Monday, June 14, 2010

Green is the New Pink

How to indulge in opulence without hurting the environment;
or, Is Lolita Green?

It should be no surprise to any of you that I consider myself a modern-day hippie. The times we find ourselves in also lend themselves to hippies of a different variety than my dirty-footed, patchouli-scented forefathers; people care about the environment now. You could say "green is the new black." In the case of lolita, make that "green is the new pink."

Green is sexy. Green is hip. Green is, well, everywhere, and I am pretty cool with that. Environmental awareness is the newest fad, and it's one of the few trends that I completely and totally support. Of course, because I'm non-conformist as can be, usually trends are the Work of the Devil, to be completely ignored; if you already enjoy doing something that becomes a trend it must be STOPPED NO MATTER WHAT else everyone think you're ~just a poser~ - horror of all horrors!! But the Green Trend is one that I can completely and totally agree with. Honestly, I can't see anything wrong with helping the Earth, even if it's a company just doing it to hop on the bandwagon, or people who just think it's "cool" or "trendy." It's one of those causes where, if you're doing it right, it's just your involvement that matters - it has nothing to do with morals. It has everything to do with getting shit done and helping the planet.

Since I've always been a very big promoter of the Green Movement, getting into lolita was a little bit of a battle of morals for me. All fashions promote the idea of the "next big thing," and how if you don't have the "next big thing," you're nothing. Therefore, getting heavily into any fashion, especially a community-based one such as lolita, is not necessarily an eco-friendly move. And considering that these "big things" are usually expensive, it isn't a move that the green in your wallet appreciates either. Hand in hand with the cost is the advertisement: a huge part of how fashion trends spread is through paid advertisements, and because a brand needs to get their money back, they're going to plaster every available media with these advertisements; if you don't want to spend the money or buy brand new clothing, it's a choice you'll be reminded of all the time when exposing yourself to the rest of the fashion (communities, magazines, etc).

That being said, while the new is definitely deified, I think lolita is one of the few fashions where the old also has its charm. Nothing is ever really "outdated" in lolita; sure, there are fads, but no one is going to get scoffed at for wearing last year's AP print to a meet-up. In fact, some people are impressed to know that So-and-So still has her first brand, an old-school BABY piece from 2004, and that it's in such pristine condition. Also because of the relative new-ness of our fashion, our idea of "vintage" isn't pre-1970's but instead is probably, oh... pre-2006 or so, and anything before that gets the more experienced girls glassy-eyed with reminiscing about "the good old days." Therefore, there is a sense of pride not only in the street cred of proving you've done your time in the fashion, but also of taking care of your things and not just replacing them as soon as the Next Big Thing came out. It's also important to note that while it is smiled upon to have the Next Big Thing, we are still a fashion that emphasizes creativity more than opulence, so just because you didn't shell out the dough to have the Current Big Thing, that doesn't mean that you'll become a social leper; in fact, someone who creatively coordinates a classic, old-school piece will often get more praise than someone who is decked out in the entire line of Angelic Pretty's Magical Milky Unicorn Rainbow-Chan print du jour.

Similarly, the thrift-scene is huge in lolita. While this means that starter-lolis are encouraged to comb consignment shops and Goodwills, more to the point and more unique to our subculture is the idea of the online tag sale that is egl_comm_sales. Almost all of the lolitas I know spent their beginning months or years combing the community for the perfect "starter pieces," and then after having obtained those began buying directly from brands, brand-new and un-sweated-in. It's almost like a badge of honor, going from buying used to buying directly from the brand. However, in an environmental sense, this is clearly not the best practice, because buying used is more environmentally-sound than buying new, especially for lolitas. First of all, there's the obvious reason that if you buy less, the brand makes less, and therefore wastes less. Secondly, I'm assuming that, to save on shipping costs, most girls try to buy from people in their country or on their continent, which is decidedly less pollution-wise than shipping from across the globe (obviously if you live in other parts of Asia or maybe even Australia, this isn't necessarily true). So while the step of buying direct is, I believe, an obvious one for the seasoned lolita, is it necessarily better for the environment? Probably not.

Then there's the question of "buying local." Everyone knows that I am and always will be a huge promoter of supporting your local seamstresses and craftspeople. Here's why: beyond the creativity and originality of style that most Western designers bring to lolita, it just feels better to me to know that there is a single person who's probably experienced a similar life to me who is gaining from my wardrobe, not a group of people all the way around the world whom I'll never speak to or know anything about. There's something that's just more satisfying about that. Besides, the Locavore movement (which emphasizes supporting local food and businesses instead of the big-box stores) is also awesome and something that I greatly support; I think that supporting my local NYC designers is something like the lolita version of the 100-Mile Diet.

In conclusion, I think that lolita is, generally, a rather environmentally-sound fashion, compared to other current styles. While there is always the lust for something new &trendy, our style focuses greatly on timeless classics, meaning that "thrifting" via the sales community is not only extolled to newbies but a common practice for even the seasoned lolita. It's also an accepted part of the community aspect of our subculture; we share not only tips and ideas but actual clothing we have worn with each other, which to me always seems like a huge bond that's formed throughout the entire community. Even without the huggy-feely aspect, it's practical; most wardrobes are comprised largely of things bought secondhand and then supplemented by a few big-name prints or styles bought brand new from the designers to save money without sacrificing on quality. In essence, environmentally-sound practices are a huge part of our culture, whether we realize it or not.

pic credit:


  1. i whole heartedly agree with everything you said ^^

  2. Honestly, I can't see anything wrong with helping the Earth, even if it's a company just doing it to hop on the bandwagon, or people who just think it's "cool" or "trendy." - I couldn't agree more with this sentence.

    Also I think this is a well-written article on an important topic. I've always liked the big role that buying used clothing plays in Lolita, especially from an environmental point of view.

  3. i love the post ^^ it think promoting seam stresses and the EGL comms sale is great ^^ and i lveo the photo ^^



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