Written by Kristen S for the Black Diamonds and Pearlsseries on Black Witch. Normal BW posting resumes in October.
“… all those people are white.” Were the first words my mother, who is Caucasian, said when I showed her my new favorite fashion, lolita. This did not surprise me. My life was a balancing act. Race though usually downplayed and avoided in my family was an issue that would arise every once in a while to make everyone uncomfortable. My mother wanted me to have the best of each side of my heritage. She always made it a point to introduce me to a broad scope of interests and activates. She was cautious but usually tried to remain unbiased when I would form a liking to something that was of interest to predominately white or predominately black people.
I first discovered Lolita fashion during my junior year in high school, 2002. One of my friends in Japanese class had introduced me to his favorite Japanese rock bands. One of the bands I particularly formed a liking to was Malice Mizer. I went home and searched for pictures and more music by this band. I thought some of Mana’s outfits were adorable and wished that there were cute dresses like that in my local stores. I could not let it rest at that though. I had to know if there were actual stores that made similar clothing. I found some pictures and then a few brand stores. I was hooked on this cute and fluffy fashion ever since.
My mother never expressed any disapproval toward the appearance of the clothing. Nor did she ask if this fashion was college age appropriate. Her only concern was the race of the people that wore this fashion. I could care less of what people thought about my looks or fashion sense. But my mother was always worrying that people might think I was only raised in only mainstream Caucasian ideals. I, however, don’t think there should not be a stigma about people of color wearing alternative fashions. Yes, it was an oddity back in the 80s or 90s, but nowadays people are slightly more open-minded. I frequently see black punks and goths as well as Caucasian and Indian dressed like rappers. Fabric, thread, zippers, buttons, and toggles do not have a racial preference.
I personally believe becoming a lolita has made me happier. I was dissatisfied with the prominent and more societally acceptable fashions. Clothes marketed for tall women were always risqué, boyish, sporty, or homely. And I had no desire to be categorized as any of those. I always wished to be called cute and lolita was just what I was looking for. I do not find that being black has hindered my ability to be a lolita. I have been scoffed at by a few lolita because of my skin color. I even had a few blog followers unfriend me when they found out I was mixed. But I have yet to receive a negative comment about my skin color from a normal of any nationality. I have even written about one of my favorite encounters I had while wearing Lolita on my blog. A little African American girl was at the aquarium with her father. She had a T-shirt that read ‘Forget being a princess, I want to be the President’. She came running over to shake my hand and to take a picture with me. After thanking me she walked away for her father and I heard her say “Daddy, I want to be a princess too.”
Over the years I have become interested in himegyaru fashion. I find that style cute and a little coquettish. I have also become interested in the Eoljjang or Ulzzang look. I do not have any worries about what the participants of these styles will think about my skin color. These are always going to be people sore about something. They are wasting their precious time being negative, but I plan to enjoy myself in everything I do.
Kristen S. runs her own Lolita blog Princessly Living.
Next Friday is the very last post for the Black Lolitas series Black Diamonds and Pearls. It’s The Arts and there I will name plenty of shops, blogs and other things lolita!