Once upon a time on a day in April when it was sunny enough, Lobster and I ventured into the ‘woods’ along what is known as the Ridge. It’s not really a forest but it’s a nice area with trees. It’s pleasant for walks and contemplation, and it serves as a shortcut from Woodhouse (my area) to Headingley (another student area).
I planned to sell this dress that had been in my wardrobe for quite some years, but that I had not worn more than twice, and that I suddenly got an idea for a coordination for. I thought the bonnet that I wore at the Tealey Run [see here!] would match quite well, so I wanted to try out this coordination one last time before moving on to sell the dress.
A disclaimer of sorts: yes, this dress is a replica. I am actually against replicas since buying this dress and realising it isn’t worth it, so I’m just going to use this space to explain. I know it seems really stupid because there are so many photos of me wearing it, but this is just motivation for myself to get the original dress and make even better outfits. I hope that makes a little bit of sense, and I also hope the Lolita gods forgive me (;*△*;)
If you know what a replica is and don’t care, you can skip the text hahaha.
In the Lolita world, the topic of replicas can cause quite the debate. I just want to say something because I feel I have to, but I hope I don’t offend anyone personally. In the end, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I just wanted to explain myself. It might also be interesting for those who don’t personally wear Lolita but are interested in it or trying to understand more about it.
Replicas of popular Lolita dresses have been a thing since around 2008. It has become bigger over the years, and right now it’s hard to think of the fashion without thinking of replicas.
In a nutshell, what happened is that some brands were very exclusive in their production, only making a limited number of dresses in only one size. Obviously, this increased demand drastically and trying to get a certain item is still a battle for some of us
One of the consequences is that secondhand items can be sold for the original price, or even higher, if the item is very rare and/or popular. On one hand this is good, because it means less of a loss when you decide to let an item go.
On the other hand, it’s unfair to the lolitas who now have to pay three times the price just because they missed out, and it creates room for scalpers who buy items at original value only to directly resell at the ‘demand value’, which is ridiculous and hurts both the brand and the buyer.
So when independent seamstresses popped up with a means to recreate those very wanted dresses, in custom sizes, in unlimited numbers, that seemed like a great idea from one point of view: everyone could get the items they wanted! It doesn’t matter if you are too tall or too short, etc, to fit into the one size, because the seamstresses can just use your personal measurements. The price is also less than brand prices, which makes it even more attractive. Then there’s the added bonus that doing ‘risky’ things in Lolita could now be a thing, since many of us were quite scared to go clubbing or ice skating in an expensive brand dress, for example.
However, from a different point of view, replicas are not such a good thing: it is art theft and it takes business away from the original brands. For the lolitas who do a lot of buying new and then selling on, replicas can cause a loss since the buyer can now choose between buying the original secondhand, or buying a replica. If a cheaper replica is available and demand for the original is less, that means that the original will go for less. Which is good for the buyer but bad for the seller. However, there are many sides to this, and rare items going for outlandish prices is still very much a thing, replicas or not!
In Victorian times, the ladies came out with their parasols to sit along the ridge and listen and watch live music in the gazebo. ｡◕‿◕｡
In the beginning, I didn’t have a very outspoken opinion about replicas. When the print replicas first came out, it seemed like a nice idea to finally be able to get your hands on a sold out piece from years ago that nobody would ever sell secondhand. (The sizing argument doesn’t really apply to me because I fit into most of the standard sizes, it was purely the rarity and price options that I considered. The ‘not being scared to go out’ argument doesn’t apply to me either, I will wear brand to most occasions without problem, and if I really have to wear Lolita to something risky then I will wear off-brand or handmade.)
Unfortunately, more and more replicas started to come out even before the brands put out their own items, meaning that the “I haven’t been able to get it because it’s sold out” argument lost its value because there were now people buying replicas before the people buying brand. And the price of items… well. Of course there are exceptions, but secondhand brand can be really reasonable and replicas aren’t exactly the cheapest option. They are about the same price as general secondhand brand, I think. There are cheaper options, such as off-brand or handmade. Over the years, I have managed to build up quite a collection of both brand and off-brand items and still be able to eat, and generally live my life. (´ω｀★)
The reason I bought this replica is because the original item was sold out and incredibly hard to get secondhand, and for some stupid reason I thought a replica would be the only way for me to own this dress. I have however also got two versions of the original dress in a different colourway and I figured out that I preferred the quality of the original piece so much more. Yes, I had to pay an arm and a leg to get those original items but I don’t regret it. What happened with the replica is that I bought it, then felt bad about it, and then never wore it. (⊙︿⊙✿) So, that feels more like a waste of money than buying the original does, but I digress. [note: in the mean time I have passed on this dress to a friend of mine who isn’t in ‘the Lolita world’; I feel less bad about buying it now that I know it has a good home now and makes someone happy.]
Since buying the replica I started to think of more and more reasons to not support replicas. The most important one being that I am against art theft, no matter what. I have been for a long time, so it doesn’t sit right with me. Even though this particular dress is quite simple in theory and isn’t a specific print… if you are a fan of something, you should support the original! The original designers, brand or not, are the people who make this fashion available to us! So I firmly believe that we should support them.
For people who are just starting out, I know it all seems very complex and daunting to get the right items and get your Lolita look, but trust me, it does not have to cost you all your savings. Actually, it is so much easier to get brand items now than it was even five years ago! And remember, Lolita does NOT equal brand! There are so many ways to do Lolita on a budget! But that is not what my post is about… haha. If there’s interest, I might write about that some other time. For now I’ll recommend this article by FYeahLolita on replicas.
In short: if something doesn’t fit, you can get creative. Lolita is totally a fashion that lends itself to creativity! You can find pieces that work for you by altering brand, making your own or getting something commissioned. If something is too expensive, there are PLENTY of cheaper options! Replicas are NOT cheaper than brand, because secondhand brand is sometimes cheaper than a replica! And okay, yes, I am a big Angelic Pretty fangirl, but Lolita is so much more than just one brand and one style. The creativity is one of the things that drew me towards this fashion in the first place.
If you love something, it is always better to support the original. Replicas hurt the fashion, so I hope I have made it clear enough why it’s not a good idea to support them.
Personally, I will not be supporting replicas anymore and I hope others can understand why. I too understand that there are many individuals who each have their own reasons for buying and owning replicas but this will hopefully the only time I will post about it on my blog. I take pride in supporting the original designers, ‘official’ Japanese brand or not, so I hope this inspires others to do the same. Thank you for reading this.
A few silly outtakes hahaha. (*≧▽≦)ﾉｼ))
One piece ☆ replica of Marionette Girl by Angelic Pretty
bonnet ☆ Metamorphose Temps de Fille
bag ☆ Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
tights ☆ eBay
socks ☆ Tutu Anna
shoes ☆ Montreal
wig ☆ Lockshop
I realise this is quite the loooong post, but in the end I was quite satisfied with the results of these photos! Hope you like them too. (⊙△⊙✿) And hopefully I’ll get to do this again sometime without the whole spiel about replicas, hahaha.