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What is Gothic Lolita Fashion?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Gothic Lolita fashion is a style developed in Japanese youth culture that combines Lolita fashion, inspired by Victorian and Edwardian styles, with a Gothic aesthetic. Gothic Lolita styles are usually sported by teenage girls in Japan, though the fashion has a small following in other countries as well, particularly among fans of Japanese culture. The style was popularized by fashion house Moi-même-Moitié, founded in 1999, and by the magazine Gothic & Lolita Bible.

Lolita fashion simulates the look of a Victorian doll, often with a short crinoline skirt and a lot of lace and ribbons. Accessories may include parasols, large hair bows or tiny hats, and teddy bears or dolls. Gothic Lolita is distinguished from other Lolita styles by its use of black and white as main colors and its incorporation of Goth imagery such as Gothic architecture, crosses, bats, and so on. Other dark colors, such as grey, purple, and dark blue, may also feature in a Gothic Lolita outfit, but black and white is the most common color scheme. Those who wear Gothic Lolita also wear darker and more dramatic makeup than those who follow other Lolita fashions.

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Unlike Goth fashion in the West, Gothic Lolita is not associated with any particular type of music, though it does get some inspiration from the Visual Kei subculture in J-Rock, which has both a fashion and a musical element. Girls who follow the Gothic Lolita style may follow a certain lifestyle based partially on perceived Victorian mores. For example, they may act demure, observe high tea, and develop hobbies such as needlework. For many, however, Gothic Lolita is simply a style of dress.

There are a few subfashions under the umbrella of Gothic Lolita. Shirorori, or White Lolita, consists of all-white outfits, while Kurorori or Black Lolita, uses all-black clothing. Punk Lolita incorporates punk elements, such as plaid and safety pins. Gurorori, or Gory Lolita, consists of a distressed or injured appearance, often making use of bandages.

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