Hey folks! Ticket reservation sales start TOMORROW, June 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM PT on our Eventbrite page. As a reminder, at this time you’ll be reserving your ticket for a fraction of the cost (either $5 for a GA ticket or $20 for a VIP ticket) and paying the remainder of the cost starting August 14. Please keep in mind that you must be fully vaccinated to attend RVR 2021, and you must show proof of vaccination to pick up your badge.
If you’re interested in reserving a VIP ticket, don’t forget to set an alarm. Quantities are extremely limited, and we expect our remaining tickets won’t last long. If you’re wondering why you should buy a VIP ticket? Check last week’s post - remember that tea and fashion shows and all main stage content are included with every GA ticket!
You can reserve your room onsite at the MGM Grand right now using our Passkey portal: https://book.passkey.com/go/sroy1121mg. Using our room block guarantees you a great rate as prices fluctuate, and it helps us keep our event financially viable!
If you recently signed up to be a volunteer - THANK YOU! We will catch up with you in August with details on how to receive your ticket. We truly appreciate your support.
With our reminders out of the way, let’s chat about this month’s Bibliotheca blog prompt: Graduation
For me, Nif, this is an interesting topic. When I graduated college in (mumblemumble), I hadn’t delved into the wild, wonderful world of Lolita fashion yet. (True story: I met up with a young woman from my alma mater who is interning this summer at the company where I work. When I told her what year I graduated, she said “Oh, so it’s been awhile” or something of that nature. I simply perished!) When I graduated high school, I was big into cosplay and a couple years prior enjoyed a very brief ita phase - with such a limited understanding of Lolita fashion as “something you wear at a con when you’re not in costume.” I did not wear Lolita or J-fashion at my graduation.
Having been in Lolita fashion for about 6 years, give or take, depends on how you count, I also don’t feel like I am particularly learned when it comes to the fashion. I’m always discovering something new, whether it’s history, old gossip, styles, prints - you could fill a whole Lolibrary with what I don’t know about Lolita fashion. And that goes double for J-fashion in general.
But I think I hit an important milestone in the fashion recently, and it’s made such a huge difference when it comes to dressing up and the happiness and fulfillment I gain from Lolita fashion. I’ve graduated from the parameters, rules, and expectations of Lolita fashion and started dressing for myself.
I think when a lot of people start off in Lolita fashion, they’re very concerned about “the rules,” such as they are. Having a petticoat with the right amount of poof. Wearing a blouse under your JSK. Do your colors match? Are you accessorized and looking polished? I know for me, I was really focused on doing things the “right” way when I began in the fashion. In my opinion, a lot of that has to do with how I discovered the fashion (via anonymous message boards, while looking for cosplay information). My social/online entry point was a hotbed of nitpicking, gatekeeping, and enforcing rules, especially on people who look less like they “belong” - Black, Indigenous, and Latine people, plus-size and fat people, trans people, disabled people. The message was clear: fit in and look “right,” or be ridiculed. It took me a lot of time to walk that back, but the thing that unequivocally helped the most was engaging with my local comm in person.
Another thing about joining Lolita fashion that makes it harder to dress for yourself is the idea of capturing the nostalgia of a bygone era or a specific aesthetic. Think Kamikaze Girls Old School, or “2010s sweet.” Or even the wistful feeling of seeing old Victorian Maiden and Mary Magdalene dresses and realizing that all the ones you can find are too small for you. Perhaps, the later you join the fashion, the more different micro-aesthetics you have to aspire to. There is pressure - not least of all, financial pressure - to pick a style and stick to it.
Sharing your coordinates online creates its own set of pressures. It’s so easy to fall into a trap of comparing yourself to others, maybe without the critical lens of “do I just think this coordinate is good because it is captured in a very high-quality photo?” or, “do I think this coordinate looks good because the wearer is thin?” “because they are white?” “because they pass as cisgender?” It’s fun to be inspired by others’ aesthetics and to gather new ideas, but for me, I occasionally felt hopeless when I scrolled. “Why doesn’t my coord look like theirs?” “what am I doing wrong?” “why don’t I look perfect?” and “maybe I will never look the way I want.”
Like a lot of other people, I started to evaluate my use of social media last summer. Since RVR had been postponed to 2021, I had a chance to disengage entirely for a few months. I met some new people with new perspectives. I started engaging more with the community through my personal Twitter account. I looked around me and saw people who had been in the fashion for years and years, and I was intrigued by the way they dressed.
One thing I heard from those sorts of folks is that they often got mistaken for novices. They broke the rules liberally, as they saw fit, so when interacting with online comms aimed at sharing expertise, the mods brushed them aside as “middle siblings.” But each of these people had an unmistakable, unique, and fluid personal style.
One day, things started to change for me. I challenged myself not to buy more stuff and instead to find creative ways of realizing my vision for a coordinate. With no “big brand” tea parties on my horizon, the pressure to impress people by looking a certain way and having the most and rarest and coolest stuff dissipated. When your coordinate will only be perceived virtually, you can “fudge” some things, or experiment with unconventional pieces - does this blouse go over or under the dress? Does a JSK go over an OP? Is this a peignoir or an underskirt?
Then, I really felt a change in how I saw my outfits. I was wearing what I wanted, and I really loved how it looked. Or I was wearing what I wanted, and I was satisfied just by wearing the clothes. I started paying less attention to “matching,” either colors or motifs, and began to think more broadly. Why don’t these pieces go together? Why shouldn’t this piece be used in an ero coord? Do they go together anyway? Is there a way it can fit the style? I looked more closely at indie brand releases and started to think about how much love in my heart remained for the “big brands,” a couple of which aren’t interested in inclusive sizing. I told myself that I wouldn’t buy coats that didn’t close over my chest, I wouldn’t buy OPs that squeezed my arms, and I wouldn’t buy JSKs that barely fit over my torso. I was going to wear what I wanted to wear, and it’s working out great so far.
I graduated out of dressing for others and into dressing for myself. And isn’t that the point of alternative fashion, anyway? It took a few years, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like you’re there yet. When you are, you’ll know, and you’ll feel it inside and out.
Call to action: Have you been listening to the conversation around #FreeBritney? Britney Spears, the beloved pop star, has been subject to an abusive and predatory legal conservatorship for over a decade. This high-profile instance of conservatorship has the effect of bringing more people into the conversation around this horrible practice. Understand that things like this don’t just happen to Britney - this is a way elders and disabled people experience abuse every single day. Tap in: Imani Barbarin, an outspoken proponent of disability justice, explains the situation really well on Twitter and TikTok, and how this practice affects disabled people in general.
Thank you all for your time! As always, you can check https://prettyprincess.club for the latest information on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021.