2015 Fashion Adventures

inceAt the end of 2015, I had to confront a hard truth: I’ve lost interest in dressing up.  It’s not a complete abandonment.  I still think J-fashion is really cool, and I do bust out my ensembles for special occasions.  The reality is that I won’t go out of my way to attend meet-ups or to relentlessly pursue sales on brand items.  On the flip side, I won’t stop my yearly recaps or suddenly become very mundane with my fashion.

I also will continue to take a peek at the new style tribes that are covered by Style Arena.  This year had a couple of intriguing ones.  The Shuffler caught my eye because Kareshi learned that dance form but dresses the total opposite of that group.  “Survival game fashion” is something akin to what I’ve done before although I’ve combined it with another style, like visual kei below (this was from when I was in Japan 6 years ago).  I’ve always enjoyed military chic so this is probably the one tribe from this year’s group that fits my aesthetic.

I did buy a new piece this year: a black Baby the Stars Shine Bright blouse.  It was going to be worn to my friends’ wedding in November, but I decided to debut it at a neo-Victorian meet-up at a Sherlock Holmes special exhibit.  Unfortunately I got the meeting times mixed up, and Kareshi did not get a full outfit shot like I had thought.
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I paired the blouse with my pinstripe pants, a cloak in gamekeeper’s tweed (which reminded me of Holmes’ infamous deerstalker), and a magnifying glass necklace. This not-quite-steampunk/not-quite-ouji mash-up is my favorite new outfit of 2015.

My favorite outfit overall is my steampunk ouji number that I covered in 2012.  It’s unassuming enough to be my con ensemble for when I’m working press (I think the newsboy cap helps me feel as thought it fits).  I wore it to Anime Matsuri, where I sat in on the boystyle panel with Akira and Shiva from Atelier Boz.  They stood by the door to shake hands with all of us, and Shiva said I looked really cool.  Although the outfit is one of my all-time faves, I don’t think much of it because it’s not as fancy as other steampunks or oujis.  Shiva’s comments made me feel really good since sometimes I feel like I’m just stumbling along and throwing together clothing.
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Speaking of Anime Matsuri, being at the fashion show did remind me why I was drawn to J-fashion in the first place.  Despite having covered it already, I’m gonna share some more pics because everyone looked fantastic. I also want to go on the record and say that I hope for other cons to take on J-fashion that treats their models and guests more professionally and respectfully.

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Atelier Boz and Angelic Pretty

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Putumayo and Metamophose

Ironically 2015 had me closer to lolita than ever before because I finally had a fluffy petticoat and a proper blouse to go under my Baby JSK. As a result, I wound up putting together a gothic lolita outfit for the library’s annual Edgar Allan Poe Victorian Steampunk Halloween. As a part of the volunteer group, I had brought that there are other fashion subcultures that would fit so I took it upon myself to represent the lolis.

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With the poof, I could barely fit in the coffin.

With that ensemble, I attempted at byojaku make-up, a trend that caught global attention in 2015. A lot of people don’t like the fact that you look sickly, but I’ve kinda been a fan of the dead girl look a la My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” video. I went a little too light on the blush and too heavy on the eyeliner (the latter I always do). Maybe I should have watched one of RinRin Doll’s tutorials:

And here I was afraid that I wouldn’t have anything to write about. My style resolution last year was to just be myself and possibly try more ouji. The former has worked out perfectly. The latter didn’t go as expected, but I have been adopting a more androgynous style. I think this year’s resolution is to just keep doing my thing… and maybe do a better attempt at byojaku make-up.

Listening to: “PoW!” by FEMM

A-kon 22 Cosplay and Fashion

A-kon 22 was a whirlwind of a convention. It was fun but thoroughly exhausting, hence my month’s hiatus. I was working press for Purple Sky, where you can read my D live report. Here, I’ll be talking about all the cosplay and fashion.

I ended last year’s A-kon report with the speculation that a merging of its two dominant fashion trends, Lolita and steampunk, would be appearing in the near future. Well, the future has arrived.
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Admiral Ramon Leon Del Mar of S.S. Kali’s Hourglass (pictured above right) explained how he and his wife brought steampunk together with J-fashion in a similar outfit for an A-kon affiliated event in his blog.  Such experimentation across styles and subcultures dominated A-kon 22 fashion, most notably at the steampunk ball. Although the Victorian British aristocrat and the heavily-armed airship pirate remained dominant looks, this year’s crowd also contained Asian-inspired ensembles and Neo-Victorian variation of fictional characters, including Wolverine, Deadpool, and Elphalba/the Wicked Witch of the West.
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Lolita fashion mainly stuck to tried and true styles, but there were a few surprises, such as fairy kei accessories, hime-kei hairstyles, and a greater punk and gothic elements. Even Yuko Ashizawa, designer of the gothic brand Atelier-Pierrot, added an uncharacteristic element to the dress she wore to the Atelier-Pierrot and Chantilly Q&A. Despite not being influenced by traditional Japanese clothing, she used chirimen (yukata fabric) for the dress.

What Ashizawa and Chantilly’s designer Fumiko Kawamura, who was in kuro Lolita, revealed that their inspirations came from Marie Antoinette, the Addams family manor, Alice in Wonderland, and girls who attend conventions. Kawamura based Chantilly’s dresses around the concept of creating pieces to fit a Lolita’s wardrobe while the centerpiece of Atelier-Pierrot is the corset. Both designers expressed joy at the enthusiasm for Japanese gothic and Lolita fashion displayed by their American customers.
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In addition to the Q&A, Chantilly and Atelier Pierrot held a fashion show featuring local models and Sophia and Ryu of Blood Stain Child.  Atelier-Pierrot’s style was elegant, fit for a princess who has grown up.  The dresses were in either black and white or rich jewel tones, accented by mini hats and tiaras.  Chantilly’s cute image came across with the whimsical music and playful poses by the models. There were a lot of floral print and ruffles, and several girls wore bonnets (one of Kawamura’s favorite hair accessories).

Cosplay was just as diverse. Last year’s trends, Axis Powers Hetalia and Kuroshitsuji, had not faded. If anything, they were a stronger force with three Kuroshitsuji groups taking cosplay contest prizes and a Hetalia group getting Best in Show. The con staples— that is, the series that are a common sight every year like Super Mario Brothers and Bleach— had their fans go the extra mile with costumes and props to really catch people’s attention.
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If there was one new series to look out for in terms of costumes, it’s definitely Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Unfortunately I was usually busy running off somewhere when I spotted the cosplayers, but there were several Panties and Stockings around the con (it’s very weird to type this). The series was another dominant force in the cosplay competition.

This year’s space opera theme brought out characters from several live-action sci-fi series, including Doctor Who, Star Wars, and even Space Balls. Non-anime/video game characters seemed to be the norm these days, and perhaps this acceptance of all sorts of characters and fashion style is what draws such a large crowd to A-kon. After all, where else can you stand in line with Lucrezia Noin, see Arwen drinking NOS, ride the elevator with Deadmau5, eat dinner with some steampunk pirates, and catch Captain Jack Sparrow checking out faery art?
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For more photos, click here.

Listening to: “Corsican Corridor” by Yuki Kajiura