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What is Sweet Lolita Fashion?

If you are not familiar with what lolita fashion is, be sure to review and check out our Encyclopedia entry on the topic. We also discussed gothic lolita fashion last week.

Sweet lolita is one of the most iconic Harajuku styles worn by lolitas all around the world. But what makes sweet lolita… sweet?

A sweet summer look.

 

The easiest way to tell the difference is by the colour of their coordinates. A sweet lolita will almost always be wearing soft candy or primary colours such as pink, yellow, red, or blue. Dresses and skirts are more likely to feature a print, while gothic lolita dresses tend to be simpler with more focus on the smaller details.

Sweet lolita prints feature candy, animals, cookies, and ribbons. Each new print often comes in a variety of colours to suit the buyer’s wardrobe and a set of matching accessories and even legwear. A coordinate is usually finished with a cupcake shaped bell petticoat. The more OTT (over the top) the coordinate, the fluffier the petticoat!

 

Etymology

The term is unrelated to the book or lolicon. While the style originated earlier, the phrase “lolita fashion” wouldn’t appear in the media until 1994.

As gothic lolita grew mainstream, young women wanted something cute and angelic to contrast the edgy look. ”Amaloli” (sweet lolita) was coined to differentiate the two styles.

 

A Brief History

 

Sweet lolita in 1998.

 

In the 70s, MILK first opened its Harajuku store, producing idol costumes which brand fans would later work into their daily wardrobe. Lolita writer Takemoto Novala suggests that the fans would spontaneously refer to themselves as lolita. However, many of the early brands still don’t refer to themselves as lolita brands. The now-iconic Angelic Pretty’s predecessor opened in 1979.

During the 80s, the high-end fashion boom was in full swing and fashionistas would flock to Laforet in Harajuku for the latest designs, including “doll fashion.”

Girly vintage-style brands like PINK HOUSE and magazines like Olive were popular with young women.

It wasn’t until the 90s that the lolita we know today began to form. Iconic brands like Angelic Pretty and BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT (BTSSB) existed, but the public didn’t yet recognize their look. Many consider singer/model Robin to be the first sweet lolita in the media, although a few late 90s dramas featured sweet lolita characters.

 

Sweet Lolita Fashion in Modern Times

 

A vivid Angelic Pretty look from 2013. 

 

The 2004 movie release of Takemoto Novala’s Shimotsuma Monogatari (aka Kamikaze Girls) introduced a wider audience to sweet lolita. While it initially received criticism from some lolitas, the film remains a cult classic.

Angelic Pretty sparked the OTT sweet lolita trend in around 2009, with pastel wigs, stacks of accessories, vividly printed dresses, and twin looks appearing in magazines and on the streets of Harajuku.

OTT sweet’s reign ended around 2013, although some aspects have remained the norm. Various trends have since come and gone, but with the rising age of lolitas and international popularity, current trends include coordinates with traditional influences, organza/sheer layers, romantic girly styling, and princess-style layering.

 

Existing sweet lolita brands include:

Angelic Pretty: @angelicpretty_official
BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT: @babythessbofficial
Emily Temple Cute: @emilytemplecute_fromharajuku
Metamorphose temps de fille: @metamorphosetempsdefille
Melody Basket: @melodybasket0000

 

References:

青木 美沙子(日本ロリータ協会会長). “ロリータファッションBOOK”, 2014, Retrieved 04 August 2020.
ストリートモード研究会. “ストリートモードブック―ネオ★ゴシック・ロリータ”, 2007, Retrieved 04 August 2020.
松浦桃. “セカイと私とロリータファッション”, 2007, Retrieved 04 August 2020.

 

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