Gothic Lolita is a kind of unique fashion style that originated in 1980’s, and linked to shoujo manga, Japanese rock bands, fujoshi, or even cosplayers. We usually say ゴスロリ[gosurori], but actually it is an abbreviation of ゴシックロリータ[Gothic Lolita]. The symbol mark is †[daggar]. Sometimes it puzzles me. Is this English? Because some people frown upon me when I mention Gothic Lolita. Even among English speakers, Gothic Lolita is like an otakish word?
Even if you haven’t heard of this fashion, it might ring a bell to you when you see it; a handsome dress features rococo or Victrian style and fabulous lace or frill. Leather boots and shoes with over knee socks(yes, makes 絶対領域[zettai ryouiki]). A headdress with a huge ribbon. Holding a big teddy bear or a huge lace parasol. Make-up is also important; blue or black lipsticks, fake eyelashes, loud mascara, color contacts, or even tattoo. This kind of fashion seems to embody destruction, aestheticism, darkness, heresy, death, or virginity.
Gothic is a kind of European style in the Middle Ages, and inspired lots of art including architecture or literature. Having said that, Gothic Lolita was born in Japan, so it is not technically a fashion from Europe, but those symbolism I have mentioned still remain. Lolita is…you know, such an immature girl or to love such a girl(shoujo). We say ロリコン[lolicon] or ロリータコンプレックス[Lolita complex]. But, Gothic Lolita is a combination of Gothic and a shoujo, so it seems to be different from lolicon. All in all, Gothic Lolita would embody a fin-de-siecle(decadant) girl in the Middle Ages. Does it make sense?
I am not familiar with Gothic Lolita, but to my surprise there are several variations in this style. For example, 黒ロリ[kuro loli] is to dress up in a black outfit, and 白ロリ[shiro loli] is to do so in a white outfit. 甘ロリ[ama loli] also known as sweet loli features pink stuff such as rose, strawberry or hearts. Looks like a princess. 和ゴス[wa-goth] is gothic with Japanese fashion(wearing kimono or that kind of thing). ダークゴス[dark goth] is more violent than 黒ロリ, like using eye-patches or bandages. Leather can be seen in Dark Goth, so well, Riku in Kingdom Hearts or most characters in Final Fantasy 7 could be called ダークゴス. Not really?
Meanwhile there was quite a famous rock band in 1980’s, that is AUTO-MOD. All of the members would dress up in such a gorgeous outfit with loud make-up. This kind of style got a lot of fangirls. At the concert hall, so many fangirls trying to copy their fashion, got together. Have you ever heard of Visual-kei[ビジュアル系]? Yes, it started around that time. Since AUTO-MOD got famous, some more Visual-kei rock bands such as BUCK-TICK, X-JAPAN, or LUNA SEA started to be famous as well. When I was a high school student, L’Arc～en～Ciel, SHAZNA, GLAY, or MALICE MIZER(Gackt worked as a vocalist) were quite popular. Those fangirls were called バンギャ[bangya]. I guess it is an abbreviation of バンドギャル[band gyaru], ギャル is a bit rude way to mean a young girl. Whereas I was not aware, Visual-kei became popular out of Japan 2000 onwards.
Gothic Lolita used to be a fashion style for girls, but it changed since Rozen Maiden came out in 2002. Because of this anime, Gothic Lolita started to be popular among otaku. Technically, Rozen Maiden is not really ゴスロリ although it quite looks like. Gothic style in shoujo manga actually has been popular for a long time. I can think of other shoujo manga like Angel Sanctuary. What about うみねこのなく頃に[Umi neko no naku koro ni]?
In Europe, Gothic Lolita is very popular. Even though it was born in Japan, it is influenced by European style as I mentioned. Even that, it seemed to be Japanese style for them. Before, I saw a TV-show in which a French girl tried Gothic Lolita because she was a big fan of Japan. She wanted to go out in Gothic fashion, but her mother stopped her in the end…To me, Gothic Lolita is kind of cosplay, but not really. Difficult to say. If you happen to be in Tokyo, go to Harajuku[原宿] or you will see a lot of Goth girls.
I have never been a fan of Gothic Lolita, but…I like the costumes. If I cosplay, I would do Kamui Gakupo in 刹月華[setsugetsuka]. I think this is 和ゴス[wa-goth]. Looks cool, don’t you think?