Making Lolita Brands More Accessible


A screen cap from the movie Kamakazi Girls

Note: This post isn't meant to imply that if Lolita brands did these things they would be rolling in the yens, just that there are some things that I feel brands do that hold back a lot of girls from ever really being able to get into Lolita. Again, this post is meant as kind of a rant/pipe dream, not me trying to assume I know how businesses work XD

Lolita brands tend to cater to a niche market, and that niche is typically petite girls who want to wear expensive and eccentric high-end clothes. As you all know though, not all Lolitas are petite, or even interested in wearing something known for being expensive, many Lolitas simply want to be able to buy and wear their favorite style of clothes. But, because the typical Lolita is not the Lolita that most brands make their clothes for, she is left out in the cold. Yes, there are many brand Lolita pieces that can fit a variety of sizes, and buying second hand can help bring down the cost, but buying whatever the hell you want, directly from the brand is not something your average Lolita will ever bother with, or sometimes even be able to do.

It is true that in the past year or so many Lolita brands have indeed expanded their shops to Western shores, either literally, in Baby's case, or through at the very least releasing an English web shop that ships overseas. Along with this, Baby has begun releasing a few select dresses in large size, and even on occasion an extra large. These are big steps from clothing stores that several years ago wouldn't even ship overseas and typically made one size of dress that is anything but "one size fits all". But I think it is a far cry from what Lolita brands can be doing to make both their clothes, and thus Lolita in general, more accessible. I also feel like if Lolita brands addressed some of these issues, fewer Lolitas would be so eager to throw their money at poor quality knock-off shops.

The following list might all just be dreams of mine, but I feel that if Lolita brands did these things, Lolita would be even bigger than it is now.
  • Expand to the West. Either by offering overseas shipping, or opening shop here. It's no secret that Lolita isn't as big as it used to be in the early 2000's in Japan, the whole fashion seems to have migrated West. There are literally thousands of customers outside of Japan that many brands are cutting themselves off from by not, at the very least, offering overseas shipping.
  • Multiple sizes. This is one is important. Not everyone fits standard brand size, therefore, not everyone can buy brand, so, dear burandos, why not make it so most everyone can buy from you? Sure, some brands offer L sized clothes, but brand large isn't exactly very big, and L sized Lolita clothes are often only offered for a handful of very simple JSKs. Why brands don't make their most popular prints in larger sizes is a mystery to me since most girls are climbing all over each other and practically throwing money at their computer screens trying to get some brands newest prints.
  • Friendlier customer service. There have been several horror stories on EGL of people spending hundreds of dollars on one item of clothing directly from a Lolita brand, receiving it only to find that something is horribly wrong, emailing the brand, and basically being told "Too bad, I don't see anything wrong." A pair of $300 Innocent World boots with a seriously crooked front come to mind. In the West, we expect to get what we pay for, in Japan, you might be paying a lot for something just for the privilege of owning something expensive.
  • Lower priced "logo" items. No, this isn't a demand for Angelic Pretty to start selling all their dresses for $60, I just think that it would be awesome if Lolita brands sold a few select things for a cheaper price, for when you need that burando fix ASAP. A sub-cutsew perhaps, just a simple puffy sleeved tee with their brand logo or newest print on the front, not one of the $80+ blouses in teeshirt material that are often in the cutsew section. Or even bringing back the logo tote, something that I have seen less and less of in brand shops over the years, which I always thought was awesome because they were typically $30 and had the brands logo plastered all over it, just the thing to add to your cart at the last minute. In fact, my first brand item was a couple of Logo totes because I had minimal money to spend and I just wanted something brand right now. I feel like cheaper brand items would also encourage the non-Lolita to buy from places like Angelic Pretty or Baby every now and then and encourage the Lolita to wear her precious brand in her non-Lolita coordinates. After all, cute and girly clothes rarely go out of style.

Will brands ever do some of these things? I doubt it. But why is it? Is it the cost? I know that it is cost effective for a brand, especially one that sells to such a specific niche, to make only one size of clothing, but I honestly do believe that most brands can indeed do things like offer every dress they sell in multiple sizes, many other brands that cater to alternative fashions do. I just don't think Japanese Lolita brands are willing to. Many Japanese brands, both Lolita and otherwise, tend to make their clothes in smaller quantities, and smaller sizes, to keep them exclusive, and thus, make them even more special than a $300 pink princess dress already is. It makes the clothes, the brand, and every one wearing them part of something more exclusive than it really needs to be. Someone really needs to send Mana a note letting him no that he's not actually Christian Dior, no matter how high he prices his clothes.

I am not going to deny it, I have a love hate relationship with Lolita, especially Lolita brands. On one hand, I love Lolita, it's what I wear nearly every day, it's what I spend large amounts of time and money on, it inspires me, and I just love it and I can't help it. On the other, I hate some of the stuff Lolita brands do, I hate their stupid sizes, I hate their blatant over pricing (No, I'm not talking about their dresses, which I think are reasonably priced for the most part, but things like injection molded plastic jewelry, pleather shoes and purses that are on par with PayLess quality, and most cutsews), and I hate the elitist attitude that many brands seem to have. I want to love certain Lolita brands unconditionally, but I just can't, and don't think think I ever will be able to unless they start to change how they do things. But, then again, should I really trust anyone who asks for hundreds of my dollars, even if it is in exchange for pretty party dresses?

If you're interested in a response about why these things probably aren't going to happen (and a few things that I was just plain wrong about, oops XD) check out this response from The Osaka Koneko.

So, fellow Lolitas, agree or disagree? Do you think brands run just dandy the way they are, or would the brand of your dreams run things a little differently?

31 comments:

  1. In addition to more totes (which I have been looking for decent ones, not just bunny ones), socks! I also wish there were more cutsews available. Basically I agree with your whole post.

    So far, I have only bought brand secondhand. Mostly, I find t he ordering process from an overseas seller to be intimidating and a little risky. Someday I might, but so far, it's just been a risk I haven't taken.

    How about more lucky packs, prz?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going to have to go with "disagree" on this one. Even as a... let's go with non-petite Caucasian girl I've never been bothered with the limits that brands put on themselves. In some way, I feel as though I respect brands for staying true to their vision, whatever it may be, even if it involves high prices and smaller sizing in order to force exclusivity. I think it's impossible to try and analyze the business that they do with limited to no facts on things like their actual profit margin, the volume of business that they do inside and outside of their home country, and the risks that they may see in order to make changes for what may be a smaller demographic than we realize. I'd rather continue to love Lolita (and curse it a bit too) and stick with the status quo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Eh, I'm going to have to disagree for the most part. It is an interesting topic, though. The book I'm reading now (Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster) talks about a lot of the same things you are. In capitalism, more sizes and cheaper prices may spread frills and thrills to more people, but it might end up severely limiting the rarely-seen level of quality that a lot of us find so fascinating in brand.

    No one's going to take a cut from their monthly paychecks just so more girls can wear their stuff at cheaper prices. Even just adding one extra size comes with an array of extra manufacturing costs as opposed to the efficiency of making everything one size. These extra costs are going to be taken out of material quality.

    In fact, brands are already doing just this with their lucky packs. I think it's sad but interesting, nonetheless. If I end up making another post about this topic, I'll link back to this one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so sorry, dear, but I'm another solid "disagree" on this one.

    As I was writing my reasons why, it ended up being 3 full pages long, so I decided to spare you and write it in my own journal instead. While I think you make some interesting points, overall I think I have a very different perspective, and I hope you won't mind my linking to my post here, and to yours on my own.

    My response is here:
    http://theosakakoneko.blogspot.com/2010/03/making-lolita-brands-more-accessible.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Many other brands do the same too, but maybe Lolita-brands do this a little more because it is exclusieve. I think that's a stupid idea. If the brand-people behave and (like with the shoes) do things properly, they could get more costumers than if they don't. Aslo with shipping. They would definetley get more costumers.

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  6. ahh i love kamikaze girls and i wish brands expanded :3

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  7. I guess I'll be one of the "agree!" responses. I totally understand why the brands don't make these changes, it is a risk, but my inner american capitalist says that everyone should be able to 'buy the dream' so to speak.

    And I HATE what they charge for their purses. They are the most plastic-looking pleather I've ever seen. Which is strange to me since most brands put so much quality into everything else they do.

    Here's to wishful thinking!*

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh man, I so agree with you! If only brand were more accessible, I would love for it to expand more and become more readily available oversees. This will probably never happen though. Sigh...

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  9. I agree with all of this. I like the Meta skirt I own because it's fully shirred and was part of a lucky pack, so it resold fairly cheap. yet I would love to buy directly from the brands. meta has items on their sale page for cheap, but they're always sold out. I think some brands, like Baby are really stepping up their games. However, the price and sizing is still a huge problem. AP is the most confusing to me. they're super popular, resell for more money then they're sold for, and half the girls who want to wear their items won't fit. They lose a ton of money on resales and reproductions made in larger sizes. I wish someone who spoke Japanese could tell the designers about this huge market they're ignoring.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I pretty much agree with you. I understand the exclusivity thing, it makes sense. The sizing thing does not. Yes, it would cost money to manufacture larger sizes, but they would sell like hotcakes. They could charge just as much for a dress that is a larger size (even a little more) and larger girls would buy them because they want to be able to wear brand, they just can't fit into it. I'm being a bit snarky here, but I would imagine that most (if not all) or the girls who have posted saying that they disagree have no trouble whatsoever fitting into brand. I mean, just look at how fast L sizes go on the sales comm! Western girls tend to be bigger, and they want to wear this stuff. It's a supply and demand issue, and it seems like brands are starting to see that there is a demand for larger sizes.

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  11. I couldn't agree more. I have a strong hate-love relationship with lolita as well. I dress lolita every day, but I own very few brand pieces. I see girls selling their used DIRTY socks for $40 and i just wanna throw up. I see second hand shops selling used dresses for far more than the original price was and i start to hate lolita for doing this to us. I feel used and betrayed. It's so obvious that people are willing to pay and the rich people will win the bidding war. I also wonder how lolitas can do this to other lolitas. Selling their used clothing for so much money, they refuse to loose a single coin when they buy/sell even if they've been using a dress for months! It makes me sick. And I'm to tall for brand too. It really is a mystery why the choose to make one plain boring one color JSK in a size bigger instead of any popular print dresses.

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  12. I personally hope that brand would release more smaller sizes! XS! one size is always too big for me :(
    btw some designers don't release bigger sizes because they are afraid that this wouldn't look cute anymore. no kidding! @_@

    ReplyDelete
  13. My first brand item was in fact a brand tote bag hehe :)

    I agree with indigo_tide on this; acutually, I don't feel that the prices are too unreasonable, after all, we are paying for brand like any other brands VW, LV ...etc..
    I buy brand items a few times here and there directly, while other times, it makes me happy to find second hand items for a fraction of the value with little or no wear. I don't mind waiting for lucky packs either, however I wish more brands would make LP..*cough* Moi Meme Moitie*cough* (I'm sure this would be a dream hehe)

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  14. Aww hon I just noticed you linked me! No wonder I'm getting more hits.. XD
    But I think there's another user on LJ who goes by "Kuro Neko" - you could refer to me as The Osaka Koneko or Kuro Pink (my blog name) but I think you got them kinda mixed up! ;) ♥

    ReplyDelete
  15. XD Oops, no idea why I called you "Kuro Neko" I think I was going for "Kuro Pink" but failed.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally agree!!! T____T I want XS sized dresses too! There are so many lovely dresses that I end up not buying because it's too big for me like BTSSB's Sleeping Beauty OP........ *cries*

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  17. I totally agree. I know some sites have XS, but only on some items. I know that some sites say that you can size it yourself, but none of the really well known ones do. I'm very very small despite my age (im four foot six, and im sixteen...), so this makes dressing in Lolita very dificult. I can fit into SOME extra smalls, and i understand that most of this stuff isnt exactly children's clothes, but i'm still a teenager who loves lolita. and that stuff about bigger sizes not looking cute? what about all those tall girls who'd look lovely in lolita?! it's really unfair...

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  18. They need to make small and extra small sizes, too!! >< I'm a tiny Lolita, so every time I get a blouse (CUSTOM made size, too!) it's too big in the bust and shoulders and almost all of my skirts are at least an inch or two too wide at the waist.
    The pj's from Kohl's that I'm sitting in right now aren't even small enough for me. >__<; Oh dear.....

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  19. Lol I'm four foot three and only about 97 pounds! And I'm seventeen!
    They really need to make things smaller for all the cute lil lolis out there!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I totally agree. I know some sites have XS, but only on some items. I know that some sites say that you can size it yourself, but none of the really well known ones do. I'm very very small despite my age (im four foot six, and im sixteen...), so this makes dressing in Lolita very dificult. I can fit into SOME extra smalls, and i understand that most of this stuff isnt exactly children's clothes, but i'm still a teenager who loves lolita. and that stuff about bigger sizes not looking cute? what about all those tall girls who'd look lovely in lolita?! it's really unfair...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm going to have to go with "disagree" on this one. Even as a... let's go with non-petite Caucasian girl I've never been bothered with the limits that brands put on themselves. In some way, I feel as though I respect brands for staying true to their vision, whatever it may be, even if it involves high prices and smaller sizing in order to force exclusivity. I think it's impossible to try and analyze the business that they do with limited to no facts on things like their actual profit margin, the volume of business that they do inside and outside of their home country, and the risks that they may see in order to make changes for what may be a smaller demographic than we realize. I'd rather continue to love Lolita (and curse it a bit too) and stick with the status quo.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm so sorry, dear, but I'm another solid "disagree" on this one.

    As I was writing my reasons why, it ended up being 3 full pages long, so I decided to spare you and write it in my own journal instead. While I think you make some interesting points, overall I think I have a very different perspective, and I hope you won't mind my linking to my post here, and to yours on my own.

    My response is here:
    http://theosakakoneko.blogspot.com/2010/03/making-lolita-brands-more-accessible.html

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree with all of this. I like the Meta skirt I own because it's fully shirred and was part of a lucky pack, so it resold fairly cheap. yet I would love to buy directly from the brands. meta has items on their sale page for cheap, but they're always sold out. I think some brands, like Baby are really stepping up their games. However, the price and sizing is still a huge problem. AP is the most confusing to me. they're super popular, resell for more money then they're sold for, and half the girls who want to wear their items won't fit. They lose a ton of money on resales and reproductions made in larger sizes. I wish someone who spoke Japanese could tell the designers about this huge market they're ignoring.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I personally hope that brand would release more smaller sizes! XS! one size is always too big for me :(
    btw some designers don't release bigger sizes because they are afraid that this wouldn't look cute anymore. no kidding! @_@

    ReplyDelete
  25. I guess I'll be one of the "agree!" responses. I totally understand why the brands don't make these changes, it is a risk, but my inner american capitalist says that everyone should be able to 'buy the dream' so to speak.

    And I HATE what they charge for their purses. They are the most plastic-looking pleather I've ever seen. Which is strange to me since most brands put so much quality into everything else they do.

    Here's to wishful thinking!*

    ReplyDelete
  26. Eh, I'm going to have to disagree for the most part. It is an interesting topic, though. The book I'm reading now (Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster) talks about a lot of the same things you are. In capitalism, more sizes and cheaper prices may spread frills and thrills to more people, but it might end up severely limiting the rarely-seen level of quality that a lot of us find so fascinating in brand.

    No one's going to take a cut from their monthly paychecks just so more girls can wear their stuff at cheaper prices. Even just adding one extra size comes with an array of extra manufacturing costs as opposed to the efficiency of making everything one size. These extra costs are going to be taken out of material quality.

    In fact, brands are already doing just this with their lucky packs. I think it's sad but interesting, nonetheless. If I end up making another post about this topic, I'll link back to this one.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Not making larger sizes because they're "afraid that this wouldn't look cute anymore" is actually really insulting of them.. It's like they think that bigger people can't be cute or good looking, or only little/petit/asian people are capable of being cute.. Bigger sizes doesn't mean it's only for overweight people, it means sizes for taller people, bigger boned/framed people, and people who are busty or particularly curvy. And I think every size and shape is beautiful and should be celebrated.. That kind of exclusivity is the kind of elitist crap I hate in fashion. This is partly why I like off-brand high quality stuff, they generally come in more accepting sizes and don't have the elitist factor as much (not to say all brand is elitist, but it's more common).

    ReplyDelete
  28. I pretty much agree with you. I understand the exclusivity thing, it makes sense. The sizing thing does not. Yes, it would cost money to manufacture larger sizes, but they would sell like hotcakes. They could charge just as much for a dress that is a larger size (even a little more) and larger girls would buy them because they want to be able to wear brand, they just can't fit into it. I'm being a bit snarky here, but I would imagine that most (if not all) or the girls who have posted saying that they disagree have no trouble whatsoever fitting into brand. I mean, just look at how fast L sizes go on the sales comm! Western girls tend to be bigger, and they want to wear this stuff. It's a supply and demand issue, and it seems like brands are starting to see that there is a demand for larger sizes.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I couldn't agree more. I have a strong hate-love relationship with lolita as well. I dress lolita every day, but I own very few brand pieces. I see girls selling their used DIRTY socks for $40 and i just wanna throw up. I see second hand shops selling used dresses for far more than the original price was and i start to hate lolita for doing this to us. I feel used and betrayed. It's so obvious that people are willing to pay and the rich people will win the bidding war. I also wonder how lolitas can do this to other lolitas. Selling their used clothing for so much money, they refuse to loose a single coin when they buy/sell even if they've been using a dress for months! It makes me sick. And I'm to tall for brand too. It really is a mystery why the choose to make one plain boring one color JSK in a size bigger instead of any popular print dresses.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I couldn't agree more, if anything from a business standpoint. If they are needing customers, it's better to expand to larger or smaller sizing depending on what they want to do. It's not about artistic integrity (which is what everyone is stating by "sticking to their vision"), it's about what will make the most sense for a customer base. IF they ever hurt for funds in an ever expanding economy and globalization that is happening as we speak, they will have to. Especially if the trend is heading Westward and dying out in Japan slowly.

    ReplyDelete

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