Japan has continued to reflect upon western culture during the middle of the 19th century and right up until now. Since the 19th century, it has come to be known as ‘street fashion’. Street fashion is a term used to describe the style in which the wearer customises or more so modifies the outfit by adopting a mixture of current and traditional trends. Usually the outfits are radical and conceptual, challenging and uncompromising, fashion from Japan demands attention. It is highly recognised for its ability to defy conventions, embrace technology and signal new directions.
Even though the majority of the clothes designs are DIY jobs, there has been an increase in both local and foreign labels. With a lot of styles being so extreme and avant-garde that they are of strong resemblance to the the haute-couture seen on European catwalks.
One main dress style, or more so “street style”, in Japan is Lolita. With a huge variety of many different themes, It has become one of the more recognisable styles. Recently gaining interest worldwide, Lolita can be seen as one of the many different styles of dress that bring the “cute” to Japan.
There are many styles of Lolita, the main ones being Gothic, sweet, punk, classic and Kodona. The term Lolita may be off putting because of the connection to the novel “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. This changed the meaning of the name for most people in the Western world. It is generally assumed though that the name of the fashion comes from a distortion of the meaning while word-borrowing from English. In the case of the fashion the term “Lolita” only refers to the child-like nature of some of the clothes and is also used because of the beauty or cuteness of the name. Lolita Fashion is emphatically not about looking sexy and is instead about looking cute or elegant.
In addition to being a fashion style, it has been recognised to be a way of life, with some people enjoy living a “Lolita Lifestyle”. This is the case in which one sees Lolita as more of a philosophy of living beautifully rather than just dressing it. Someone living a Lolita Lifestyle may try and live like a princess, surrounding themselves with things of beauty, and taking part in a number of ‘proper’ feminine activities such as baking, embroidery, sewing and other old-fashioned “women’s” activities.