We really live in an amazing time. With the Internet, information about everything imaginable is being passed all around the globe within seconds, and obviously our fashion is no different. There are so many communities to discuss lolita and everything related to it, as well as individual blogs (hey, how ya doin'?) and websites that are dedicated to discussing every single facet of our fashion and lifestyle, that it's hard to remove yourself from those influences. And when you're an active member of any community, it's assumed that you'll get close to people and make friends. It's good, it's normal, it's healthy. But is it necessary?
I'm pretty sure Kamikaze Girls is required viewing for any starter-loli. I know I personally made it my quest to see the movie before I really considered myself a lolita, mostly because it showcases and idea that our society generally doesn't like to talk about: the happy social outcast. The fashion hermit. She who lets nothing but the clothes dictate to her how they should be worn; no magazines, no books, and most importantly, no community. Momoko listens to her clothing and her heart and doesn't care what anyone else says. This is kind of glamorous, isn't it? It's probably why she's become so many girls' ideal lolita. She doesn't care. She does what she wants and doesn't let anyone else's opinions get her down. She lives her entire life around this idea of beauty and doesn't let anyone get in the way. And that's great.
But does anyone else see what it does to her life to be like that? She lies and basically steals money from her father, doesn't speak to anyone in her school, and lives in utter solidarity, except for her family (for whom she seems to have no respect; aside from her Grandmother, she shows contempt for both her father and mother). Sure, she meets Ichigo and gradually, reluctantly, changes her ideas, but if she hadn't, who knows how long she would have lived in solidarity? And, more importantly, is that healthy?
I'm going to say, as both a follower of fashion and as a human being, no. It is not healthy to completely remove yourself from society, because everything we do is important to the growth and development of our minds and souls. It is healthy to keep friends, especially friends interested in the same wonky alternative fashion as you, because they'll inspire you to do new things and explore new styles. I've said for years that my biggest fashion idols are my friends, and I'd hate to think where I'd be, sartorially and mentally, without them. They're my biggest resource, and therefore I can't imagine someone who would cast themselves away from people who could help them in any way.
(Note that, when I say “society” in this piece, I don't mean it the way I usually do. Here, society isn't “the man” that I'm so keen on rallying against; here, I mean society as it's meant to be: “an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization.” Therefore, when I say society, especially in the above paragraph, I mean the small lolita-based social group that spans livejournal communities to facebook pages to individual journals and websites.)
So why do people do it? Is it “special snowflake syndrome?” It could be. Maybe it's just that they think they can't learn anything from other people, or that they don't want to. Could it be that a pure mindset is one that doesn't take advice or inspiration from anyone else and finds guidance only in itself? Personally I totally disagree; I think that our minds are permeable membranes that were designed to absorb everything, keep the good, and filter out the bad, and that this idea of shunning other people and not needing friends who inspire you is entirely crippling to your soul. The idea that nothing in the world can affect you is, in my opinion, very nihilistic and disabling, not a strength that is to be praised.
Challenge: Make a new lolita friend today! Reach out to someone you've always wanted to but never did, for whatever reason.
(image c/o tumblr)