Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Camo Loli

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Also known as
Camouflage Lolita

Country of origin
Japan (Home of Lolita)

Gender balance
There aren't really many... as far as I've seen, 1 male and about 2-3 females have engaged in this style. Like other Lolita styles, I would presume that if Camo Loli took off in a big way, there would be considerably more females than males. Hard to tell.


A very short lived subset of the Lolita style, it combined the Lolita silhouette (cupcake shape – de-emphasised bust, puffy skirt down to the knee or just below the knee) with camouflage patterns.

According to Caro Dee (who provides much of the information in this factsheet), Camo Loli came about as a collab between popular Lolita brand Angelic Pretty and Aya of the band  サイコ・ル・シェイム Psycho le Cemu. In the same way that Mana of the band MALICE MIZER revolutionised Gothic Lolita with his cross-dressing ways and Lolita brand Moi-même-Moitié, Aya was something of a Lolita idol who also cross-dressed.

Here is someone cosplaying as him. Source.
In any case, Camo Loli appeared and disappeared quite rapidly, although some examples still exist on the internet. Interestingly, more recent attempts at Camo Loli have a somewhat Steampunk vibe. Google search informs me that Camo Loli OPs (one piece dresses) are available for sale on line.
Style icons
Aya is probably the only ‘high profile’ Camo Loli that existed. He modelled the Angelic Pretty Camo Loli range he helped design, after all.

And this is the only picture I can find of him in Camo Loli.
What gives? Source.

Further reading and resources

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Han Loli

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Also known as
Han Lolita, han-loli

Country of origin
Korea, sort of. Rather, it tends to be created by Korean girls in other countries who feel there is a gap in the kinds of Lolita influenced by traditional dress.

Gender balance
Female only, so far.


In the tradition of Qi Loli and Wa Loli is Han Loli, which incorporates the traditional Korean dress for women, the hanbok, into the Lolita style. The hanbok is made of Korean silk, a different weight to Chinese or Japanese silk.

Members of SNSD aka Girls' Generation in hanbok. Source.

As with all Lolita styles, the preferred silhouette is that of a ‘cupcake’. A bell-like skirt and de-emphasis of the bust achieves this look, and the hanbok, with its unique shape, lends itself nicely. It is a very rare style, with only a few people attempting it.

Style icons
The livejournal user envirion has a very interesting post on Han Loli, giving the technical names for each piece of the hanbok she incorporates.


 Ceratopian also has 2 very short posts with pictures of herself in Han Loli.

Inspiration in popular culture
A few years ago, popular KPop group 포미닛 4minute posted pictures of themselves in modified hanbok for the Harvest Moon Festival. The style is very Han Loli.

f(x) also had a go at Lolitaesque hanboks.


As did 시크릿 SECRET.

 Further reading and resources

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Let's actually answer The Goth Challenge questions!

I'm not going to do a post for each one. Let's bash each one out now!

Day 1 – How did you come across the subculture?
I would say watching The Nightmare Before Christmas when I was 5. I liked fairies and supernatural things and the movie was fun.  By the time I was about 14, goth culture was really taking off again in Australia, with articles in the weekend magazines and goths in movies. 

Day 2 – Share photos and experiences from your Baby Bat days.

Someone caught me as I was creeping about in the dark at a party. The cow
was a prize from winning a party game. Not that I can remember what it was.
I had long hair! Okay, so that jacket I had for years, even though it was a size to big for me, because I loved it so much. Black corduroy with silver buttons :) The necklace I'm wearing there I still have (after all these years!) although the wyvern's tail has broken off... 

Day 3 – When did you come out the Goth closet? (If you didn't then simply discuss the topic)
Hmm... I think I started dressing goth around 14 or 15. My mother hated it. For years I hid my studded cuffs and dog collars, but I wore a lot of black. I got my ears pierced three times, twice without her knowledge, and I successfully hid them for several weeks after each time, once when I was 17, and once when I was 19. Now I'm not really fussed. She complains, but... yeah, okay mum. I don't like the way you dress either :)

Day 4 – Name a stereotype or cliche you can relate to.

I like skulls 

Day 5 – Is there a local Goth band or group in your area?

No :( Not that I know of, anyway.

Day 6 – Hand write your favourite lyric and take a picture.

I'll pass.

Day 7 – Ten of your favourite goth bands. (probably going to have people saying THAT'S NOT GOTH but IDC)

  1. NICK CAVE EVERYTHING (I don't care if you don't think he's goth)
  2. Sisters of Mercy
  3. Voltaire (so he's not a band)
  4. Emilie Autumn and the Bloody Crumpets
  5. The Dresden Dolls
  6. NIN (trololololol)
  7. HIM
  8. Evanescence...
  9. Alice Cooper (again, not a band)
  10. The Cure :)

Day 8 – What's your worst and best experience with non-Goths?
My worst experience is always with my mother. Telling me I look trashy, worried constantly that some guy is going to attack and rape me because of how I dress. Everyone else is cool with it.

Day 9 – What genre of music do you dislike?

Country music. Unfortunately, my boyfriend does like some country, but most of the time we chill to Nick Cave or Shellac, so it's fine.

Day 10 – What do you hate and love about the subculture?

I hate the things I hate in life in general. People desperate to be 'recognised', to 'fit in' and to do so by mocking others and trampling over them. Elitist attitudes to preserve the 'purity' of the subculture, as if we were Pure Bloods or Aryans or something. Eyeball hair bows. Nope, can't do them.

Day 11 – Is Goth a lifestyle for you?

In so far as whether I dress up or dress down, I tend to be in black, I love listening to Nick Cave all the time and I'd rather read Sandman than watch TV (unless David Attenborough is on) :D, goth is a lifestyle for me. I don't wear makeup all the time, to keep my skin relatively healthy, and I don't watch lots of horror movies, but I've been prowling the garden looking for dead rats to keep their skeletons. Problem is, they keep disappearing...

Day 12 – What's your gothic inspiration?

Blogs, mostly. I follow alternative blogs, whether goth, gyaru, J-street, whatever, and constantly seek ideas from them. 

Day 13 – What was your first band t-shirt?

Don't think I've ever had one. They're really only good for sleeping in or wearing while painting, I think. I've never wanted to buy one, anyway. Oh wait, I stole a Pleasure Head Birthday Party shirt off my boyfriend.

Day 14 – What was your best and worst DIY disaster.

Best was, or is, rather, the many pieces of jewellery I have made, including a very industrial looking ankh I wore for a Death (Sandman) cosplay. Worst? I was practicing cutting up t-shirts and basically turned one into a web of holes. Whoops.

Day 15 – Your favourite or most expensive item in your wardrobe.

I don't really have ONE favourite. I love the Pleasure Head Birthday Party shirt, and my black skater dress where the bodice and skirt are held together by cord through eyelets. I love my ripped red skinnies. My favourite boots died an unfortunate death a few years ago, and I haven't been able to satisfactorily replace them. My most expensive item would be the dress I wore to my Year 12 formal. It's a halter neck dress with a black sheer and beaded top layer over a very light pink satin underdress.

Day 16 – What's the most casual you've ever dressed?

You mean like throwing on a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants? I do that occasionally, although I rarely go out dressed like that.

Day 17 – Your favourite Goth brand.

I don't have one. I believe in thrifting. I seem to gather a lot of CKM stuff that way. 

Day 18 – Worst hair experience.

The first time I had my hair cut short. My fringe was kind of straight, and the hair brushed to the sides of my face were too thick. It made my nose look massive and I felt ugly :/ I started growing my hair out again, but that looked bad too, so I plucked up the courage to cut it all off again. Now I cut my own hair, mostly, because I know how I want it to look.

Day 19 – Share beauty advice and take a photo of your make up.

Let's see... drink lots of water and use sunscreen. Don't wear makeup without thinking about your unique face and how to enhance it. For instance, I rarely rock lipstick. My lips are fairly thin, so when I wear lippy, I look like I'm pursing my lips all the time. On the other hand, my eyes are definitely the most attractive part of my face, so I make the look massive with smokey makeup and tonnes of mascara.

Oh hey look, I'm wearing lipstick (yeah, I do that sometimes).
Also, you can see that expensive formal dress.
Day 20 – If you could dye your hair any colour what would it be?
Pastel pink. Sounds weird? Oh well.

Day 21 – What body mod do you have or have you considered?
I have three piercings in my left earlobe and two in my right. I would love to have a helix or industrial piercing. I've also been considering ink for a while.

Day 22 – If you could attend any Goth event what would it be?

Eternal Death Wake would be cool. So would Bats Day at the Fun Park.

Day 23 – Your favourite artist or photographer.

Also, Yuumei.

Her art is truly beautiful, and often very sad.

Day 24 – Name the best websites for Goths.

Gothy blogs! Stripy Tights and Dark Delights and Dark Side of the Net Goth and Halloween Links. Also, Youtube.

Day 25 – Did you ever consider leaving the subculture?

Not really. More about toning it down. Screw that!

Day 26 – Show a photo for every year (or month if you're new) that you've being into Goth.

I don't really have any...

Day 27 – The worst thing you ever did to a newbie.

I've never really made a serious enough acquaintance with a goth to do anything to them.

Day 28 – Do you consider yourself an eldergoth?

Nope. I'm still young, dammit!

Day 29 – What do you think will happen to Goth in the future?
Goth will remain goth whilst branching out and encompassing other things. There will always be trad goths who hate cybergoths who think gothic lolita is weird who reckon nu goths are just hipsters. Except probably everyone will hate paper goths or whatever new style pops up next.

Day 30 – Make a list of blogs you regularly read and link to them.

Just check my massive blogroll in the left hand column of my blog.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Human Dolls

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

I expect some people might resent my inclusion of human dolls in the Encyclopaedia. I say it takes all sorts to make the world. Human dolls are a subculture, but not all subcultures are so extreme.

This is a difficult subculture to write about as most of the readily available information on the internet is very hyped up and sensationalist.


Also known as
Living dolls

Country of Origin
Probably the first widely publicised living doll came from Ukraine, but human dolls can be found worldwide (eg. China, Japan, America, Korea, UK...)

Gender balance
Mostly women


Human dolls are a 'fashion subculture' that really takes the idea of 'it's not just about fashion, it's a lifestyle' to a new level. The dolls are people who seek in every way possible to resemble dolls. This is distinct from Lolita, where the aim to look cute and doll-like, but not necessarily like a doll in every way. However, some human dolls do have an interest in Lolita fashion.

Human dolls often seek plastic surgery to resemble dolls more closely. In addition, thick makeup to produce a doll-like appearance, especially huge eyes, is generally applied. Human dolls have an ideal doll form, whether it be from the Barbie franchise or a traditional doll, and seek to replicate it as closely as possible.

Style icons
There are several very famous human dolls who are currently active. Anastasiya Shpagina is a Ukrainian lady who models herself on anime girls. She has had plastic surgery on her face and body, and applies heavy make-up to make her eyes large and anime-like.

Valeria Lukyanova, the original human doll (also known as the living Barbie doll), models herself (you guessed it) on a Barbie-like figure. She has an exceptionally small waist and large breasts, believed to be the work of plastic surgery, which Valeria has denied. In addition to purported plastic surgery, her make-up style slims her features and widens her eyes.


Justin Jedlica (also known as the real-life Ken) is an American guy who has had around 90 operations to produce a Ken-doll-like appearance. Unlike the female human dolls, he does not use makeup, crediting his whole appearance to surgery and implants.


There are many more who are generally quite famous, but I'll stop there or I'll be going all day...

Inspirations in popular culture
The two prime inspirations for human dolls come from anime and the Barbie franchise, but the general aim is to look doll-like and flawless. In essence, any 'perfect' looking character is a potential inspiration.


Further reading and resources

Friday, 17 January 2014

Blog and life update † additions to the Encyclopaedia and challenges list, NIN concert, any suggestions?

Hey kittens :3 So I've started writing up entries for the Encyclopaedia (and discovering a tonne more subcultures along the way) and I've compiled a list of links to subculture 'challenges' and question memes. Please check them out in the tabs at the top of the page, below the header.

So NIN comes to Sydney in March, so the boyfriend and I (and my best friend and HER boyfriend) are rolling down to see them. We're a bit far back, unfortunately, but Queens of the Stone Age are also headlining, so it should be a good night.

So what's in store? Well, a heck tonne more Encyclopaedia entries (does anyone have a request for a specific subculture right now? Because at the moment I'm just picking them at random), possibly some tutorial posts or free downloads for you all :) and random Philosoraptor-like musings. 

Thank you kindly to all you foxes who read my blog. It's great fun to chat to you all, so keep commenting :)

So, anyone want a specific subculture entry done now? Is there anything else you'd like to see on this blog?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Panda Poppare

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Also known as
Panda, panda popare, BD popare,

Country of Origin
Defining colours
  •  Black and white
  • Very rarely, a bit of red

Gender balance
On the internet, there are considerably more female than male. Hard to tell.

Panda poppare arose out of fandoms of Britpop and mod fashion. In many ways they resemble subcultures such as emos and mods, although popular music within this group is primarily shoegaze or dream pop, particularly from the Swedish band Broder Daniel. It is joked that frontman Henrik Berggren is considered a god by pandas. Pandas also listen to some trad Goth music. In the trend of emos, pandas apparently hate everyone except their friends, and often sit around drinking red wine in gloomy groups.


The girls have huge 60’s-like bobs with straight bangs which are usually black or pale blonde to white. This video shows an example of a panda girl doing her hair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFgzbCJZDhI (note, it’s in Swedish). For some reason, blogger can't find the video, so I can't embed it...

They wear mod style clothing, shirts and blouses with Peter pan collars, go-go boots or school girl style shoes and headbands. BD patches and pins are also commonly worn. Panda girls will make their skin pale, line their eyes with black, wear dramatic false lashes, and occasionally draw stars just below their eyes.


Panda boys may also wear dark eyeliner and draw stars on their faces. Some favour an ‘artsy’ sort of look, sporting trilbies, scarves and overcoats. Others follow the panda girl trend of 60s fashion, with straight bangs and bowl haircuts, usually black or blond. They may wear turtlenecks, while others wear white formal shirts with ties are worn under black jumpers or waistcoats.

Style icons
Fuck yeah poppare has a list of pandas who appear in the Tumblr site. I am not entirely sure if these are well known pandas or not, but they have good photos, so what the hell.

Inspiration in popular culture
Anyone from Broder Daniel, QED.
Henrik Berggren. Source
Further reading and resources 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Marshmallow girls † 'Plus size' in alternative fashion

Not too long ago, Victoria of Parfait Doll posted an interesting and exciting article on 'Marshmallow Girls'.

This is basically a term coined in the Japanese fashion industry to describe larger sized girls. When I saw the term, I was impressed. I feel that descriptions of women as 'large-boned', 'curvy' or 'plus-sized' are all somewhat patronising.

Still, I am speaking from a position as a small person. My typical clothing size is Aus 7-8 (US 3-4). Yet even people my size speak of the pressure to be a 'Size 0'. Personally, I haven't felt that pressure from looking at skinny models or actresses.

I've felt pressure from my own family.

As a half-Chinese, half-English girl, I am small, but generously endowed in the bust area and don't have the flat butt that small Asian girls often have. (Seriously, I know girls who buy butt padding. It's real.) I weigh more than 45kg, the 'ideal' weight for an Asian girl my height. I know this is an issue for many Asian girls, this myth that they are all skinny.

A few weeks ago, my mother looked at me and said: that's good, you've lost some weight. When I pointed out to her that my BMI is smack bang in the middle of the Healthy range, she shrugged and said: it's still good to lose weight.

My grandmother will often grab my arms or my cheeks and mutter: 很胖 (very fat). One of my uncles, when I went to Beijing and visited him, said I needed to lose 5 kg.

Luckily, I've never really been bothered by my weight. I'm fit and healthy and I like the appearance of my body. I don't consider myself 'large'. But it concerns me, the kind of culture of negativity around 'fatness'. As if we should all look the same. And as adherents to alternative subcultures, who wants that? Have you ever seen a Korean beauty pageant?

Dear god, they all look the same. Source.

My point is, the term 'Marshmallow Girl' is cute and endearing. I would rather be a Marshmallow Girl than a Plus Size or Curvy girl. Cute and endearing might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a move, I feel, in a more positive direction.

What do you think about these terms? Should there even be terms at all? And what about the increasing move to label Size 12 ladies as Plus Size? (Hint: I think it's stuuuuupppppiiiiddd)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Can you be Muslim and goth at the same time?

Alternative subcultures and often restrictive religions such as Islam may seem like strange partners, particularly where baseejis (morality police) can arrest you for the way you dress. This is a problem facing women in particular: a good woman is expected to be modest by covering up her arms and legs, and very often, her hair. In Iran, women have been banned from wearing leggings and sandals, the former for hugging the body too closely, the latter for showing too much skin. Not that all Muslim countries are so strict, but an undercurrent of conservativeness limits the extent to which these ladies can express themselves.

But fashionable Muslim women, in these strict countries, do exist and Muslim goths, though rare, may be found around the world. In fact, the documentary 'Sugar Coated' features a Muslim girl who has embraced fairy Lolita, with a modest but colourful style that enables her to cover her arms and legs as well as her hair (with pastel wigs!)

A fashion blog named The Tehran Times has been gathering street snaps of fashionable Iranian women who bend the rules as far as possible to look fashionable. Although none of them are goth or from any other subculture, their outfits are very inspirational. In the photo below, with a little tweaking, this lady could easily be a nu goth or corp goth.

Personally, I have seen Muslim ladies in my own neighbourhood who have caught onto the mainstream trend of 'SKULL EVERYTHING' and were wearing black, skull emblazoned scarves on their heads. Further afield, there are many Muslim goths on the internet, but they face considerable confusion and backlash, partially because of misunderstanding over their subculture, and partially due to the strict religiousness of their critics. Some say it is improper to wear makeup all over the face, to dye one's hair and wear nail polish.


Of course, this depends on the country, and the world has many Muslim goths, Lolitas and even punks. I could go on forever taking about these amazing people who have really captured the spark of rebellion that goes with many subcultures, but instead I'll leave you with a list of fascinating websites and links.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Shamate

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Also known as
杀马特 (Shā mă tè), Smart

Country of origin

Gender balance
More women than men, but both are considerably represented


Shamate (a Mandarin transliteration of ‘smart’) is a subculture very similar in appearance to styles such as visual kei and scene. It is often described as a mixture of goth, cosplay, visual kei and glam. Crazy spiky and dyed hair, often with straightened fringes, is very popular, along with multiple piercings, street market-bought clothing and heavy makeup, including eyeliner, whiteface and designs drawn on the face.

Shamate use names very similar to internet handles, such as “Leftover Tears”, and gather in ‘families’ much in the way that gyaru gather in ‘circles’. They have their own online communities and their own slang, and protect these fiercely from would-be harassers and pretenders by interviewing hopeful future family members. A person named Li Kai 李凯 claims to be the founder of shamate, or at least of one particular family

Shamate is somewhat maligned in China, as a country which values obedient and ‘normal’ people. This subculture is constantly put down as weird, unsophisticated and encouraging strange behaviour. It is primarily the domain of young migrants to the major cities from the countryside, which leaves them open to attack as ‘people who are trying to look like sophisticated hipsters, but fail due to lack of education and lack of money’.

Style icons
There are a number of idols in the shamate community, but without good Chinese reading skills (and mine are pretty basic) it is difficult to get much information on them. This individual, for instance, is likely to be ‘Ghost Monster’ and is considered a top family member.

Inspiration in popular culture
There is a game available online called "Noble Shamate Academy: The Romance of Shamate” (note that the website is in Mandarin Chinese), which is essentially an RP-dating game.

Further reading and resources

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Green and black † how to be alternative and environmentally friendly

I'm a bit of a greenie. I think it's important that we should be environmentally conscious, for a number of reasons:
  1. It's good for the planet. Like, you know, the only planet we can safely inhabit?
  2. It can save you money!
  3. It can make you look cool ^_^
  4. It's good for your overall wellbeing.
Okay, how does it do all those things?

Well, firstly, there are heaps of things you can do to be an alternative style monster but be green at the same time. Some of these things are pretty cheap, others teach you to be thrifty. The results of your endeavours are often unique and interesting. And you know, it can be a detox. 

Think about it. It's cool to dress up and follow a style. I watch hundreds of videos on youtube and scour fashion blogs drooling over outfits and accessories. How much clothing is that? How much material went into making those outfits? How much water? What were the workers who made the garments paid? Were your cosmetics tested on rabbits? (I say rabbits because they are often chosen for their inability to blink/water out things from their eyes -_-)

Look at your wardrobe. Is it full of clothing? Or does it contain clothing you don't use? Do you love to shop... and shop and shop and shop?

Think. Is this good for you, let alone the planet? Sometimes it's important to stop and detox. First thing is to go to your closet and pull everything out. EVERYTHING. Throw it on the floor. Sort them into categories: things to throw out, things to donate/sell, things to keep, and a 'not too sure pile'. Think hard about each item: when did you last wear it? Does it match with anything? Is it damaged and can you fix it (or will you)? Be ruthless!

And next time you go shopping, go through the same thought process: Do I need this? Am I shopping because of the positive feeling it gives me? (You can do other things to make yourself feel good!) Does this suit me? What is it made of? What is the quality? Am I feeling mesmerised by the things in front of me and therefore compelled to buy something? (Hate that feeling.)

If you come out of that having bought nothing, slimmed down your wardrobe to only the best and come to the realisation that you don't need any more STUFF, congratulations! I am sure there are those who would argue that consumption is vital for economies to keep running (hell, look at Japan), but an economy based on consumption is unsustainable in more ways than one (again, Japan). It is bad for the environment and will eventually reach a saturation point where so much stuff is being produced that people fail to buy.

We don't need more things. Seriously, this article has some really scary stats on the fashion industry. The developed world has got its hands on more resources than it can consume and refuses to share it with the Global South. But you don't have to be a radical to live a 'slimmer' lifestyle. Think about the money it will save you, and how good you'll feel, unpressured to buy things, no matter how many youtube videos you watch.

Happy new year.
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