Otakon 2012: Lolita Fashion Show

The fashion show displays the inspired Lolita fashions of young designers with a mind to make the style their own. Otakon’s very own catwalk showcased the latest outfits from the United States to Korea, five designers with distinctive feels for their dresses.

The first four were from the US, a beautiful example that not all Lolita fashion need to be from Japan to be chic and gorgeous. The last one was from Korea…though alas the designer herself was unable to make it.

First, the narrator introduced the clothing line and then the designer herself introduced the story, inspiration or special style. The models were all different, from the way their hair was done, the body type and their expressions. Each with a taste of their particular style and unique form.

The first designer was Pop Princess who was showcasing designs that pays tribute to ‘girls sweeping through modern cities in ruffled dresses with eyes brimming full of light. They are neither of the past nor the present….’ The style is very much in the Sweet Lolita style with dessert patterns and bows on the forehead. The models walked energetically down the catwalk to the music which began with ‘Pon Pon Pon’ by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

The second designer was Ichigo Black which is primarily based on visual kei styles, Gothic street fashion. ‘Kuro Kiss our collection shown tonight is fit for a punk rock princess. Dark and edgy with just a hint of cute.’ As mentioned, the styles shown were gothic lolita fashions with lace, buckles and shiny boots. There were also two walolita outfits in the mix.

Perianth lolita fashions is based on nature. ‘Perianth combines lolita style with morigirl, girls of the forest and dolly-kei, a vintage inspired a style. Forests and folklore, woodland flora and fauna, myths and legends….’ The twist on the lolita here are Russian inspired colors, fabric and prints. Two of the outfits at the end were the new line, ‘Perianth Pop’ with a more ‘playful look’.

The fourth designer was I Do Declare which is inspired by Victorian afternoons. ‘It is a classical brand, this time with a twist…with necklaces, headdresses and I Do Declare’s first official print.’ The style had alot of cream whites, solid colors and beautiful fabric. Velvet on one of the skirts too. A fav of mine and the crowd was the EGA style worn by one of the girls.

The last designer was Haenuli from Korea, though she was unfortunately unable to appear. Her line, ‘Sweeping Beauty’ included her own prints. Needless to say, I fell in love with a black dress which was long and flowing. Besides the pure black outfits, there were playful designs of a sweet lolita style with lace and bows in their hair.

At the end of the show, each designer with a model appeared on stage to answer questions.

    Q: This is a question for all designers. What tips can you give for someone who would like to start their own line?
    A: ‘Go to school to learn how to sew, to finish clothing properly.’ ‘It is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but if you really want to do this, do things properly. Don’t cut corners to work faster. Learn how to work with patterns. Learn how to sew properly and finish things professionally. They’ll look great!’ ‘Follow your heart. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your passion.’ ‘Feedback is helpful as well while making lots of things. See what people like and don’t like.’

    Q: Are all of you located in the dealer’s room?
    A: Pop Princess can be found on etsy. Ichigo Black was in the Dealer’s room S5. Perianth is found on blogspot, etsy and there will be facebook page.

    Q: Where do you get your inspiration and fabrics?
    I Do Declare: The pieces are inspired by Victorian fashions, high collars and cinched waits. The black on white frame motif is one that the designer created herself.
    Pop Princess: Has a more playful look so the fabrics she chose reflects that. She is in contact with a Japanese manufacturer so her fabrics come from them.
    Ichigo Black: Her outfits are a mix between fairy tales and punk rock princess. Her fabrics are from local fabric stores like JoAnns.
    Perianth: gets inspiration from many different things, the current one being her Russian-inspired line. There is no particular singular outlet or store that the designer gets her fabrics.

    Q: With the respective styles that you have, what would be a estimate time to make a piece from inspiration to actual pieces?
    I Do Declare: It takes alot of time to make a pattern that actually fits properly. It takes a couple of days to make a pattern. It takes a whole solid day to make a dress, 12 to 24 hours broken up.
    Pop Princess: Pattern making does take an enormous amount of time since it needs to be made from scratch. Everything is drawn out. A sample is sewn up in order to see if it actually fits. Redos are done if it doesn’t work until the pattern is correct. 2-3 days perhaps. Sewing depends on the details of the piece. A dress can be made in a whole day, from getting the fabric, laying it out and sewing. If there is alot of handwork, then it will take a long time. Inspiration is different for each person.
    Ichigo Black: I get help from my mother. There is a sewing station above our store. Together, it takes about half a day to create an outfit. I draft the pattern and she helps in sewing it together.
    Perianth: Inspiration takes a few days for something simple to months. Sometimes I have ideas that I work on for half a year to a year, working it out about how I want to do things. Patterning takes several days to a make it right. I can make a piece a day, but if it requires alot of work, it will take more than one day.

    Q: What is your reason for going towards lolita fashion above other fashions.
    I Do Declare: ‘I love the romantic style of lolita. I wanted to make it a bit more mature so I will be more comfortable wearing it, which is why I started ‘I Do Declare’.
    Pop Princess: This is the first time I immersed myself in the lolita fashion. I just graduated from a design school where everything was haute courture. They liked things to be beautiful but not cute. Lolita represents something that fills my heart complete, it is difficult to explain. It is a passion that can’t be described.
    Ichigo Black: My love for lolita fashion came after I visited Japan. Walking through the streets of Harajuku was really amazing. We don’t have anything like that here in the US. I really love to bring that here.
    Perianth: I really love the silhouette of the lolita and designs and the details. Dresses could only have one color, but there will be ruffles or pintucks which is gorgeous. I love the elegance of lolita fashion.

    Q: How would someone become a model for your lines?
    A: Normally designers would put out a call on the EGL livejournal community. Anyone can apply. There is usually a shortage on models. Before a convention like Otakon, there would usually be a call placed there. Also, models can give designers their contacts individually.
    Ichigo Black: I make a post on my facebook fanpage. When I need models, I put it on there.

    Q: For Pop Princess, when you do the designs, do you sketch them out or do you use photoshop? Do you use a sewing machine or a serger?
    Pop Princess: When I start, I sketch everything out by pen. With a pen, it is easier to let my ideas flow. With a pencil, I always think I can erase and go back so it is not as natural or fluid. When I have an idea, I would skethc it down or else it would drive me crazy. I only use a sewing machine, but I do professional finishes. There are no raw edges. All of the edges are finished with Hong Kong or French seams.

    Q: For Perianth, two of your dresses had tassels at the end. How did you attach them?
    Perianth: It’s actually a tassel trim for upholstery…but it looks with lolita fashion as well!

    Q: Do any of you have experience on the business end? How did you initally fund the start of your business?
    Pop Princess: I do one of a kind pieces. I really got seriously into it when I got near my graduation date. Every sale I make on etsy, I save. I continue to save and accumulate that funding for more fabric since it is extremely expensive to get fabric from overseas. Sometimes you screw up and realized you gave a dress away for free and you made absolutely no money, but you learn from that.