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Lolita fashion: A trans-global subculture

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While there are some who would argue that the origin of Lolita fashion can be traced back to fiction (namely, the 1955 novel Lolita, which was adapted to film in 1962 and again in 1997) and has relevance to sexual attractiveness with reference to the young, this popular style developed more recently into a subcultural identity in Japan as a distinctive style in its own right. This article regards Lolita as an independent street fashion and subculture and explores this particular culture that Lolitas (those who wear this distinct fashion style) have created. Although a small-scale subculture, Lolitas demonstrate an obvious way of thinking and behaving that reinforces their identity, in which fashion plays a significant role. The fashion style suggests escapism through fantasy as it can be interpreted as a visual resistance against conventional culture and is therefore of interest to a range of disciplines including fashion, culture and behaviour theorists. The article explores this subculture in the UK context to provide a better understanding of British Lolitas and evaluates the marketplace to offer a retail-marketing perspective.
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Keywords: British; Japan; Lolita; fashion; style; subculture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Leeds 2: University of Huddersfield

Publication date: July 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • Fashion, Style & Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship and its interfacings with popular culture. It was established to provide an interdisciplinary environment for fashion academics and practitioners to publish innovative scholarship in all aspects of fashion and popular culture relating to design, textiles, production, promotion, consumption and appearance-related products and services. Articles related to history, manufacturing, aesthetics, sourcing, marketing, branding, merchandising, retailing, technology, psychological/sociological aspects of dress, style, body image, and cultural identities, as well as purchasing, shopping, and the ways and means consumers construct identity as associated to Fashion, Style & Popular Culture are welcomed. The journal offers a broad range of written and visual scholarship and includes works done through various methods of research. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and translational applied research in the areas of fashion, style and popular culture. This journal hopes to stimulate new discussions in the fashion disciplines and to push the envelope of scholarship by welcoming new and established scholars to submit their works.

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