Photo Cred: Perla Ramirez
The New Girl
While I’ve been a casual fan of Lolita fashion while I’ve been frequenting the convention scene in Los Angeles, I never was sure if I could “fit in” with the community. I’ve heard nothing but toxic, clique-ish attitudes about the Southern California Lolita community that it made me not want to have anything to do with it. However, that was almost a decade ago. Since then, Lolita fashion has evolved, the world is more or less wiser and taken steps against bullying, and I wanted to give the Southern California community a chance. I have been active in New England for the time I was living there. I have to say this is my first meet up in California outside of a convention. I don’t quite count PMX because I attend that event as press rather than as a fashionista. However, while I did have my usual shy and new girl anxieties coming in, this was one of the best meet ups I’ve been to in a while. I had to double check when was my last Lolita meet up and it was back in April 2015 during Japan Day in Boston!
I heard about this meet up through my friend, Mary. She also introduced me into Lolita almost a decade ago. We actually did watch Kamikaze Girls a few years back when we used to be active in the ABJD community. Suffice to say, it’s been years since I’ve seen Kamikaze Girls
I actually bought this Baby the Stars Shine Bright dress from Mary at PMX. She was selling a few dresses at the swap meet. I’ve been wanting to a shirou themed coord for some time now. The wig is from Goth Lolita Wigs. The headband and necklace are offbrand. Additionally, the shoes are from Bodyline and the stockings are from Forever 21. I did have a pair of gloves with me that work great for using smart phones that I picked up at Unique Vintage during Dapper Day Expo.
Upon entering the tiny art house cineplex in a hipster-y district of Long Beach, we were greeted by Baby the Stars Shine Bright swag bags, cake, and popcorn. After buying our movie tickets, we went into the theater and it was a sea of frills. It was tiny, but intimate. There were a few racks of clothes from Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Alice and the Pirates. Deb bought a black JSK from Baby. I wanted to get the burgundy wine JSK from Alice, but I’m a bit too curvy for that. Instead, I went with a cute black cutsew (short sleeved cardigan) from Baby that I can use for everyday use.
Before the showing, we also had an old school themed coord contest. There were many Lolitas in old school themed coords in spirit of the movie. My friend, Mary, got runner up. In fact, she wore the exact same one piece as Momoko in the movie!
After the showing, there were raffles and giveaways. If you bought a VIP ticket, you were automatically in the raffle.
While I have seen Kamikaze Girls, it’s been years since I’ve seen it. I just remembered it was about an unlikely friendship between a Lolita obsessed country bumpkin and a yanki with a heart of gold. Essentially, Kamikaze Girls follows Momoko, a teenage girl from the Japanese countryside who dreams of living elegantly and decadently. Inspired by Rococo lifestyles of the rich and famous, she begins obsessing over Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Her family situation isn’t the best; she is raised by a single father who is kinda loser. One day, she meets Ichigo and her life takes a turn. Kamikaze Girls isn’t an advertisement piece for Baby the Stars Shine Bright; while it does feature the brand and it’s the only Lolita brand mentioned, it’s delightful to see Momoko go through adolescence in her own Momoko way. Kamikaze Girls is quixotic and quirky. While the set up may seem like a sob story on paper, the way it’s dealt with is very much full of laughs and we get to see how Momoko views her world and how she chooses to live in it. Without giving spoilers, the ending is pretty amazing. It’s a true coming of age story, but with the best of Japanese fashion (of the early to mid 2000’s).
After the movie, there was much shopping left to be done. The boutique owners were warning of the “sharks” coveting pieces. Hence, I went for the cut sew. There was much mingling after the show outside the theater and Lolita’s were already either planning to head on home or coordinate for lunch plans.
My friends and I decided to go ahead to the Portfolio Coffeehouse down the street. Debbie and I have ate there before; we usually have coffee and panini anytime we shop at Retro Row. We had a pretty good group following us. Apologies if we were talking too fast! Not only the food is organic and fair trade, it’s very healthy and tasty. I’m really glad that I could introduce people to one of my favorite hipster cafes! This was also a nice place to chit chat and get to know people as well. At the end of the day, we all exchanged out Instagram info.
Many thanks to Perla and Ashley Marie for hosting this event. This was a ton of fun; we’re really glad we did it. Also thank you to Mary for telling me about this event in advance. I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it since summer weekends can be pretty packed. It was just nice to do a Lolita meet up again. I forget how friendly this community can be; I really did enjoy everyone’s company at Portfolio Coffee. Also, thank you for the random couple at the parking lot for letting us have extra quarters when the meter wasn’t taking card!
Keep in touch,