Gothic, Lolita & Gothloli
The Look: All these Japanese subcultures find inspiration in Victorian and even earlier Western styles. Ultra frilly and feminine but occasionally worn by men, especially in visual-kei J-Rock. Gothic and Gothloli (Gothic Lolita) paint it black.
The Time: Mid to late ‘90s; continues to spread and develop in 21st century.
The Place: Japan – especially Osaka at first, then prevalent in Harajuku and other districts of Tokyo.
Influenced: One of many strands of Japanese streetstyle which is having a defining influence on 21st century style and fashion.
In the West we tend to think that innovative fashion and streetstyle always kicks off in Tokyo but (as Mariko Suzuki explains in her essay ‘Gothic, Lolita, visual-kei: First Kansai then the World (via Harajuku)’[i] it is actually Osaka on the west coast of Japan which has a reputation as a wellspring of original, eccentric and daring style – a reputation which goes all the way back to at least the Edo period and which in the ‘90s was very much alive in the form of the ‘Kansai’ group of designers who hailed from Osaka. But not only professional fashion designers: lurking on the streets of Osaka were to be found extraterrestrial creatures who were even more extraordinary than those to be found on the streets of the soon to be internationally famous Harajuku district of Tokyo.
[i] In Tiffany Godoy, Tokyo Street Style: Fashion in Harajuku, London, 2007, pp. 134-161.