tirsdag den 27. november 2012

Lolita Secret Santa

December is seriously my favorite month of the year. I love the warm atmosphere, the annual baking of christmas cookies together with my family, picking out a christmas tree, decorating it all together and watching the 24 episode christmas series in tv every night until christmas eve. What I also love is the annual Secret Santa tradition that my local Lolita community has made! Actually, I have yet to be able to participate. This year I can't because I'm in the US and won't return to Denmark until mid-December! But I've been looking around and doing a lot of thinking so that I'm well prepared for next years fun! This is my list for all of you Lolita Secret Santas out there, or those of you who want to shower your Lolita friend or significant other with little surprises throughout December! I tried to include something for everybody. Happy holidays!

1. Chocomint hairclips or rings are perfect for the OTT Sweet Lolita or those who just love a little sugar in their lives! Chocomint accessories are relatively inexpensive even though they're fancy and popular (Most is below $10.) 
Similar accessories can be found in this shop!

2. Cute soaps are a lovely little piece of luxury! They can be found in all kinds of shapes. My favorites are ones that look like cookies or biscuits. These days I am in love with the ones from Mrs. Brown's Bath Bakery.

3. Most everybody has a cell phone these days, so finding a cell phone charm that fits your Lolita friend's style should be easy. A dessert-shaped charm for a sweet Lolita, an elegant silver cross for your gothic Lolita friend, or one that looks like a victorian tea cup for a classic Lolita!

4. Deco'ing (is that a verb?) is very popular these days, so how about surprising your friend with a creative gift of decoden supplies? Decoden is not just an excuse for the sweet Lolita to cover everything in fake whipped cream (as much as we love that!)
 You can find Gothic and Classic Lolita chique decoden too, with ornaments like elegant roses and rhinestones!

5. It is no secret that Lolitas take time getting ready, and a pocket-sized mirror is essential for touching up make-up when you're out and about! If your friend doesn't already have a fancy mirror, it would be a very thoughtful gift!

5. Antique tea cups or picture frames are charming, inexpensive gifts! In general, going antiquing for a Secret Santa present could be a good idea, especially if your friend is a Classic Lolita with a love for the victorian and romantic. Your friend will get something unique and at the same time know that you put effort into finding something just for them! 

6. If your friend is not allergic to them, scented candles are very charming! You can find them in all kinds of creative scents, from sweet cupcakes to flowers. 

7. You knew this was coming: Home-baked goodies! Anything from cookies or macarons to a caramel apple would probably make your friend very happy if he or she has a sweet tooth. You can wrap it all up in a way that suits your friends style, with a cute and secretive note, or cut the cookies out in cute or spooky shapes!

In general, things that you've made yourself, be it jewelry, a headbow, a short-story or some kind of artwork, are always extra special! I warmly recommend sharing your talent with other people in this way, if you are in any way creatively inclined!

I hope that my list above inspired you to get out there and spread some happiness and holiday spirit! Good luck staying "Secret" until Christmas Day!
Merry Early Christmas!

Original Picture is by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

tirsdag den 20. november 2012

My very special Thanksgiving

Original picture from venere.com
I'm gonna be out of town for a couple of days, like so many other people, to enjoy my very special American Thanksgiving with my host parent's family! Which sadly means that there won't be any posts on Thursday/Friday and Sunday, but fear not! I will still be writing posts while I'm gone, the old-fashioned pen and paper way, if my host parents don't succeed in dragging me away from my corner all the time, and I will start updating at my regular schedule again when I get back, which I will be on Monday!

Well, what am I thankful for on this, my official American Thanksgiving, apart from my family and friends and good health? 

I am very thankful that I got to go to the US for so long! It has helped me grow a lot as a person. My stay is soon over, but I got to meet so many wonderful people, including a local Lolita community that is so different from my own, but all very welcome and sweet! I look forward to one final adventure with you girls, if all go well! I am also very thankful that despite the fact that I've been away from my own, local community for so long, I have not been forgotten! I still have a lovely community to go home to, and I miss them all dearly!

I am very thankful that my love for Lolita is still going strong, and that it has served to fuel my interest in historical fashions and history in general, so that I am more sure than ever that history is what I want to go to the university to study, and a topic that I want to continue to pursue for many years to come! Even when I grow out of Lolita, which I probably will sooner or later, though  hopefully later, I will continue to keep a part of this lovely fashion with me, through my interest in the history that inspired Lolita in the first place.

In the smaller category, I am thankful that I recently rediscovered my love for Taobao, and that I with the help of my hostmom has lost enough weight that I can start looking at brandpieces and will not actually need the customsize option on Taobao as much! My trip to the US finally gave me the push that I needed to lose weight and become so much more healthy and happy! I feel more confident than before, and that Brand sizes are a lot more Me-friendly now than I thought they would be, is of course only a nice plus. 

I am thankful that I have accepting parents who, while they do not like Lolita fashion and would rather see me dress like a "normal girl", do not demand that I quit and they never have. I am also thankful that my host parents have been the same way during my stay! I have not had as much time to dress up as I had hoped I would, but when I did have time, I have been able to dress up to the nines with no disapproving looks thrown my way!

On a fully unrelated note: I am so thankful that I have been introduced to Doctor Who during my stay! I will continue watching when I go home! It is a lot less complicated to follow than I had thought it would be, even if I have missed about 50 or so years of the series. 
I think a Doctor Who JSK will be one of my first Lolita related sewing projects.

And last, but not least: I am so thankful that I have gained 31 wonderful followers! I hope you girls enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it! You have been a great inspiration for me, from getting me to write more and get my reflections down, to reading more books and old fairytales!

I hope all of you girls will have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will get back to preparing for my Thanksgiving trip! Hopefully it will be just as magical as I imagine!
See you on Monday!

Thank you to the wonderful Miss Lumpy/Aly for your blog, one of the many that inspired me as a Lolita, and to start a blog of my own. I am sure I am far from the only one that is sad to see you leave. Good luck in the future, wherever it will take you!

søndag den 18. november 2012

Wank Comms: "Oh No! I Got Posted!"

Original picture from 123rf.com
Opinions are split when it comes to the so-called "Wank Communities" that haunts our fashion. Many people do not like them and try to avoid them, some people thrive on the drama that they create, and some people again use them to get their "drama fix" or to let of some steam.
But what is the point of Wank Communities? Why do they exist?
Let's use two of the more well-known communities as examples.

Behind the Bows
"Behind the Bows", or BTB for short, is a livejournal-based community which purpose is to serve as a place to which people can send in anonymous "secrets" or "confessions" that they are not brave enough to (or just do not want to) discuss with their name attached to it. Sadly, people tend to take advantage of the anonymity and send in fake secrets just for the sake of stirring up drama. BTB is also way too often used as a place for angry Lolitas to humiliate and hurt other Lolitas, which is fairly easy as they can publicly drag other people through the mud and won't have to take responsibility for their words. 
Personally, I like the concept of the community in itself. It could be neatly used as community where Lolitas could anonymously discuss lighter and "heavier" issues that we have in our international community, but the anonymity that attracts people is also what is pulling the concept apart, and has turned it into the drama-machine that it is today. It is simply too hard for the moderators to sort the fake secrets from the real ones, and to me, the personal attacks are wholly unnecessary and doesn't add anything of value to the community. 
I won't say that Behind the Bows is purely bad, though! Some secrets, even the fake ones, do bring up some interesting discussions on all kinds of issues that our community faces! 
The secrets have hidden gold mixed in with all sorts of rotten mush.

Get Off EGL
"Get Off Egl" is another livejournal-based community. It has been around since 2007 and serves as a place for Lolitas to discuss and make fun of the actions of people who come in and disturb the peace of the huge, international EGL community (and occasionally other communities). The topics of discussion can be anyone from scammers on the EGL Comm Sales to newbies who ask too many questions or people who post things that are irrelevant, strange or offensive. While the purpose of this community is not at all "noble", I think Get Off Egl serves an indirect purpose of being a secondary EGL "police". The idea of ending up on this community and getting discussed might make some people think twice about what they post and make them check the "memories" one more time. The tone on Get Off Egl only seems to get really harsh when the "offense" posted is something harsh, for example a scammer. The less hostile tone might be due to the banning of anonymous posting, which in my opinion, is worth it. I have seen people get posted for lesser things, like being a new Lolita with a not-so-perfect first coord, which is definetely a minus to me. Stay classy, girls!

How do you handle it if you end up posted in one of these communities?
First of all: Do not panic and type out something that you will regret. Close the window and complain about the post to a friend or someone else that you're close to, if you feel the need to do so. Get an honest second opinion if someone you know, and is on friendly terms with, is familiar with the situation. Cool down and reflect on the situation. What did you do to get posted? Did you make some kind of mistake that caused someone else to be frustrated or annoyed with you? If you did, you can choose to join the discussion and own up to it. Be the mature person in the conversation and do not let whatever insults they might have slung at you get to you. Do not get into an argument or sink down to their level! 
Why should you take insults from some person on the internet to heart, anyway? Especially if you haven't done anything wrong at all! If someone dislikes your coord and chooses to insult you online, well, you're not the one with the problem. The poster could have chosen to give you some constructive criticism, but chose to try and hurt you and poke fun of you in public instead. That person is not someone you want to make friends with, so their opinion doesn't matter.

You have another alternative to all of the above: 
You can choose to stay away from wank communities all together. Many people do, and getting involved in the drama is not a requirement for being a part of the Lolita community. 
Do whatever makes you comfortable!

Links to the communities mentioned in this post:

fredag den 16. november 2012

The Fear of Ita

Many, if not all, Lolitas are familiar with the term "Ita". They might have heard somebody who was once called an Ita, they might have seen someone or something that made them think Ita, they have probably feared being Ita at some point or another. Even so, I will explain very shortly what the term "Ita" basically means: Ita, at least in the Lolita meaning of the term, is the word for something who is painful to look at. That is also, for the most part, how I see the word used in the western Lolita communities. Though not always.

The word Ita seems to have sort of gained a broader meaning to western Lolitas. Most Lolitas, and from now on I am only speaking of the western Lolita communities unless I state otherwise, will probably agree that scratchy lace, cheap fabric, bad coordination and bad designs will make an outfit "Ew, Ita!", but some people have also started to argue that Ita-Lolita can be something else and something more than that. Some people argue that a Lolita's behavior can be Ita, or that a person's physical looks can be Ita. I think that this causes some of the sad, sad secrets and confessions I see on places like "Behind the Bows" and "Pretty Lolita Confessions", where admirers of Lolita fashion state how they're too fat to be Lolita, how they're not pale like a porcelain doll, or how they don't fit into the Lolita community because they smoke or drink or swear. Some people fear to be inherently, well, Ita. 

That, of course, stretches far beyond the more usual fear of being ita that many new Lolitas who join the community shows up carrying. That fear maybe even stems from places like the secret/confession communities that I listed above, creating a bad circle. Fear, post Confession, more Ita-fear.
 Most of the new Lolitas who fear to be Ita, and any other new Lolitas, probably do proceed into what many of us think of with dread as the infamous "Ita Phase". 
I mentioned that most of them do tumble down the cliff and end up in their Ita Phase because, well, for many people it takes practice to learn how to put together proper coordinates, and not all Lolitas do all of their homework before they eagerly try to put together their first outfits. 
I know I didn't! I wanted to be a Lolita "Right Now!", which of course also means that I have an Ita Phase to be ashamed of (and I am very relieved that I deleted all of the photos). 
Ladies and gentlemen, doing your homework before trying to get started is always a good idea!

Some Lolitas think that we should get rid of the term "Ita" all together, and that it does more harm than good. I see where they're coming from, but personally I don't agree, which may surprise some of you. I think Ita is a handy short term to quickly describe an outfit that doesn't match the Lolita aesthetic, or an item that tries half-heartedly to be Lolita, but fails miserably. Think of those bad quality, shiny "Lolita" split-wigs that you could buy in departement stores for Halloween. To me, those were pretty hillarious, though very deserving of the term "Ita"! 
But "Ita" should never be a term used to describe a persons looks, personality, or be a stamp designed to deem someone a "Bad Lolita". 
"Ita" is not new Lolitas who are trying to become a part of our fashion. They still need to learn, they do not need to be shown the door for their attempts at coordinating, or to be laughed at for trying. An outfit can be "ita" and therefore need improvements, but that doesn't make the Lolita "Ita"!
Ita is not anybody's physical looks, either. You can have any skin color, any build, any shape, and still be a great Lolita.

So to sum it up: Ita does not need to be a "fear" in new Lolitas, if we just stop using it to hurt people! Most of us went through a phase when we did not know how to coordinate well, it just takes practice and getting to know the fashion! 
Ita should only be used to describe outfits or items that does not match the Lolita aesthetic and is in need of improvement, not as an attack on people, their own looks or their personality. 
Don't take "Ita" personally or let it scare you away!
That's how I see it.

tirsdag den 13. november 2012

Lolita ain't got no Rare Candy

Original picture from media.photobucket.com
During my time as a Lolita, I've had a lot of fun checking back to this post on Parfaitdoll (Formerly known as Lolita Charm) to keep track of my "Lolita Level!"

Even though the post is very old now, I still think it is fun enough that I'd love to give it a revival here on my blog (and of course following the rules stated in the lovely Victoria Suzanne's post, except bolding the ones that apply to myself. Sorry! I hope it's ok that I share my level at the bottom instead!)

So let's go! Let me know which "Level" you are in the comments!

You’ve been to egl.
You’ve posted on egl, without an onslaught of ‘USE THE MEMORIES’ and likewise.
You’ve bought a lolita mook.
You’ve picked a favorite brand.
You’ve ordered your first item.
You’ve worn a full outfit.
You’ve worn a full outfit out in public.
You’ve worn a full outfit and posted photos of it on the Internet.
You know what JSK, OP, and cutsew all mean.
You’ve bought your first brand piece.
You know your measurements.
You know you shoe size – in American, European, and Japanese.
You know who Mr. Yan is.
You know who Mana is. (+1 points if you know his band. +2 points if you know his brand. +3 points if you know why he’s featured in every GLB. +4 if you have a shrine to him in your closet.)
You know who Maki and Asuka are. (+2 if you’ve met Maki and Asuka).
You’ve watched Kamikaze Girls. (+1 if you know the real name of this movie. +2 if you know who wrote the book this was based on. +3 if you’ve also read the manga or novel. +4 if you love the author despite his criminal record).
You own a wig. (+1 if you own more than 2.)
You own a pair of falls.
You can identify lace on the spot.
You can identify an item’s brand on the spot.
You can identify the year a dress was made by a specific brand on the spot.
You can name several different dresses or prints.
You answer stock photo requests.
You mod a lolita community.
You decorate your nails. (+1 if you wear fake nails. +2 if you make fake nails.)
You own a pair of a rocking horse shoes. (+1 if you know their abbreviation.) 22
You’ve made your own rose corsage.
You’ve made anything out of your brand dress’s waist ties.
You’ve made anything out of a matching eco tote. (+3 if you were the first one to do it, you think).
You know how to apply false eyelashes.
You know how to pronounce shirring.
You know how to pronounce Moi-meme-moitie, or Metamorphose tempes de fille.
You know a reliable shopping service.
You bid on Yahoo!Japan or Mbok.
You’ve been to a meetup.
You’ve planned a meetup.
You’ve planned a meetup with catering or more than 20 attendees.
You’ve met up with lolitas while on vacation to foreign or faraway locales.
You’ve seen a lolita fashion show.
You’ve seen a brand fashion show.
You’ve modeled in a lolita fashion show.
You’ve modeled in a brand lolita fashion show.
You wear bloomers.
You know how to make bloomers.
You tell other people to wear bloomers.
You draw lolita art, write a lolita blog, or provide the community with some sort of creative services.
You’ve taken purikura in lolita.
You’ve decorated your room/house/apartment in lolita style.
You’ve listened to lolita music.
You’ve learned kana.
You’ve learned enough Japanese to read a magazine.
You wear or own circle lenses.
You’ve been called a princess by a young child.
You’ve dressed up a friend.
You’ve convert a friend.
You’ve been in media (television, newspaper, magazine). (+2 points if it’s Japanese media.)
You’ve learned a handicraft, like jewelry making, embroidery, or sewing.
You’ve become a lolita mentor.
You’ve attended lolita events at an anime or multi-genre convention.
You’ve organized or presented lolita events at a convention.
You’ve visited a brand shop.
Trip to Japan!
You’ve dressed up and gone out alone.
You’re prepared for inclement or colder weather in lolita (coat, parasol, boots, gloves, other climate-specific items.)
You’ve learned face contouring.
You’ve made a lolita valentine.
You’ve got a lolita pen pal or online lolita friends.
You have local lolita friends.
You know how to modify clothes that don’t fit you.
You know how to dress for your body type.
You’ve been in a street snap.
You’ve been to multiple world locations of the same brand store (BABY Paris, BABY Tokyo, BABY San Francisco, etc.)
You’ve created a makeup/hair/sewing tutorial.
You’ve sold hand-created lolita goods.
You have your own lolita fashion line.
You’ve gotten a lolita haircut, style, or color.
You’ve mixed other street fashions with lolita.
You’ve thrown a lolita party/had a lolita wedding.
You’ve dressed your child/small children in lolita or kodona style.
You’ve successfully cross-dressed in lolita style at least once (boystyle for girls and girls’ clothing for guys).
You’ve lolified or made sure all the contents of your purse are cute (wallet, lipgloss, keyring, etc.)
You have a lolita pet (small dogs, cats, rabbits, exotic birds, fancy fish) or have dressed/accessorized your pet (bows or pet clothes).
You’ve dressed your significant other or dated someone who dresses in J-fashion/alternative fashion.
You’ve read Alice in Wonderland. (+1 if you’ve seen the animated movie or other variations, +2 if you’ve seen more than one variation, +3 if you own more than one variation)
You’ve dressed as Alice or another Wonderland character in lolita style, or own Alice themed items.
You’ve made something from a Japanese pattern.
You’ve found, bought, or made lolita underwear (bras and panties).
You wear lolita daily, or have gone 7 days straight wearing only lolita. 

You have lolita calling cards or business cards.You play a lolita instrument (i.e., piano, violin, harp, French horn… well any instrument really.)
You can translate yen to your country’s currency in your head. (+1 if you can convert other currencies you shop with as well. +2 if you read the news to know how the yen is doing.)
You’ve sold lolita clothing online (secondhand, egl_comm_sales).
Your article or entry has been put into the egl memories.
You take photos of your outfits/daily outfit photos.
You’ve posted to daily_lolita.
You own a petticoat. (+1 if you own more than one. +2 if you wear three or more at a time).
You’ve bought a lucky pack.
You keep a style diary or look-book.
You can put together an outfit made entirely from offbrand.
You’ve bought offbrand or non-Japanese brand.

You know why to avoid Milanoo

Adorable Admirer (lvls 1 – 20) You’ve started studying or liking lolita but haven’t taken that leap of faith yet. Good luck!
Resplendant Rufflebutt (lvls 21 – 40) At home within the land of the rufflebutts and spilling frills from every edge.
Victorian Maiden (lvls 41 – 60) A classy lolita of taste and experience, who knows her way around the lolita social set.
Starry Celebrity (lvls 61 – 80) On page six of the lolita world, you’ve risen to the ring of the upper crust.
Pretty Princess (lvls 81 – 100) Lolita royalty, truly versed in the ways of the lacey ones, the lolita princesses have achieved a special level of enlightenment.
Ultimate Lolita (Boss Fight!) (lvls 100+) Wow, you’ve gotten over 100 levels? You’re the ultimate lolita with unlimited hitpoints. That’s actually a little scary…

I'm a Victorian Maiden! Pretty good, I'd say, and still working my way up! If all goes well, I can cross off a couple more within the next half a year or so when I move out to my college dorm! 

søndag den 11. november 2012

Indie Brand Interview: Ick by Industrialkitty

I've had the pleasure of interviewing the designer of the charming indie brand "Ick by Industrialkitty"! A huge thank you to the sweet ms. Emma for taking the time to answer my questions!
I hope you will enjoy this fascinating ride behind the scenes as much as I did!

Northern Star: ”Ick by Industrialkitty” is a very interesting name for such a cute brand! Why did you choose it? 
Ick by Industrialkitty: I originally sold bloomers under the livejournal username "Industrialkitty" which became my sort of calling card at meetups. Shortened, it would be "IK" which for me sounds like "Ick." The brand concept, which we hope to go into more next fall, is to use the ideas of "Lolita" fashion as a sort of framework for the more grotesque, the less cute. I discovered lolita fashion through the film, Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari), and one of my favorite scenes is when Momoko steps in poop on her way out of her country home. I like the juxtaposition of this sugary sticky sweetness with realistic absurdity. That was the inspiration for the logo, and where we hope to be going.

Above pictured is Ick by Industrialkitty's adorable, pleated Piano Key skirt!
See below for the blue colorway.

NS: It says on your page that you started sewing as a way to make Lolita clothes for yourself. What inspired you to start sewing clothes for other people, and ultimately, start your own brand?
Ick: When I first entered lolita, Metamorphose had just started to send clothing overseas. Ordering from them was a huge expensive process, just beginning to become more economical. The only way to go was a shopping service. I was in high school, I didn't yet have a job, so I couldn't buy anything, I could only make it. I had very basic sewing skills then, but took a number of classes, and began to make bloomers on commission, in addition to clothes for myself and my friends. We were made fun of very very regularly. At first, like many people who hand make lolita, I didn't understand their criticisms. I was very hurt by them. But over time it spurred me forward to analyze what these items are really made from and what determines quality. Sewing then became a point of pride for me. I ended up going to school for Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and learning about patternmaking and the design process. It was a very stressful path to take, preparing us for internships at major high fashion houses. I came out of it unsure of what to do with myself, but realizing that I am still very inspired by the softness and whimsy found in lolita. That made me decide to start my own brand. It will be very rough for awhile, but I am hoping that I will be able to do something wonderful with it. 

NS: I understood that you are apparently two people sharing the workload! What do each of you do to keep the brand going?
Ick: Yes, I do all the designing, sewing, patternmaking, business decisions, and photography. My wonderful best friend, who went with me to meetups in our early days, Tori Sturm, has amazing graphic design skills and works on the website. Without her, I would only have nice clothes! It is really really difficult to try to do these things by yourself, to not get discouraged. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful friend to help me and grace me with her great ideas!
The blue colorway of the Piano Key print radiates an Alice in Wonderland-like sense of  the cute, curious and whimsical.

NS: What would you say has been the best part of starting your own Indie Brand? What has been the most difficult?
Ick: The best part has been getting my ideas out into the world, from design to completion, on a model in a photo. That whole process really pays off to something wonderful in the end. I really enjoy creating something and watching it walk down a runway. I haven't yet had the pleasure of really making that real for Ick, but I look forward to it. The two most difficult things about this, and I really think it is a tie, is between working the business aspect of things and staying current. I made a very big point of legitimizing this as a business in the state of Illinois, which made my start-up costs more expensive. I also wrote a business plan, to help mark out the steps that were important to this business. I had a small amount of capital to start with, but the costs for something like this (when I'm not buying fabric by the piece, I'm buying by the bolt, and I had to travel to meet some of our suppliers) have really racked up. Making the decisions about what we get, who we deal with, and all that, is really really difficult. We aren't a huge fashion house, so many of these fabric companies have scoffed at dealing with us. It has been hard, but with all that bearing down on me, I haven't been paying as much attention to current trends in fashion. We are just now taking the steps to shoot with Fall collection (and it's already November!). I'm very behind schedule. I have watched other companies I've worked for have similar troubles, but you really have to stick to it in order for it to work out! Hopefully we will persevere. 
NS: Your previous works includes historical costumes and cosplay, right? Are you planning for your brand to expand into those or other areas?
Ick: Yes, I was for a number of years, a Star Wars costumer. My father was once considered to be the best Obi Wan Kenobi (Old Ben) in the entire country, and was featured in the Rose Bowl parade. I learned quite a bit of stuff from those years, from accuracy and authenticity to textiles. With the release of Episode III we sort of lost interest in that whole aspect of things, and I went off to college, which put a serious damper on costuming. I had done some anime cosplay as well, but I didn't enjoy that as much because people didn't really know who you were all the time, and it's much easier to make something that's already established, even if the process of making it is really time consuming. Around my Junior year of college, I went to a World War II reenactment at a local car museum with my father for Father's Day. I have always been really interested in this point in history (along with my dad, who was born in 1942, so he has always been very interested in WWII) but speaking with one of the reenactors really struck a cord. It is very perplexing to me that someone would want to dress up as a soldier from that time period, given how horrible so many of the situations they found themselves in were! I left the reenactment without thinking too much about it, but the person I had been talking to managed to get in touch with me, and we continued our conversations and began to date! He's now my boyfriend, but we also do World War II reenacting together. I have learned alot about his history, and how much of a struggle his people have had to bring him where he is today. It's really amazing. Through this, I've noticed quite a few loop-holes in what are made for reenactors and I've started making many of the clothing items myself. I'm hoping to soon open a small other site with that information on it, although they don't need as much of a direct point of sale. I do take inspiration from this research, though, and it finds itself very often in my work, although in less obvious ways.
Ick by Industrialkitty's Cream Ribbon Salopette, coordinated with their fluffy Marshmallow Half-Jacket

NS: Do you have any big plans for the future? Drop us some hints!
Ick: We have a bunch of photoshoots planned, with some of our summer collection and some really cool stuff for fall. I've been working with an illustrator who has provided us with some really awesome stuff, and we will be debuting that collection soon as well! Hopefully by January we will also be making raincoats! I'm very excited for that.

NS: Do you have any words of advice for other Lolitas looking to start their own Indie Brand?
Ick: Don't get discouraged! The economy is very rough right now, and it is very hard to keep people interested. Do not lose hope! Make plans, short term and long term, for how you will be doing things. Having a business plan is a very important step to running a successful business. Draft your own patterns, if you can't do that, you can't move forward as a designer, you'll just keep making the same dress! Most of all, have fun! 
Thank you again to Emma from Ick by Industrialkitty for taking the time to give us all a quick backstage glance into the busy life behind the brand!
Ick by Industrialkitty can be found on their Facebook page and their own Website!

torsdag den 8. november 2012

Why Lolitas are Tougher than your Average Jane

Original picture from gothic.stir.ac.uk
"Thus, the maiden fights. After all, to live is to fight, and to become beautiful is to become stronger." 
-Arika Takarano of Ali Project, "Gothic and Lolita Bible", Winter 2009 
This post is gonna be a small tribute to how we Lolitas fight to be fabulous and how difficult it can be to be us. We have so many crazy things that we go through, or risk going through, that "ordinary" people will probably never understand why we stick around with this fashion!
I have compiled a list of annoying Lolita problems and pet-peeves that we will all just have to deal with if we want to stay Lolitas.
These are the reasons Lolitas are tougher than the average girl!

Ill-fitting Clothes and Uncomfortable Shoes
Where ordinary people can just walk into a store and try on most pieces of clothing before they buy them, Lolitas have to send off their measurements to some company in far-away Asia and trust that they can figure it out. The only other alternative is to rely on the (not always accurate) measurements provided by the seller, and sometimes when a Lolita finally receives her item (after a long, long period of anxious waiting), well, the Lolita may just discover that that particular shade of pink is not her color at all, that the skirt is too short, or that she should never, ever consider buying something with a sweetheart neckline again. The same thing goes for shoes. Especially Bodyline has horribly inaccurate sizing at times, and lets face it, Lolita shoes were just not made for long Shopping Meet-ups with hours of walking. 
But as they say, if you wanna be beautiful, you'll have to suffer!

Obnoxious Cameras
When Lolitas are out and about, they often have to deal with paparazzis. Not actual professional ones, but curious people who just won't take "no" or an icy glance for an answer. You can try to escape, you can try to hide, but some people are creepily persistent and are not gonna give up until they get that perfect snapshot of the strange girl in the pink wig so that they can giggle with their friends about it later, or whatever else people use those pictures for. 
Some people may find the hunt to be very flattering, but to me, that is definetely up for discussion.

Getting Stuck and Knocking Everything Over
Petticoats that get stuck in car doors, ribbon bows getting stuck on doorhandles (this happens to me all the time in a particular skirt of mine), trying to leave a fancy restaurant but knocking over a candle and setting the tablecloth on fire, or knocking over a cup of hot cocoa and staining your friends new skirt. 
All of the above are very real risks to even the least clumsy of Lolitas!

Stains, and Prints that bleed
The frustration when someone (or your unfortunate self) spills something on your Lolita can be enormous, especially if your JSK has a print that is well-known to bleed if someone as much as dares to whispers the word "water".

Fees, Customs and Inflated Prices
There you see it. Your dream dress, up for grabs on Mbok! It is your lucky day! Well, or so you thought, until you saw the price. Resale values can sky rocket high above the original sales price, but if you want the dress, you'll just have to suck it up, knowing that shipping costs, shopping-service fees and customs are only going to add to the price in the end. 
Just don't think about how much cute stuff you could have bought on Taobao instead. It will make your wallet cry.

And these are just to name a few! 
 Being a Lolita can be delightfully sweet and horribly difficult, but we are tough and we stick around because we love our fashion enough to not worry so much about the little things above. 
But wow, can they be tiring when they happen!

What hardships do you hate to face, but deal with anyway, as a Lolita? 

tirsdag den 6. november 2012

New Release: BTSSB/AATP and Disney Collab!

Picture from baby-aatp.blogspot.com
Recently, Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Alice and the Pirates did a collaboration with none other than Disney and their Alice in Wonderland franchise in celebration of Disney's 110th Birthday! I know it might not exactly be news to everybody anymore, but since I love especially Alice and the Pirate's take on this collaboration, I thought I'd talk a little about it anyway! I would say this series is pretty good for people with slightly larger measurements, but the pieces are still a little on the short side. 
This collab was released exclusively in Japan, but that doesn't prevent you from keeping an eye on Mbok and Yahoo!Japan anyway, or taking contact to a Shopping Service! 
Now, onto the pieces!

Picture from babyssb.co.jp
Baby the Stars Shine Bright has released a jumperskirt, a one piece (Though only for sale at Disneystore Japan) as well as a very simple skirt for this print. The print is available in colorways appropriately named after characters from Alice in Wonderland: March Hare (ivory), Cheshire (pink), Alice (sax), Queen of Hearts (red) and Hatter (black). The little scenes of the borderprints are printed in color so they look a bit like stills from the animated movie. In a sense I think it is very appropriate for a collaboration like this, but I'm not a big fan of the look, as the colors of the print doesn't match well with every colorway, even if they have adjusted the background color a little bit. The greenish background color of the print looks especially out of place in the pink colorway! My favorite colorway is the red one. I think that the brown accents of the print contrasts compliments the deep red color, and the beautiful design of the print on the bodice and upper-skirt part is not as washed out as on the pink one. I love the striped straps on the JSK and the little charm on the satin bow! (It is though a little unfortunate how not-symmetric the waist-bow looks)
I don't have much to say about the OP. I find it to be a very classic Baby the Stars Shine Bright design, though I do love how it looks like you're wearing a blouse under the OP! The Peter Pan collar is adorable and I like the bustle at the back of the skirt-part. It is quite OTT, but in an old-school sort of way.

Picture from babyssb.co.jp
Alice and the Pirates' has released 2 JSK's and a simple skirt for this series. One of the Jumperskirts, however, can only be purchased from Disneystore Japan. Their take on the collaboration looks, though drawn in the same style as the animated movie, a bit more like storybook illustrations as they chose to leave out the colors. The crowns are a very beautiful touch, and impressively detailed, and they seem to me to be classic Alice and the Pirates',which I personally love! I think the icy-blue colorway of the JSK on AATP's own website is very interesting and contrasts well with the use of black corset-lacing and ribbon-detailing on the bottom of the JSK, though the deep navy colorway comes in as a close second. I'm not a big fan of the rounded cut of the bodice, however. I think it looks a bit awkward on some of the photos, though it might look better in person. The little striped bow is a very cute and fitting detail! For the Disneystore JSK I think the bustled skirt is very cute, though I'm not a fan of the lace on the bodice. It is a very elegant cut, though.

Picture from Disneystore.co.jp
While is doesn't look like Baby or AATP released any specifically Lolita accessories for this line, they did collaborate with Disney and a company called Crystal Ball to make a line of pouches, totes and wallets in an Alice in Wonderland style print (also only for sale at Disneystore Japan). Personally, I think they would have looked a lot better without the light-brown Crystal Ball logo and details (but I understand they have to put the logo somewhere), and of course with more frills!

Personally, I like Alice and the Pirate's version of the print better, and will definetely be keeping an eye out to see if I can find it on the second hand market! The crowns kind of sold it to me.

So, what are your thoughts on this collaboration? Are you gonna try and see if you can snatch a piece up somewhere too or is it not worth the trouble? 

søndag den 4. november 2012

Prints I'd Buy in a Heartbeat

Original picture from bdbphotos.com
I've seen posts like these on multiple blogs I've been following, and have for a long time been dying to do a post where I could share my own "Dream Prints"! 
It's no secret that prints are the "It"-thing for Lolita fashion right now, but there are certain print themes that I feel have been unfairly overlooked, and that need to be made so they can end up in my closet right now!

Picture from Glogster.com
1. A Leonardo da Vinci-Print
A passion of mine that goes hand in hand with my love for Lolita fashion, is my passion for History, and especially this genius inventor! I would love to see a Renaissance-fashion style OP or JSK for this, and the skirt should be printed with sketches of Leonardo da Vinci's brilliant inventions and maybe some of his funny, quirky poetry, short stories or wordplays! I'm not sure which brand I would imagine making something like this, though. Maybe a cool Indie Brand could pull it off!

Picture from Wikipedia.org
2. A new "Beauty and the Beast"-Print
I know this has actually been done before (Beauty and the Rose Promise by AATP) but I wasn't that fond of the way they executed it. I'm imagining something more elaborate for this print, with beautiful illustrations of scenes from the story! A design a little more like a mixture of BTSSB's Snow Queen series and their Rapunzel-themed print. I'm dying to see how they would portray the beast!

Picture from Wikimedia.org
3. An "Interview with the Vampire"-Print
This is probably a lot less likely to happen than even my Leonardo da Vinci idea, but I would love and cherish this forever! I'm a huge fan of the "Interview with the Vampire"-book, and I feel like especially the 1900-century parts of the book, in New Orleans, has got many great scenes to offer a print. (
"The Vampire Lestat" would actually be just as good!) 
I imagine the dresses for this print to be very detailed and aristocratic, with gold buttons and jewels, a vest-like bodice and embroidery, or inspired by the doll-like, frilly dresses worn by Claudia! I could see Alice and the Pirates work magic with this idea! Oh, a girl can dream..

So, these would be my 3 most wished-for prints! Which prints would you love to see made, if you had your way?

fredag den 2. november 2012

Fairytale Lessons: The Little Mermaid

First I'd like to say that I'm very sorry for my late post today! The last couple of days I've been kept very busy, especially with my Once in a Lifetime American Halloween! For those of you who don't know, I'm currently spending 4 months in the US, and Halloween is The Event for me while I'm here! Of course I'm now a hundred percent sure it's a tradition I'll be bringing with me back to Denmark!
 Enough about that. I've decided I'm gonna start a new series of posts, focusing on traditional fairytales that have been turned into Disney movies! 
This post is gonna be about The Little Mermaid, a fairytale that I've been incredibly curious about, since it's danish and I've pretty much grown up with it, but for some reason never read it before!

If you wanna read it yourself, I suggest you do so before reading this post! It contains spoilers!

The Little Mermaid by H.C. Andersen is a very interesting piece of litterature, especially if you have watched the disney movie and compare the two. I feel like whereas the Disney movie is your traditional "Love Conquers All" animated childrens movie, and even though the fairytale and the disney movie are very similar in many ways, the fairytale is so much more than a love story.

Our sea-dwelling heroine has always been fascinated by the world above, but as she is the youngest of her siblings, she also has to wait the longest before she can go and take a look at it herself. She is fascinated by the tales that her older sisters has to tell when they come back from their trips to the surface, but she is especially touched by what her grandmother tells her one day: People have souls, though mermaids do not, and when humans die, they get to live forever in a kingdom in the sky!

The little Mermaid's wish to gain a soul and that wish, and her sudden infatuation with a young prince that she saves from drowning, is the final push for her that makes her go see the witch and strike a horrible deal that gives her legs and a chance to win the heart of the prince, but ends up costing her her life in the end. 

It may not sound like it, but in my opinion this story is about so much more than just a rebellious teenage girl running away from home for the sake of some young boy she doesn't even know. Before she even met the guy, she had a strong passion and longing for the world above the ocean. He is just the thing that gives her the courage to follow her dream! Had she never met the prince, she would probably have stayed in the ocean with the rest of her family, safe and sound, but always wondering what her life could have been like if she just had the courage to go. He is the one who shows her the world above, and that actually makes her happy!

In the end her adventure leads her to a difficult choice: Will she kill the prince who overlooked her as a potential match and married someone else, forget about her mistake and go home, or will she own up to what she has brought on herself and let him be happy? 
Because of the goodness of her heart, her sacrifice and her strength, she gets the chance to earn a soul, and eternal life! 
She dies, yes, but her death is obviously not supposed to be a punishment. Instead, it defies the curse of the witch and gives our heroine a new beginning.

Another small, but important, point that I think this story gets across is this:
When the prince finally again meets the woman he has loved for a long time, the Little Mermaid seems jealous, yes, but the "other woman", the princess, is obviously not supposed to be a villain in the story. She is shown as being beautiful and lovable. The little Mermaid could have had her revenge on the girl in the end, even if she didn't want to kill the prince. She does nothing to harm her or divert the prince's attention from her, but instead 
accepts the other girl as the one who will make the prince happy, and kisses her forehead. I think this is a wonderful lesson of acceptance. Being happy for someone else, and letting go, is a way too rare lesson in stories today! 

After reading the story, I thought about how the ending could have been changed. What if the Mermaid had gotten to know the prince first, before changing herself? What if she had stayed with him at a less crowded beach until he woke up, and told him that she was his savior? Maybe he could have loved her, and then she could have made a deal with the witch, and they could have had their shot at a "Happily ever After"! 
But would this ending really have been as effective? Maybe not.

The little mermaid goes through a personal development throughout the story that culminates in the end, and she turns into someone from whom I feel we can learn a valuable lesson:

Be yourself, be happy for other people, learn to let go. Follow your dreams, because if you don't, you will never know what your adventure could have given you! If you make mistakes along the way, own up to them! 

But please, be careful, and don't strike bad deals with sea witches!

tirsdag den 30. oktober 2012

The Always so Unreasonable Parents

Original Picture from Wearemoviegeeks.com
For some young, aspiring Lolitas, there is only one thing standing between them and full Lolita-dom: The Parents. Parents can be your biggest supporters or your biggest hindrance. They can give you confidence when you don't feel you can go outside in Lolita alone, or they can be the ones tearing your confidence down until you feel like quitting Lolita for good.
Why are your parents being so unreasonable? 

In my opinion, Lolita has many wonderful values and qualities that should make it very attractive to parents, but some parents are just not that fond of "Weird Things". They don't want their kid to be "The Weird Kid" whom nobody wants to be friends with, and who knows what kind of unsafe stuff these Lolita-people do when they're together? Well, we know, but your parents don't. They might think that Lolita is just some kind of phase that you won't even remember in a two weeks time, so why should they spend a lot of money and time figuring out how to order a dress from Japan for you? As you can see from the above, your parents probably just want what's best for you, and their beloved wallet.
And now, let's skip to what you probably wanna know: What you can do to make your parents "get it".

 Lolita is not just something strange and foreign. It is actually also relevant to our western cultures, considering that it takes it's inspiration from the Rococo period and Victorian eras. Lolitas were actually inspired by our history before we even discovered our lovely street fashion! You could show your confused parents some pictures to demonstrate this point. Ín line with especially victorian fashion comes the modesty aspect of Lolita fashion, which could also be something that some parents would appreciate (My own mom doesn't get this part.) 
You know, some dads just don't wanna see their little girl grow up and start wearing mini-skirts!

An aspect that I think parents would appreciate even more, is the community! Which parent doesn't want to see their child go out and have some good, safe fun with likeminded souls, and make new friends? If possible, you could borrow some clothes from a friend and attend a couple of meet-ups, and then let your parents know how much fun you had! Maybe they'll warm up to the idea of you becoming a fully equipped member of your local Lolita community.

Some Lolitas would disagree with me on this, but I think it's pretty much always a good idea to be honest with your parents. Don't go behind their back and buy Lolita dresses if they tell you not to! If they find out, it's not very likely that you're gonna accomplish some kind of chick-flick ending where they will magically understand your love for Lolita. It is more likely that they will see it as something that makes you rebellious and break their trust, which will only mean further limits to what your parents will allow you to participate in. What you could do to sneak some Lolita into your wardrobe, is start showing interest in nice blouses, accessories and the like, from mainstream stores! It is more likely that they will let you have frills that you can buy in your everyday clothing store. Also, you could show an interest in learning how to sew. I think very few parents would be opposed to their child learning crafts or getting a new hobby, and they would probably not be as likely to criticise or deny you wearing Lolita clothes that you have made yourself.

If you don't wanna learn how to sew, try and show them how commited you are to the fashion by doing work and chores around the house to earn your Lolita clothes! You could do some weeding and mow the lawn in exchange for a Bodyline skirt, and so on. You could also save up credit in exhange for good grades!

If you already have a job and are making your own money, and just need your parents' permission, show that you can be very economically responsible. Work hard and save up for your Lolita clothes! This will also show your parents that you are not just blowing your money off on a short-lived fancy, but that you're actually passionate about this and willing to wait! Also, you could spend your money so much worse. Look at how other people are burning their money away these days!

If, after all of the above, your parents are still being stubborn, there is not much you can do but wait. Wait, and throw them a couple of discreet remarks once in a while about pretty new brand releases, this dress you saw on Daily_Lolita, how pretty your friend looked in her Metamorphose dress the other day, etc. Who knows? Maybe some day, they will come around! And even if they don't, you don't have to care about your parents' opinions forever. When you move out, and that day will probably come sooner or later, you can shamelessly indulge in Lolita fashion to your heart's content, and it will be totally worth it!

Last Note: I have a feeling that being a boy who wants to be a Lolita(or if you prefer, Brolita) often comes with more parent-problems than those I've talked about above. Sadly, I do not feel qualified to talk about these problems, as I have no personal experience in that area. Sorry! I hope you still find this post a little bit useful.

lørdag den 27. oktober 2012

Indie Brand Interview: Haenuli

For this second indie-brand interview I have had the honor of interviewing the beautiful and talented Korean indie designer, Haenuli, of the brand of the same name! Please enjoy!

Northern Star: Are you a lolita yourself? What inspired you to become a Lolita?

Haenuli: I’ve been wearing Lolita fashion about 8 years, I can’t recall what was motivate me but I knew about Lolita fashion for long times. Also I always love lace, ruffles, pretty butter cup shape skirts. 

NS: What made you decide to become an independent designer of your own lolita brand?

H: When I first knew about Lolita it was around 2000. At that time there’s some independent Lolita shops owned by armatures in Korea. Also Most of Korean lolitas prefer indies shop than Japanese brand pieces. At that time I was a student, making my own Lolita clothing for my self, I was a lone Lolita until 2004. Around 2007 other people suggest me to open a Lolita shop so I opened small armature shop. 

Haenuli's gorgeous Sleeping Beauty print. There are many different colorways, including black(pictured), purple and green!

NS: What do you most enjoy about being an independent designer so far?
H: When my new clothings are goes well with my model, when my customers love my clothing. 
When I got suggestions from Japanese brand to work with them, When national broadcast wants to filming about Lolita fashion, I’m glad I make quality Lolita clothing.

NS: What has been the hardest part of starting your own brand?
H: Haenuli Lolita shop is registered as real business in Korea. When I register my business I have to pay for tax do some paper work. When some Chinese brand copy original prints from other indie shops that gives direct damage to small indies shop. Even though I consider my business as real business still it’s armature hobby shop to most of Lolita.

Haenuli's adorable Lolita Bunny print that, jusk like the Sleeping Beauty JSK, exists in multiple colorways!

NS: How do you find inspiration for new designs?
H: Someday inspiration just hits me. Most of time I just think hard in days, weeks. 

Another one of Haenuli's gorgeous creations

NS: Do you have any idols in the Lolita community?
There are so many beautiful lolitas gives me inspiration at EGL, daily Lolita, tumblr, look book etc. I asked few people to scrap their coordination and post on my Korean blog. I’m always study new trend of Lolita fashion from them. 

Haenuli's "Alice" dress in the Black colorway. There is also a white version!

NS: What do you hope to accomplish with your brand? Do you have any plans for the future?
This year I had a chance to show my work at AWA, Otakon and several more conventions. Right now I’m preparing PMX Lolita fashion show. Next year I hope I could attend those conventions in person. Also I wish there’s Haenuli tag on EGL and daily Lolita(^^)

NS: Do you have any advice for other lolitas out there, who are looking to start their own independent brand?

H: I don’t think I’m in position of give advise… Well when you’re operating your own business there will be a lot of problems you have to solve in professional way. When you try hard enough, you will get what you want eventually.

I would like to, once again, thank Haenuli for taking time off her busy schedule to participate in this interview! 
Haenuli's shop can be found online on Facebook and they also have an online shop.

All pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from Haenuli's facebook page.
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