Frilly skirts, curly hair, ruffles, corsets and petticoats are only some of the fashion items that are a part of the Lolita style. Lolita fashion is a Japanese fashion subculture, which emerged on the Japanese street scene in the 1990’s (Jimenez. 2008). The original Lolita look takes from Victorian dress, although over the years by adding other design elements into the mix, lolita fashion has progressed into several different sub-styles, there have been many variations of the Lolita subculture, such as; Gothic Lolita, sweet Lolita, Punk Lolita, Wa Lolita and Ouji Lolita (Virtual Japan. 2008).



(Tokyo Fashion. 2012)

The term ‘Lolita’ originally came from the best selling novel of the same name ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov. This book was highly controversial for is erotic nature surrounding a young girl and an older male (Johnston. 2006). Although this Japanese sub-culture adorns the same name, its way of dress highly contradicts the original nature of the word ‘lolita’. Lolita dress is considered to be conservative and cute, but not of a sexual nature. And it is not quite known why the way of dress has adorned the same name of a sexually explicit novel when the way of dress has nothing to do with sex (Artemis. 2013).

Even Gothic lolitas are not seen as highly sexual, even though in western culture “goth” is seen as rebellious and categorises the gothic woman as more provocative and of a sexual nature (Wilkins. 2004). Whereas Gothic Lolita is categorised by their darker form of dress and heaver makeup, and they still adorn the frills, bonnets and petticoats, and do not see themselves in a sexual nature.


(Tokyo Fashion, 2012)

Sweet Lolita is one of the most common Lolita sub-styles. Sweet Lolita is profoundly influenced by Rococo clothing and is styled to create a doll-like look (Artemis. 2013). The outfits are a sweet playful nature decorated with ribbons, pastel colours and lace. Sweet Lolita focuses heavily on the fantasy aspect of the original Lolita (Wikia. 2013).

(wikia. 2013)                               (Petticoatguru. 2012)

Lolita has had a profound influence on Japanese fashion, and has even extended outside of Japan into western cultures (Jimenez. 2008). Although Lolita fashion is mostly seen at ‘cosplay’ events in western society as is not seen as an ordinary everyday clothing item. Although it is highly stressed that Lolita is not cosplay, but a fashion on its own.



Artemis. 2013. “Lolita: Fashion and Subculture.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Jimenez, Dabrali. 2008. “A New Generation of Lolitas Makes a Fashion Statement.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Johnston, Bret Anthony. 2006. “Why ‘Lolita’ Remains Shocking, And A Favorite.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Petticoatguru. 2012. “Late Baroque and Rococo fashion in France.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Tokyo Fashion. 2012. “Japanese Lolita & Harajuku Styles Fashion Show & Talk.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Virtual Japan. 2008. “Lolita Fahion.” Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Wikia. 2013. Sweet Lolita. Accessed 3 Oct 2016.

Wilkins Amy. 2004. “So Full of Myself as a Chick”: Goth Women, Sexual Independence, and Gender Egalitarianism. Sage Publications