Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Difference Between Cosplay Lolita and Lolita Fashion

Posted by Caitlin Neryce at 20:10

You've all heard it before, but whether or not you know what it is is the big question...

Cosplay Lolita! What is it?

Well from my understanding and from my own opinion, there are two categories of Cosplay Lolita. One for the Lolita which is not quite right in some ways and convention only appropriate, and someone cosplaying a Lolita character from an anime.

As everyone who is a Lolita should know already, Lolita Fashion is not a cosplay. So why is there such a thing called Cosplay Lolita? The point of this article is to point out the major differences between a Cosplay Lolita and  a partaker of the Fashion, and to bridge the understanding of why Lolita Fashion is not Cosplay and in fact a fashion.


Not Quite Right

Animal ears- Sometimes it can look alright....many other times not so much. When combining animal ears into Lolita Fashion there are ways to make it work, and it definitely can. Although this is extremely hard and should only be a challenge for the experienced Lolita. The ways in which they don't work is what makes it stand out. When combining animal ears you can easily make it work by having a bunny hoodie, or matching it up somehow with the colour scheme or print on you dress, not just randomly shoving a pair of cat ears on your head. Wearing a random pair of cat ears and a tail is all right for conventions and a bit of fun, but this then makes your outfit fall under the category of Cosplay Lolita, and not Lolita Fashion.


An extremely cute outfit. There is nothing wrong with how she is dressed,
 but this is convention appropriate only. What she is wearing is not Lolita
 Fashion but  Cosplay Lolita, this is because of the cat ears and the lack
of a blouse and many other contributing factors.
Bunny Ears coordinated nicely with the outfit.
This is Lolita Fashion with animal ears done right.
Another example of ears done right.
She has matched the ears to the print and overall coordination, so it doesn't
look random.  It is overall well done and balanced out, making a good
 Lolita Fashion coordination, and is definitely not Cosplay Lolita

Weird Themes- Any weird nonsensical Lolita theme that clashes with the overall Lolita look and gives off a costume appearance may be considered Cosplay Lolita. i.e Nurse Lolita, some forms of Military Lolita (this is a sub-style that can be pulled off correctly), Maid Lolita etc.

An example of Nurse Lolita. This particular outfit would be great for a
convention or a themed Lolita meet up, yet not for an actual outfit.
This is not Lolita Fashion and is in fact a Cosplay Lolita outfit.

Bad Quality- Bad quality lace, poor design and overall bad quality materials make up a great Cosplay Lolita outfit, and a terrible, vomit worthy Lolita piece. Garments made to be worn a few times to a convention that are not at all meant for practical wearing come under the category of Cosplay Lolita, or even just downright ita.

A shining example of a Cosplay Lolita dress.
It is made out of bad quality materials, and looks as if it would fall apart
as soon as you put it on. Not only is it bad quality material but overall
a horrible design, poorly constructed and an eyesore. The overall dress
looks downright awful. This is a dress that would easily fall under the
category of 'ita' as well.  This dress is absolutely disgusting....


Cosplaying a Lolita Character

Another thing I want to address is Coslaying a Lolita character from an anime series. Lolita Fashion is obviously a big part of Japanese culture, and because of that it is widely immersed into the world of Japanese anime. Of course something unique to Japan will show it's roots in the country's media, and that includes anime. Because of this wearers of Lolita Fashion are very prominent all throughout anime and it's popular culture. Some Lolita's even get introduced to Lolita Fashion through anime, as it introduces them to the concept.

Lolita Fashion portrayed in anime

A lot of characters who wear Lolita in anime don't always get it right, this is the main selling point for Cosplay Lolita...it breaks a lot of the rules/guidelines. Even if the character wearing Lolita Fashion does in fact follow all the rules and is a perfect example of a stunning Lolita in the show, it is still not Lolita Fashion if you choose to Cosplay it. Wearing Lolita Fashion is about dressing for one's self, not dressing up as someone else. Also a lot of outfits made for Lolita wearing characters will of course be made out of costume quality material, and not have the right look for Lolita overall.

Chii from Chobits is often mistaken as a Lolita due to the nature of her clothes.
A lot of her clothes are in fact not Lolita, and can not be considered Lolita Fashion.

What many people can't seem to understand outside of Lolita Fashion, is that Lolita is not Cosplay. I think this is mainly due to Lolita Fashion being portrayed so heavily, and not always right, in anime pop culture. If an anime character wears hipster clothes and you cosplay them, you are cosplaying not wearing Hipster Fashion. It is the same concept with Lolita Fashion, which is what some people need to understand.

Even with everything said, there will be exclusions. Such as the latest collaboration with Innocent World and Rozen Maiden. With the excitement of the new Rozen Maiden anime, this was something not entirely surprising. These garments can be considered equally both ways. They are produced by an actual brand and are of good quality, so it can fall under the Lolita Fashion category if done right. Yet it can also fall under the Cosplay category if worn in that fashion (i.e Trying to look exactly like a Rozen Maiden character to a convention)

This is a Cosplay because it is made out of costume quality materials and
is intended to be worn in that fashion.
This can be considered Lolita Fashion if done right, as it is good quality
material and made to be an actual Lolita dress by a popular brand.
It can however also be done as Cosplay Lolita.

Although extremely rare cases sometimes there is no distinct line between Cosplay Lolita and Lolita Fashion, just like in the case of the Rozen Maiden dress...but for the vast majority of the time the difference is painstakingly obvious. Lolita is in fact a Fashion and not a costume. This is because the creativity and effort that goes into each outfit is what makes it a fashion. Cheap lace and frills, cat ears, and Lolita wearing anime characters is not what our Fashion is. Our Fashion is complex and hard for many to understand, but it is a fashion loved by many.

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