Monday, 28 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Mori kei

Also known as 
Mori girl (森ガール) or mori boy, forest kei

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Country of origin
Japan

Gender balance
Mostly female

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What
'Mori' 森 means 'forest' in Japanese. As such, mori kei tries to evoke the air of someone who lives in house in a forest. Natural colours such as green, brown and cream are very common and textures such as cotton, fur and lace are also often used. Of course, flower patterns are regularly seen.

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Shoes tend to be of the kind good for walking, such as boots. Very little makeup, if any, is worn. The style is almost 'frumpy' as the look is quite shapeless, and so, as with dolly kei, a good grasp of the style is important. Layers are essential. Mori girls tend not to wear pants, favouring dresses and skirts.

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Mori kei has taken off in a big way in Japan. It is very much a 'lifestyle, not just a fashion'. There is even an official online community and set of 'rules' for mori girls (there are also unofficial mori boy 'rules'). For a detailed guide on how to dress mori kei, check out Miss Kellie's Guide to Mori Kei.

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Style icons
choco is the girl who set off the whole mori kei idea. She wrote a book "Mori Girl Fashion and Style Book" and set up the online community. But what does she look like? Who knows? She has the final say on who gets to join the online community though...

Aoi Yu 蒼井優 is an actress who has been used to showcase mori girl looks as a magazine model. She has the 'ideal' round rosy cheeks and pale skin.

Fashion inspiration in popular culture
Shizuru Satonaka, a character from the movie "Renai Shashin" (Photograph of Love). There aren't really any good photos of her online though...


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Further reading and resources

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fashion subcultures I would love to see...

After a comment by Lynoire on my Bittersweet Lolita post, I started thinking about crazy substyles which would be very interesting to witness.

Psychobilly lolita
This is the combination that set me off. According to Lynoire, one of the images in my Bittersweet Lolita post seemed like 'psychobilly lolita'. Electric colours and slightly creepy motifs with a lolita 'cupcake silhouette', anyone? What about bouffants and quiffs?

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Raver lolita
On a similar vein, how would a lolita with neon dreads and furry legwarmers look?

Gothic poppare
More black than a panda poppare, but still retaining 'mod'ish qualities with some gothic symbolism thrown in.

Hime goth
The gothic princess look has been done before, but has it been done gyaru style? Hime goth would probably involve gigantic beehive hair, bows, lace and ribbons in cute designs, with a black colour palette and lots of skulls and crosses.

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What kind of weird hybrids would you like to see? Or just generally new style tribes? Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

That's not goth! But I still want it... † Lolita dresses

Idly trawling the internet for lolita images for my blog, I came across a gorgeous lolita dress.

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Of course, being a lolita dress, it is incredibly expensive. That didn't stop me looking for more to cry over.

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I'm not a lolita, but I'm drooling over these. Surely they could be worn without the yards of petticoats?

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What do you think? Could they be worn 'casually'? Should I try making such a dress myself, to save my bank account some critical damage?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Kinderwhore

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Country of origin
USA


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Gender balance
Female only, or female identifying.

What
A grungy look with an almost oxymoronic blend of innocence and worldliness. Kinderwhore is about baby doll dresses and torn stockings, Mary-Janes and smeared lipstick. The look is very strongly connect to certain aspects of the feminist movement: of women 'owning' their sexuality, breaking the false dichotomy of slut/virgin by appropriating aspects of both (gee, I'm starting to sound like an academic...)


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Kinderwhore is dark and sexualised and unashamedly so. Peter Pan collars, floral dresses and long socks are always paired with smudged makeup, heavy boots and an attitude. Hair is often bleached blonde. The attitude is as important as the look, as this subculture is all about rebellion and being pissed off.


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Kinderwhore is sometimes said to have spawned style known as kindergoth, but there is little information available.

Style icons
The first name that springs to mind is, of course, Ms Courtney Love. The Hole frontlady was a pioneer of the kinderwhore look.


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Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland is the other queen of kinderwhore. There is some debate over who was 'first', Bjelland or Love, but that doesn't really matter... 


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Fashion inspiration in popular culture
Dolores Haze, the original Lolita, is a great example of the kinderwhore psyche. Her portrayal by Dominique Swain in Stanley Kubrik's movie adaptation also demonstrates the look.


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A slightly modified Wednesday Addams (the older one) could also do the trick.


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Further reading and resources
And just for the lulz:

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Commonly confused styles † Ulzzang vs Gyaru

I thought it might be a good idea to collect comparison infographics highlighting the differences between commonly confused styles. Or even those styles that somehow, people get mixed up...

So here is a quick post to demonstrate the differences between Ulzzang and Gyaru.

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Edit: I will also add, as 1666 X 30 pointed out to me, that gyaru are much more OTT with their accessories and makeup. Gyaru will favour long, incredibly elaborate nails and sky-high heels, whilst ulzzang are more 'natural'.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Ulzzang

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Also known as
Eoljjang, uljjang, 얼짱


They like to add ears and whiskers to their pictures. Source.

Country of origin
Korea

Gender balance
A pretty good mix of male and female.


Source.

What
Ulzzang is a term which covers a wide range of styles with particular similarities. Meaning 'best face' ulzzang exhibit a 'natural' look. They appear to wear minimal makeup, but in actual fact are very skilled at using makeup to present a flawless appearance. An ulzzang's appearance is almost doll-like: flawless, porcelain skin, straight eyebrows, big eyes, nude/pale pink lip colour. However, Korean ulzzangs also tend to use lots of photoshop on their pictures...


This ulzzang has scene inspired fashion. Source

The girl below, for example, would appear to not be wearing any makeup. In fact, she has apparently 'just woken up'. Ulzzangs, especially girls, love to present a cute, often vulnerable look. Singapore Showbiz reports the ulzzang 'rules' as: "Huge, delicate bambi-like eyes with double lids and a tiny, delicate nose with a high bridge are a prerequisite. Smooth, pale snow-white skin, and rosebud lips are also a must. So is a small and sharp chin to achieve the perfect "V-line" face, which should ideally be no bigger than the size of your palm..."


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"... For Ulzzang males, carefully styled "bedhead" hair and minimal eye make up are used to create a metro-sexual, sensitive (but still macho) impression, with a stronger focus on clothes and fashion."

Their outfits are always very fashionable and youthful, and may draw inspiration from other subcultures, but tend to remain fairly 'vanilla'. It originally evolved from internet popularity contests, where teenage/young adult contestants submitted pictures of their 'best face' to win prizes or titles. Some ulzzang have almost rabid fanbases with dozens of fansites dedicated to them.


Ulzzang has become quite popular with girls of colour. Source.

Style icons
'The World of Pretty Face' website has a massive list of ulzzang stars running down the left hand side of the page. For this post, I will pick out two from the list.

Park Hye Min (ulzzang name: Pony) is a makeup designer and a model, as well as owning a photo studio.


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Her style is quite varied, from cute to sophisticated to rebellious.
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Park Ji Ho (not related, Park is a really common surname) is a singer, model and actor hopeful.


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His style is a little bit dark and rebellious, although he has apparently acted in a movie dressed as a girl. This is unsurprising as the androgynous is very popular amongst Korean boys (the girls seem to love it).


Girl or boy? :P Source.

Further reading and resources

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Oriental goth

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.


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Gender balance
Mostly women.

Defining colours
Whilst not the be-all-and-end-all, 

  • black, and
  • red
are very common in this style.

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What
Oriental goth is a subset of goth which incorporates Asian symbols, particularly from East Asia (China and Japan). Oriental goths with inspiration from the subcontinent are not so common. Note that this style  is different to J-Goth.

And then you get Persian inspired :) Source.

Common embellishments include Asian patterns (dragons, phoenixes, cherry blossoms etc.), paper parasols, hair chopsticks, 'geisha' makeup, fans and modified kimono or cheong sam (qipao). Makeup usually involves striking red lips and dark eye makeup, sometimes with a little red or pink on the eyelids.

Fashion inspirations in popular culture
The witch Yuuko Ichihara from xxxHolic exemplifies Oriental Goth. She is invariably found in black and red and mostly kimonos. Her outfits are always incredibly elaborate.


And then I give you a photo of Yuuko in a cheong
sam. Bonus: Watanuki in oriental goth!  Source.

Further reading and resources

Friday, 11 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Bittersweet lolita

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Gender balance
Female mostly. Bittersweet kodona (boystyle) is pretty rare and seems to be practised by females anyway.


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Country of origin
Japan

What
Bittersweet lolita is a subset of lolita which branched away from Ama or sweet lolita. It is a rather controversial term: some lolitas loathe it, feeling that it is an unnecessary extra label for a style which is essentially ama-loli in black. Although I am not a lolita, as far as I have observed, there are (or should be) certain differences between ama-loli and bittersweet which stretch beyond the colour palette.


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Bittersweet lolita, whilst also featuring common tropes of ama-loli,e.g. confectionary and toys, also uses very 'gothic' symbolism, and occasionally some 'creepy-cute' images. The pink and black colourway is the most popular of palettes. Essentially, bittersweet lolita is ama-loli for goths. Sweet gothic lolita? :P


This is starting to verge into creepy
cute. Source.

Style icons
Loli icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (who I got to see in concert) sometimes wears bittersweet lolita. It fits with her image of a cute but creepy girl.


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Inspirations in popular culture


Further reading and resources

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Questions for you all about the Encyclopaedia

Hello kittens :) So the Encyclopaedia is now 3 months old, with around 16 entries completed out of a gajillion.

I'd like a little bit of feedback on how it's going. Here are the things that I am aware of which need fixing:

  • Some of the pictures are missing
  • I've been given a bit more information on the styles in some of the comments, which needs to be added
  • I didn't add enough information to some of the styles... =_=; Sorry.

Things you might like to see:
  • Categorisation of styles by overarching style tribes? (e.g. ethergoth and ice goth under 'goth', wyrd loli and camo loli under 'lolita')
  • Categorisation of styles by colour palettes? (e.g. ghost and ice goth under 'white', glitter poppare and fairy kei under 'pastels')
  • Music and brand information?
I somehow feel like my factsheets are not good enough! Please let me know in the comments below what you think I should do :3

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Dolly kei

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.


Interior of THE shop for dolly kei - Grimoire. Source.

Country of origin
Japan

Gender balance
Mostly female.


But here's a boy :) Source.

Defining colours

  • Jewel tones
  • Dark browns and black
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What
Dolly kei is a dark style inspired by antique looks. Colours are dark and moody, and accessories feature fake flowers, lace, ribbons and bits of dolls. There are similarities to be drawn with styles such as Victorian Goth, Steampunk and mori girl, and even 'gypsy' or Romany attire. 

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Inspirations can range from medieval to Edwardian times. Heavy brocades and overuse of patterns are hallmarks of the style. Some dolly kei girls drape themselves in layers and layers of fabric and even wear giant tassels as jewellery. Velvet, satin, fur, anything heavy and decadent is fair game. The aim is to look magical and mysterious in a sumptuous, regal way.

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Style icons
The biggest dolly kei icon is Heri, a shop girl from Grimoire, the most famous dedicated dolly kei brand/store. 

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Also important are Naoaki Tobe and Hitomi Nomura, the founders of Grimoire. 

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Essentially the pioneers of dolly kei, they created the fashion at a time when people could tell this was something different to mori kei, but hey weren't sure what...


Fashion inspiration in popular culture
Anyone in a medieval period drama is excellent inspiration for dolly kei. Check out Queen Elizabeth I (whilst still Princess Elizabeth), for example:

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Valentina, played by model Lily Cole in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, also assumes dolly kei style clothing for most of the movie.

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Also, Howl's room in the anime Howl's Moving Castle is definitely dolly kei. If the characters' clothes were a bit more elaborate, I would also say they would be great inspirations as well.

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Further reading and resources
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