Negating Negativity in the Lolita Community

It’s natural to feel down when you’ve been a target of criticism no matter how small the campaign. These days it seems the community is abuzz with how cruel some parts of it can be. While I can say it has gotten a lot better than the livejournal days, that doesn’t mean it’s a thing of the past. If you feel affected by someone’s words take a deep breath and try to maintain a positive outlook!

Talk about it

Keeping emotions bottled up will only cause them to linger. Find an outlet in someone close to you such as a sibling, a good friend, or a parter. Just writing about it in a personal diary can do wonders for blowing off steam! By the end of the conversation (even if it’s one you have on paper with yourself) you should be ready to laugh at the insult. I mean think about it, someone actually took the time to put their negativity into something so trivial- how petty!

And if you find you don’t have a listening ear, please feel free to email me or leave a comment on this post.

Ignore It

Being that the majority of bullying in the community occurs online, one of the best ways to deal with it is to ignore it altogether. Ask your friends not to share with you when you’re a target for insults, and avoid websites where it’s allowed to happen. Keep in mind that whoever has time in their day to point out the faults in others and put them on a platform for discussion must not have much else better to do. You yourself must find better ways to occupy your time than to sit there reading it!

Sometimes this may not be so easy. If you’re targeted directly I recommend blocking the users or reporting it to the content provider. You shouldn’t have to be chased out by bullies from your own spaces.

Don’t take part

The worst thing you can do is to perpetuate the cycle. After all, the more negative content being generated the more tolerated it becomes. It can be tempting to lash back at whoever put you down, but that will only make you as good as the person who hurt you. Never forget that there is a real person behind both screens. Find a more productive way to feel better about yourself, like taking part in a self-indulgent pampering session, watching your favorite movie, or going out with friends. Suddenly their words won’t seem so meaningful.

It can also be tempting to try and defend yourself against insults, but that can often exacerbate the situation. Even your most diplomatic argument may fall on deaf ears, and once a bully knows they’ve got your attention it can get a little wild.

We often put a lot of stock into negative criticism because we believe it to be more true. Start putting the same weight on the compliments you receive and you’ll find yourself a lot happier. Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up over someone else’s comments. Have a wondrous day and thanks for reading!

Designer Spotlight: Interview with Automatic Honey

If you’ve been active in the alt J-fashion world for the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of Los Angeles based indie brand Automatic Honey. Lead by two incredibly talented and charming individuals, their mission reads: We aim to bring cute culture to the world around us through cute accessories and clothing. Automatic Honey is dedicated to bringing our community closer together and have a ton of fun doing it!

This week I was given the wonderful opportunity of speaking to Alex and David about their brand.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I’ve been a big fan of Automatic Honey since its inception and I look forward to learning more about the brand. To start off, would you mind sharing a little about yourselves?

Hello, I’m Alex! Please bear with me as I try to explain a little bit about myself (I’m not good at interviews). I’m a dorky guy from Southern California with a passion for cute things. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for around 7 years now but not necessarily in the things I loved. I think working within that industry really helped me understand things I use on a daily basis at Automatic Honey as well as finding my own voice. I’ve also been a part of the lolita community since 2008 but I’ve known about the fashion since around 2002. It’s crazy to think how much time has gone by since I first saw pictures in a Gothic Lolita Bible and not to mention how styles have changed drastically. Aside from fashion and all that good stuff I’m really into music, cute animal videos, and traveling when I have the chance.

Hello, I’m David! I’m the other half of Automatic Honey and I love spooky and royal things. For the most part whenever we release something spooky I’ve had a say in it. As for my fashion style I really love Ouji fashion and alternative Japanese fashion. I have been in the lolita community about the same time as Alex and have had an interest in Japanese fashion for a very long time.

Could you describe what each of your roles are within the brand?

A: I’m the lead designer for Automatic Honey. Even though I generally just call myself the designer I’m also the production manager, customer support, website manager, and coffee provider on those long work filled weekends.

D: I’m also a designer for Automatic Honey. On top of helping create new ideas I do assembly, and shipping as well. I also try to keep Alex calm during release days.

That’s a lot of hats to wear! What inspired you to launch an accessory brand?

A: Well to be honest it started off just being a thing I did for my friends. I think I’ve been making accessories for friends since 2009. Nothing really elaborate just bows, cute necklaces and the like. I tried a lot of different styles back then trying to find something that was truly me. I think one of my biggest influences was definitely Angelic Pretty because their views on cute culture really spoke to me. I think a lot of us wanted to be like AP back then because AP was so new and exciting. Aside from Angelic Pretty I think one of my biggest influences to start something was Sebastian Masuda from 6% Dokidoki. Sebastian held a really interesting Q&A in Los Angeles talking about the decline of Harajuku street fashion and how we (everyone outside of Japan) are the new Harajuku. Needless to say the spark to start something for our community was imminent.

Your designs have certainly become sought-after for the international alt J-fashion community, with even Kimura-U being a big fan! Do you have a favorite line?

A: I think my favorite line has been the Under the Sea of Jewels collection. I really loved the look of the collection as a whole and the pastel colors really made that collection dreamy. It’s really hard to pick a piece since every collection we release is sometime I really love. I think each collection really evokes what I’m personally into at the moment or what I see trending in fashion.

D: Personally my favorite collection is Royal Heart. I think I probably wear those pieces once a week since we released it.

Automatic Honey Spring 2015 Release “Royal Heart” modeled by Miss Angela

I have to say I’m a huge fan of both. I was in a plane when Royal Heart was released but that didn’t stop me from logging on to snatch something! How do you decide what to create next?

A&D: That is a very good question! For the most part we just make what we love but on the other hand I think a lot of our influences come from what is trending in our community. We pay attention to magazines like KERA, GLB, and high fashion as well. For example, Royal Heart was influenced by Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015 along with all the religious trends we saw in Lolita fashion. Ultimately we wanted to take our own spin on the trend and make something we would like to wear ourselves.

I love how your pieces are always on trend yet genuine to your style. What is your design process?

A&D: We’re constantly thinking of new idea for collections but for the most part we settle on one general idea. Once we have an idea Alex takes the concept and creates sketches of possible accessories and we look at them together. After we both agree on a design Alex cleans up the sketches and creates a technical flat. We pick metal finishes, pantone colors, Swarovski crystals, pearls, and etc that correspond to the design we’re going for. The pendant or ring is sent out to our manufacturer (US based) who creates the pieces for us. Once the pieces are done we’re in charge of assembling everything together. Each necklace and ring is assembled by us and then packaged up. After all the production is done we photograph the product and do all the marketing ourselves. The overall process takes around two~three months from start to finish.

Where do you hope to take Automatic Honey?

A&D: We hope that Automatic Honey can keep growing as a brand, here in the states and abroad. We would love to keep spreading our view of cute culture to everyone around us.

Now here’s the big question- are you working on anything at the moment?

A&D: We are! As you know Halloween is almost here so we’re very busy putting the last finishing touches on those designs.

Automatic Honey Fall 2015 Release “Witching Hour”

I’m so very excited, you can bet I’ll be visiting your store for this! Is there a dream product you’d absolutely love to put out?

A&D: CLOTHING!!!!!!! Real true to life clothing would be amazing to finally do.

That sounds incredibly exciting, it would be a dream to wear Automatic Honey clothing someday. I’m about to wrap up but I have just one last question. What are you doing when you’re not creating?

A: Well outside of Automatic Honey I’m a graphic designer. I’ve done designs for apparel, advertising, packaging, and home decor. I guess in general my life revolves around creating so it’s never a dull moment. Outside of work though I love watching fashion shows, scary movies, cheesy 80s/90s movies, Disneyland, and of course MAGICAL GIRL ANIMES!

D: Does sweets enthusiast count as a job? Just kidding, I’m a hair stylist but I do love desserts. Besides those two things I love Visual Kei music, Donald Duck, and alternative J-fashion.

Preview of the postcard artwork by Yuki Yoshida for the “Witching Hour” release, available to the first 100 orders.

I’d like to thank Alex and David again for sharing about their brand with me. Their Halloween-inspired series “Witching Hour” will be released later today ,September 18th, at 8pm PDT. Follow the links below to look at their shop and get updates. They tend to sell out fast, so keep your eyes peeled!

WebsiteFacebook

Shannie Bee’s 2015 Lolita Wardrobe

Happy 2015! Two years ago I made my very first wardrobe post and since then I’ve made it a personal goal to continue chronicling my clothing every year. I love being able to look back and see how my style has evolved and tastes have changed.
Last year I tried to focus more on accessories and embellishments because I found that I was prone to buying dresses and ignoring all else. I also became smitten with florals, and many of the plainer pieces I had on my wishlist came up for sale. This year I believe I will continue to add embellishments and will make it my resolution to create personal handmade pieces. But enough of that, on to the pictures!

Melty Royal ChocolateAngelic Pretty
Melty Ribbon ChocolateAngelic Pretty
Chocolate Fascinate FairytaleBaby, the Stars Shine Bright

The World’s Most Adorable Dog and the World’s Most Delicious FrappeBtSSB
La Pièce du Petit CréatureJuliette et Justine
Puppy PrintInnocent World

Le Parfait du LapinJetJ
Lotta Re-releaseIW
Cherry Berry BunnyAP

Le Cadre du LapinJetJ
Rabbit Printh.Naoto FRILL
L507Bodyline

Rose Dress UpAP
Secret Rose PrincessAP
Floral Print ClassicalBtSSB

???AP
Labyrinth of RoseAP
Rosellina FleurBtSSB
Royal PearlAP
Wonder StoryAP
Wonder CookieAP
Wonder PartyAP
Alice PrintBodyline
Classical Strawberry – IW
???Emily Temple Cute
Kumya chan’s Christmas Holly NightBtSSB
Invited to a PartyAP
Royal UnicornAP
Chess PrintIW
Plume d’une Princesse et l’angeJetJ
???This will be revealed after I wear it to LVER \\ ٩(๑❛ワ❛๑)و //// ! (Ridiculous, I know )
Saint ClaireMary Magdelene
Rose Lace Ox OPVictorian Maiden
Handmade JSKbought on Japan auction
Mademoiselle PrincessBtSSB
Empire Waist Basic Frilly JSK Fan Plus Friend
Cherry ParadeBtSSB

Maria’s Catholic Nun OPBtSSB
Innocent RosierAlice and the Pirates
Vampire RequiemAlice and the Pirates

Ginger DollA/P

Houndstooth School Skirt & CapeA/P
Pleated Flared JSKIW

Rose Button Pleated JSKIW
Hemming Checkered JSKIW
Jodhpurs with Shoulder StrapsIW
???Putumayo
???ETC
Polkadot PrincessAP
French GirlAP
Anniversary Lamé Tweed SkirtBtSSB
Pintuck Ribbon Skirt IW
???AP
BtSSB, IW, A/P
A/P, AP, BtSSB, Bodyline, F+F, Floral Notebook, Handmade, IW, Offbrand, Taobao
AP, BtSSB, Bodyline, Offbrand
A/P, Bunny House, Handmade, IW, Liz Lisa, Offbrand
AP, Juicy Couture
BtSSB
AP, BtSSB, IW, Taobao
AP, HandmadeMuachacha, Swimmer
 
AP, Evil Live, Liz Lisa, Offbrand
A/P, Empress L, Offbrand, Triple Fortune
AP, Handmade, Offbrand
AP, BtSSB, IW, Sweet Mildred
AP, Antique Beast, BtSSB, IW
6% Doki Doki, Bowkuma, Chocomint, Handmade, Offbrand
BtSSB, Handmande, Offbrand, Pizzicato Kei
Handmade, Liz Lisa, Offbrand
Enchantlic Enchantilly, Handmade Gift, Tour New Soul, Pizzicato Kei

6% Doki Doki, AP, Automatic Honey, BtSSB, Betsey Johnson, Cute Moon Bunny, Chocomint, Kawaiicore, Moss Märchen, Offbrand, Sweet & Tiny, Q-Pot
6% Doki Doki, AP, Betsey Johnson, Handmade, Offbrand, Paris Kids, Tour New Soul
AP, Automatic Honey, Betsey Johnson, Offbrand, Tokimeki no Gabriel
A/P, AP, BtSSB, IW, Liz Lisa, Offbrand

Bodyline, JetJ, Mojo Moxy, Offbrand, Secret Shop (black MM boots missing from photo)

Offbrand

Tips To Perfect Your January Lolita Wardrobe Post

It’s that time of year again! Start ironing your dresses and get ready to show the community what your closet is made of. January’s wardrobe post is the egl topic that has more participation than any other, with many awaiting the chance to peek at some closet inspiration and others posting their own. But how to make your post stand out from the crowd? Keep reading to find out!

Setting Up Your Shots- Lights, Camera, Action!

There are two parts to a wardrobe post: the photos and, well, everything else! Seeing the clothes and accessories harmonize in a real way with the personal flair only an owner could give and stock photos could not is the main attraction. So please say it with me now and vow to uphold this rule: no blurry or dark photos!

Make sure you have a good camera on hand. You don’t need anything high-end, and your best bet may even just be your cell phone! All that matters is that it takes clear photos. Try tinkering with the camera settings instead of running on auto for more consistency and control.

Decide upon your set. Consider all that will be visible in the photographs and only let what you want seen into the frame. I suggest slight to minimal activity as you don’t want to make it too distracting, but some details add personality. Here are some examples to try out:

  • Place a temporary wall hook on a garden fence for a lush foreground.
  • Photograph accessories where they are stored if you have them organized in an elegant way.
  • Toss flower petals onto your scene for some added feminine flair.
  • Thrift a large picture frame and lay your dresses inside it.
  • monkeyhoney used bedsheets with a cute unobtrusive pattern.
  • ehcappella staged a dressform in a beautiful corner of their room.
  • terrayla‘s ruffled pink room was the perfect backdrop for her princess-like wardrobe.
  • cadney included some gorgeous close-up shots of her favorite details.
  • scarletsedusa‘s moody atmosphere (an exception to the dark photo rule) gave a mysterious quality.
  • rozarn displayed her dresses in front of her beautiful wardrobe.
  • riotkitty_ let their cute stuffed animals into the frame.
  • yueri-san placed their entirely Moite wardrobe on a bedsheet in their signature color.
  • mintiemii photographed over plain white sheets and added her own cute hand-drawn flair.

Establish good lighting. Even great cameras can have a hard time picking up details in the dark. Figure out when the area you plan to shoot in recieves the best sunlight or place a few bright lamps around to shoot on your own schedule.

A little editing goes a long way. Sometimes the colors look better on camera, or maybe the dirty clothes on the floor made their way into the frame. Scrutinizing each image with a photo editing program is that finishing touch that will ensure a flawless representation of your wardrobe to capture the community’s hearts!

Forming Your Post

With your photos beautifully taken, edited, and uploaded into your livejournal album the next step will be to make your post. You can add as much or as little “flair” to this as you like, but the basic things you should try and include are an entry image and the names of the dresses/skirts.
The entry image is that photo almost everyone seems to place before the cut (the link to the full post). It’s there to give you a preview of what you will find and entice you into looking. A few fun ideas to try are:
  • You in your favorite coordinate
  • A picture of your closet space or room
  • Detailed closeups of your favorite print
  • Your brand novelties
  • A drawing you made
  • mayartemis created a cute gif of their clothing stacking up
  • tehrin used their graphic design skills to come up with this amazing pastel intro

A small introduction is sometimes placed after this. I’ll call this part optional, but I feel it’s nice to get an idea of the person who has curated the wardrobe you are scrolling through. A small sampling of personal facts that can give someone an idea of your fashion bubble makes the photos even more inviting. For example, you could include:

  • Your age
  • What city you live in
  • Your occupation
  • Your favorite motifs/ colors/ brands
  • A link to past wardrobe posts
  • How your wardrobe has changed over the past year
  • When/why you started wearing lolita
  • Where/when you typically wear lolita
  • Other fashions you wear
  • buttcape included a pie chart showing which brands they owned

Now for the images. Since the dresses are the main attraction it’s best to place them first so appetites are satiated as they scroll on to see how you embellish them. Some thought should be put into how the images are arranged for that cherry on top, especially if you have quite a large wardrobe.

  • List them in a rainbow starting from your favorite color
  • Create arbitrary categories you feel your dresses encapsulate (tea flavors, animals, zodiac, etc.)
  • If you have a meticulous mind for dates, list by when you acquired them
  • ruban_rose categorized her dresses by brand
  • antik_poesi structured their pictures three to a row
  • xandra292 included multiple themes into her categories
  • lollipurr divided their wardrobe into just two- cat related and not cat related
  • loresandpenates gridded their images to include lovely detail shots
  • alyssiumbaby made an efficient layout for such a picture-heavy post
  • sanakanami made navigation easier by sorting categories under spoiler tags

Add captions so we all know the names of those lovely dresses and you’re about done! If you have a story to share about a particular dress this would be where to do it. Make it personable by letting others discover how long it took you to find a particular item or how much your first dress meant to you.

Don’t forget to check your etiquette! After all that hard work be sure your post isn’t breaking any rules and users with slower connections will be able to view it. Heres’s a quick checklist to mark off:

  • Place all images after the entry image under a cut.
  • If your post is picture heavy please note it in the cut so others know to open it in another tab.
  • Do not hotlink images unless they are from your server or a photo-hosting website.
  • Keep your entry images no bigger than 500px wide or the egl layout will squish them.
  • Use your judgement on how large to post your wardrobe pictures- nobody wants to scroll horizontally!

I am so excited to see everyone’s wardrobe posts again this year! I’ve quite dedicated myself to making one every year to track my progress and phases and trends. It reminds me of flipping through old diary pages. Do you plan to make a wardrobe post this year? Please link yours in the comments so I can check them out!

I know a lot of people feel deterred from posting because they see their wardrobe as small but it’s just as nice to see a well-loved wardrobe of a few pieces as it is to scroll through an impossibly large collection. Have a sugar-sweet day and happy posting!

25 Lolita Meetup Ideas for Winter

I hope this season has been good to you so far, dear readers. I’ve noticed that meetups tend to slow down this time of year due to the weather and the holidays, but I find that such a shame when there are such cool things to do around now! With 25 days until Christmas I thought I’d share a list of 25 cute activities to plan with your lolita community this Winter.

  1. Go  ice skating. The #1 cold weather activity,  extra cute in frills.
  2. Visit a chocolatier. Drink freshly made hot chocolate for a Wintery substitution to tea rooms.
  3. Browse museums. Shake off the cold while viewing the wonders of art, history, and science.
  4. Have a crafting day. Get together with your crafting projects for a relaxing hour or two.
  5. Throw a holiday themed party. Any excuse to break out the Christmas prints and velvets!
  6. Go Christmas caroling. Pick a song that everyone knows and sing door to door.
  7. Build snowmen. Bonus points for sculpting frilly dresses!
  8. Watch movies. Supply snacks and turn on a heart-warming flick in your living room.
  9. Try new desserts. Get everyone to bring their favorite traditional holiday dessert to share.
  10. Have a game night. Keep warm indoors with some board, card, and video games.
  11. Host a Secret Santa/ White Elephant. Exchange gifts with your community.
  12. Hold a card/ ornament making party. Load up on craft supplies and personalize gifts.
  13. View Christmas lights. Put on your warmest coats and take a walk to view the displays.
  14. Take in some culture. Nutcracker, anyone? See what seasonal shows are scheduled at the theater.
  15. Attend holiday festivals. Check for a local parade or festival to welcome the season.
  16. Go ballroom dancing. Brush up on your waltz and keep active by dancing the night away.
  17. Have a Winter picnic. Very bold! Be sure to pack a warm drink.
  18. Throw a drinking night in. Try out some hot buttered rum, eggnog, and spiced mead!
  19. Go window shopping. Check out this year’s store displays and buy a gift or two.
  20. Start a swap meet. A great way to find gifts and get some quick cash for the holidays.
  21. Play Victorian parlour games. They really knew how to keep occupied indoors!
  22. Plan a Winter photo shoot. Get your comm together for some photos in the snow.
  23. Eat by the fire. Make reservations at a restaurant with a working fireplace.
  24. Go on a nature walk. Plot an easy route in the park with lots of scenic views.
  25. Take a sleigh ride. Enjoy the scenery from a sleigh pulling through sheets of white.

Here in San Francisco it doesn’t ever get cold enough to see snow, and I miss it dearly! Winter is fast becoming my favorite time of year for how cozy and festive it compels me to behave once the temperature drops. We’ve already had our tree up for a month and I’ve been reaching for the hot cocoa occasionally.

What plans do you have for Winter? Perhaps some travelling, or an anticipated quiet afternoon during the break with a warm blanket and a good book? Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!