Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kamijo World Tour 2015 - The Best Experience of My Life

So on June 6th, 2015, I had one of the most wonderful days of my life. Not only was it International Lolita Day weekend, in which I attended a wonderful brunch meetup with friends, and then hang out most of the afternoon surrounded by frills at Tokyo Rebel/Btssb NYC, it was also the day I would finally see my idol live in concert after being a die hard fan for about ten years.

Sadly we weren't allowed to take photos or video during the show, which is good in a way because it allowed me to fully focus on what what happening opposed to focusing on getting good pictures or video. I missed the opportunity to see Versailles in concert eight years ago when they came to New York City, so this whole experience was very important to me. Not only would he be performing Versailles songs, he would also be performing Lareine songs and his solo work. I was most excited for the really old Lareine songs.

Kamijo played with a support band of guys of various origin. On bass I was so happy to see Masashi, who was bassist for Versailles (following Jasmine You's passing) right before they disbanded.

The show began after several hours of waiting. I lost it when they began playing "Fuyu Tokyo" which is one of my favorite Lareine songs of all time. I couldn't help but sing along and dance, and I felt as though I was almost in tears from happiness. I swear Kamijo even looked at me in the crowd as I was singing my heart out. It was so magical and nostalgic.

A few more oldies were played, including "Finnacailles", which is another favorite of mines. And then he shifted into some Versailles era stuff and more of his solo work. All in all, I was most excited about the old stuff, even though I loved hearing Versailles era stuff live. I don't know his solo work as well unfortunately, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. 

The audience was pretty great too. It wasn't too rowdy and it was pretty mellow. I danced and threw my hands in the air, things that are usually not done by me to be honest, but in that moment I was my inner self, expressing the feelings of my soul which was full of joy and excitement. 

Kamijo is great live. Usually I don't like how most artists sound live, but no he was truly magical. I don't mean to be a fangirl, but it was like he was singing to my soul. Just being in his presence was like a religious experience. I've admired him for so many years of my life, and his music has influenced me all through my teenage life up until my adulthood and I hope that I will still be a huge fan, no, I know I will be for years to come. I'll be 80 years old and still listening to some of the best music ever made by him and his various band members. 

There isn't much more that I can say without spazzing out, but I'm just so thankful that i was able to have this experience. By the end of the show I was exhausted, worn out, feet shot to death, and sleepy, but it was all worth it. If I could I would do it all over again. I don't know if he will ever be back in New York any time soon if ever, but I'm more than happy to have had the time of my life.

Until next time...

"Why don't you touch my heart, 'cause it's so sentimental night..."
Haha, Kamijo's Engrish is a dream. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thoughts and Things: Lolita Fashion to me is...

Artist - Kira Imai
What does it mean to be a Lolita? This can be a complicated question. Seasoned Lolitas, those in the fashion for a decade or nearly, people like me and many of my long time friends, may say one thing. Newer Lolitas, those coming into the fashion within the last 1-3 years, will probably think another. It's something that I've been thinking about a lot lately as many of my friends have been either having disparities about the fashion in general from different standpoints. Newer lolitas also seem to be having issues of their own.

Honestly, to each their own when it comes to partaking in this hobby, and I emphasize 'hobby' because that's what it is to me. I am by no means a Lifestyle Lolita, even though the fashion is a big part of my life, it's not my whole life.

I. Buying and Owning Brand Name Pieces

Lately I've been hearing  more often that many lolitas, especially newer ones, feel like they are being judged because they don't have brand/enough brand. This is obviously not a new thing.

It took me about four years before I had my first brand piece. Yes sure I wanted lots of brand, but the reality was that I couldn't afford it at the time. I faced the facts and just tried not to be bitter or angry about it. I knew my chance would come in time.

However, not being able to afford brand (not even secondhand at the time) led me to submerge myself wholeheartedly in creating my own lolita pieces - though I understand many others aren't as gifted or given the opportunity to learn at a professional level like I was (I went to design school), but I wanted it bad enough, so hey? I did what I had to do. 

Ten years later of sewing, eight years of experimenting in lolita silhouettes, and countless mistakes a long the way, I was able to successfully create my own pieces. It's not something everyone can do and I don't expect everyone to immediately turn to sewing as an alternative to buying brand. Skill is key and shoddy workmanship cannot rival that of brand quality, and it will be obvious.

Once I was financially able to get brand pieces for myself only literally a year ago, my years of frugality taught me only to buy something only if I really wanted it, not just to have it. Quality over Quantity I guess. I'll keep my small wardrobe of pieces I really love that took me many years to attain over a wardrobe full of random stuff I bought just because. If I bought just anything, I'd have no real attachment to them. All this time waiting to get the items is kind of what makes it special you know? At least to me.

II. Life Style or Life Takeover?

I feel like these days many lolitas turn the fashion into so much more that it actually is. They let it control every aspect of their lives, economically, socially, mentally...and that's when the fashion loses it's fun in my opinion. It's a hobby, something that is supposed to make you happy and occupy idle time. It's not your whole reason for existing. And yes you can be a "Lifestyle Lolita" without letting the fashion control you - honestly if it's controlling your happiness, that is no true lifestyle to lead.

Yes to many Lolita fashion is more than just clothes in many ways, but you can't let that idea corrupt your thoughts.  For me, it's just clothes, but at the same time a huge part of my life and the person I am today. It's also a large part of my career future.

But I'm not for letting the fashion get in the way of you being happy. Many Lolitas obsess over being the best dressed at all times, pressuring themselves to have the newest releases regardless of conflicting factors in their lives. Instead of wearing the fashion just for fun, it becomes a competition to be the best of the best.

Not being able to reach these high level goals causes a lot of lolitas to become depressed or feel inadequate to themselves and in their local communities. At that point, why even bother anymore? It's making you unhappy.

There is a difference between working toward having a wardrobe that represents the fashion in a solid way and having everything and anything just to be better or feel better about yourself.

The lolita community itself can also be very toxic, and if it's not working for you it's best to just let it go. Sticking with that one like-minded lolita friend or small group is okay. Being a loner is okay too. Do what works for you and there is no right answer. It doesn't matter what other people in the community think.

You can also do whatever you want in your clothing. I don't think I really need to list everything, and yes people may not agree, but guess what? You paid for your pieces, they are yours, and you can do as you please in the clothes that you bought. I mean if you want to mess them up, just skip on the resale at the very least and move on with your life.

III. Dressing for YOU

At the end of the day, you are your worst critic. Of course we have all been there, we want to have our dream items and be their best selves in this fashion. However, being happy with your own look regardless of being on trend, matching colors perfectly, looking a certain way (which is often someone else's individual opinion to begin with) is what's more important.

So you like wearing only old school? Like mixing pastels in your gothic style? Wearing only toned down looks? Only OTT and/or unconventional? Then do it. I think in the western lolita world, this whole "following the rules" business really has gotten out of hand and it stifles creative freedom in the fashion. Sure, I love the traditional silhouettes, but at the same time I love to see the evolution of the fashion and the mixing of the old and the new.

My wardrobe is just that, a mix of older printed pieces, new ones, and handmade pieces that reflect my personal creativity, and I'm so happy with it. Yes, it's still evolving and changing, but again that's what makes fashion fun. I love mixing different styles, wearing unusual color combinations, and wearing pieces in unconventional ways.

I know that everyone thinks differently, but it would be nice if we could remove some of the pressure in this fashion and instead use our creativity to its full potential and stop caring about what others think so much. Easier said than done, but for me, I am doing my best to do what I like in the ways that I like. Once you have the basis of the fashion down, take what you have learned and run with it. Run to places unvisited and uncharted.

Thanks for reading, add to the conversation!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Lolita Blog Carnival: A Brand I Love But Don't Own - Moi meme Moitie

Moi meme Moitie Head Designer, Mana
For me, Moi meme Moitie was the Lolita brand that started it all for me. The main reason I fell in love with Lolita Fashion so many years ago (about 8 years ago now) was because I fell in love with Mana, and Malice Mizer and Moi dix Mois - the music in turn led me to Gothic Lolita, and thus the obsession was born.

You would think that Moitie would have been my first brand piece, but unfortunately I absolutely could not afford this brand for many many years. I opted for of course, making my own pieces when starting out in the fashion, as well as obtaining pieces from other cheaper or more attainable brands (the majority of my brand closet is Btssb/Alice and the Pirates - and more of the latter - and Innocent World.)

They are often simplistic in design, the pieces overall, but I think that's the beauty in it. The cuts are also often quite flattering. Almost everything is grounded in black as a default, with a few deviations in pure White or Ivory. I'm more partial to the Black pieces myself.

I also love how architectural the prints are. Architecture is one of my most favorite themes in Lolita prints, so I love a bunch of Moitie prints for this reason. They hold the prize in this theme for sure in my eyes. I mean, how can we forget the infamous Iron Gate?

But I've been wondering more and more why I don't have anything from Moitie! I mean, it's just such a beautiful brand, and I am a true Gothic Lolita at heart. I should have my Gothic card revoked for not owning a piece by now! It's definitely one of my major goals for the year. But I don't want just any old dress, I want a piece that I truly desire. I'm sure most of my favorites are expensive or difficult to attain, but I've waited this long, I really think it's time.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out the other participants posts on this topic!