Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Fashion Fraction: Introduction to Japanese Fashion at Conventions

Hello everyone, I'm Taka- here to bring you your weekly Fashion Fraction of Project: Lixx!

For this first article, I'm going to dive into Japanese Fashion and its representation at conventions! I recently went to a convention known as Colossalcon in Sandusky, Ohio and ventured around, eyeballing all the fabulous non-cosplay fashionistas.

Those who attend conventions- whether it's for the cosplay, fandoms (and I mean all of them), voice actors, or even the dances- have been exposed to the fans of Japanese fashion... and maybe you were one of those fans all dolled up for the convention. And, it's no wonder- Japanese fashion is obviously represented and sometimes the focus of many anime and manga. And the fashion I see most at conventions is lolita and cybergoth.

Lolita may be European in design but it got it's boost from Japanese designers in the 1970s and the boom hit around the 90s- only increasing to what we know it today.

Lolita has had it's mentions in various anime and manga due to notable characters such as Stocking (Panty & Stocking) and Miwako (Paradise Kiss). And there are even panels hosted by lolitas such as the ones in the Colossalcon pamphlet: "Lolita: It's A Way Of Life", "Advanced Lolita Fashion", and "Plus Size Lolita".

I personally know of friends who run at least 1 or 2 lolita themed panels at conventions- from introducing the fashion scene as a whole to providing tips to newcomers and veterans alike.

While I won't dive into lolita fully now, later on I will show the various types of lolita that cross in and out of my favourite Japanese fashion- Visual Kei. Visual Kei does have it's fair spot at conventions (myself being a panelist who runs both J-Rock and Visual Kei orientated panels)- though not as popular as lolita tends to be.

Regardless, many conventions host fashion shows either sponsored by a brand that may have a booth in the Dealer's Room or by the con or a group of attendants in which more than just lolita and Visual Kei can be showcased. Some brands that I've seen host booths are Baby The Stars Shine Bright, h.Naoto, and Sixh. In the future, I hope to provide pictures from convention fashion shows.

I would like to share just one Colossalcon 2014 attendant who took the time to talk to me and let us snap some photos of her outfit:

She referred to herself as a "nurse Barbie" of sorts. I was captivated by her shoes (which she informed me she ordered off Taobao) and how she said she made most of this outfit. As simple as it may be to most, it was nice to see a non-brand lolita coordination (rather Guro and Ero lolita mixed).

As for cybergoth, while it may not have a solid country of origin, there is a more "Japanese take" on the fashion. Most notable example of Japanese cybergoth at its finest is DJ SiSeN and the brand he supports done by his friend, Takuya Angel. The big hair falls- both synthetic hair and synthetic materials-, fluffy arm and leg warmers, PVC vinyl tops and skirts, and a variety of bead jewelry in a chaos of colour has filled the halls of conventions for years and especially builds later at night when most conventions host the event of the weekend- the rave.

This is just a taste of Japanese fashion for the regular convention attendant and probably the best chance for you to see in person the many types of big fashion genres.

To close, heads up to all Baby The Stars Shine Bright fans- Anime Midwest in Chicago will be having them in their Dealer's Room July 4 through 6.

- Taka