii". Maybe JBTK or Kei Club would print this?

      You probably haven't tried this sooner because we're taught everywhere to not mix patterns because that clashes. And gingham has such a strong mental image of certain themes that I doubt many people think outside the box with it. It took my thinking that these cow spots looked like clouds to even include those tights in the first place. And now that I think about it, if we associate gingham with country lolita and cows live in the countryside... Well, this was just meant to be! If I had a straw hat in this capsule, I would soooo put together a cow-lita country (or maybe even cowboy?) coordinate!

      And thank you so much! If being a lolita fashion stylist was a possible job, it would be a dream one! Trying out new things with my own clothes and pushing myself to put together coordinates that aren't typical in our fashion is something that I enjoy myself, it keeps the fashion so much more interesting and so much more of a creative outlet for me. So your kind words mean a lot to me :)

      I hope you are keeping well, if we're getting some sunshine and warmth up North, then hopefully your neck of the woods is also having some summer bring a bit of positivity to you xx

    2. This is so true! It's really difficult to compete with huge "status" brands who mass produce pieces, have an array of custom designed prints, and particularly with the Chinese brands, are able to keep the prices incredibly low. To sell any of my skirts (which I was bored of looking at after watching them not sell for years) I had to reduce the price to the point where I don't really make any money on them so am very hesitant to do further releases as it's a complete waste of my time lol. We'll see!

      The funny thing is I clash prints all the time! I think it's more to do with the fact it's a pastel gingham; I'm much more at home with pattern clashing when the pattern has black in it!

      I love the connection between the cow spots and the countryside, and how they are also evocative of clouds! This is the kind of creativity I'm talking about! The way you think about fashion is fantastic.

      I've never been that excited by coordinates consisting of an entire matching set as it doesn't really let you in on someone's individual style-- it's just the outfit that the brand put together. Experimentation is what helps a fashion evolve and stay fresh, and I think it helps to maintain a "street fashion" vibe that the more cookie cutter looks don't.

      Than you dear, I'm dealing with a lot but trying to stay positive. Sending my love to you up north! Hope we can hang out when this pandemic is over! xx

    3. That absolutely sucks! I think every person starting their own brand knows that competing with big names/cheaper labels will be a struggle and that it takes time, but it's still heartbreaking when you are forced to make those decisions: sell at a loss or potentially hold onto it for years. Maybe if you were to do releases in the future, a pre-order route would be better, so that at least you're not holding onto stock hoping for it to sell.

      I agree with you on the matching set coords. They have a place in this world and they are valid, but that's not what excites me. To me if there is no challenge in there (*could I* make X with Y?) and no attempt at wearing the piece differently than I have before, then I tend to scrap the idea. The reason FRUiTS and KERA street snaps from the 90s are still so inspiring to look at is because people weren't wearing pre-made sets designed to go together - they wore patterns that clashed, threw together things from different styles of fashions, thought about colours and accessories outside the box. Sometimes even having one different lens to look at lolita, whether that's from something somewhat related (like larme or vintage fashions) or completely different (cyberpunk? cowboys? streetwear?), is enough to give it a fresh take.

      It would be so good to hang out post-pandemic! I keep meaning to make a trip to Oxford anyway and from there it's just a short hop over to yours. And let me know if you ever find yourself on a train bound for Manchester! xx


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