Generally, subcultural fashion members have a strong sense of distinction from other cultures. Among the wide range of subcultural fashion, this article will discuss the Gothic Lolita style finding the difference from the Gothic fashion.


The term ‘Gothic’ means ‘barbaric’, it originated from the East Germanic Goth tribes. The typical Goth style features something dark: black hair, black eyeliner, black nail polish, pale skin, and black clothing with lace, or corset-like lacing. These forms are associated subcultural consumption, including Gothic novels, horror movies, film noir, rock group, and Tim Burton films.


120930-1114 - Japanese street fashion in Harajuku, Tokyololita3

While the Gothic style refers to the particular features, the Gothic Lolita style is related in the Goth subculture, but also combines the street fashions of Harajuku and around the world. As a youth subculture, Gothic Lolita is a hybrid fashion of Western and non-Western cultures emerged in the 1990s, linking the historical European style and Japanese aesthetical concept. According to Monden (2008, p.38), “the Gothic Lolita has formed a style that is neither European nor Japanese, but at the same time both European and Japanese.”

There is one example of a girl on the street of Harajuku wearing luxury brand clothes and hand-made accessories whose styles are associated to European cultural forms with contemporary Japanese animations. A Japanese designer comments that the Gothic Lolita girls do not concern about European history but they create their own style. (Mackie, V 2009)

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There are several interviews from the Gothic Lolita girls.

“I wear these clothes because I want to remember my girlish spirit. I don’t want to grow up. My friend calls it a combat uniform against daily life. It gives us confidence, it helps us feel stronger. People do look at us coldly, but we fight back. ”

“It is true that some people who dress like this are somewhat depressed and psychologically not healthy. They want to become stronger by dressing like this. But I want to remain a girl. ”

“I am interested in Goth culture, but I am not religious about it and it doesn’t dominate my life. As a fashion designer I like creative clothes and design clothes that I hope will define the Japanese mode. (NAKAMOTO, 2003)

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The EGL39, The Gothic & Lolita Fashion Community which is an English-speaking worldwide association of Gothic Lolita lovers. These members who come from more than 14 different countries exchange their information such as cultural issues and Gothic Lolita items and this community causes the development of the Gothic Lolita subculture.


Gagné, I 2008, ‘Urban Princesses: Performance and “Women’s Language” in Japan’s Gothic/Lolita Subculture’, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, vol.18, no. 1, pp.130-150

Karaminas, V 2007, ‘Australian Gothic: Black Light Angels, Fashion, and Subcultural Style’, International Journal of Comic Art, vol.9, no. 1, pp.438-452

Mackie, V 2009, ‘Transnational Bricolage: Gothic Lolita and Political Economy of Fashion’, Intersection: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, vol.20, April, pp. 50

Monden, M 2008, ‘Transcultural Flow of Demure Aesthetics: Examining Cultural Globalisation through Gothic & Lolita Fashion’, New Voices: A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand, vol. 2, December, pp. 21-40

NAKAMOTO,M 2003 ‘A Miss Marple mystery A single fashion designer inspires these three Japanese Gothic Lolitas to dress to impress’, Financial Times, 1 November,pp.10.