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EGL Throwback Thursday: July 2004 
1st-May-2014 01:33 pm

For EGL's third Throwback Thursday we're going deeper still into the murky depths of Lolita to the summer of 2004, July. 2004 was a weird time on EGL, we were finally aware of what Lolita actually was it seemed, yet none of us actually wore it because Metamorphose was the only shop that you could easily buy from (I think at this time Baby allowed overseas orders, but it was money order only so no one actually bothered), at the time I don't even think there were any of those shady ebay shops to buy from, beyond cosmates ebay store. This was right before EGL's boom, so there weren't a ton of posts being made, but they were almost all "Look at the outfit I thrifted!" and anime/manga discussions, and in July it seems like every day someone was posting about Otakon. It's sort of charming now how excited everyone was to meet each other! In 2004 a lot of people still posted to the Lolita Yahoo groups and you can find a lot of people back then linking to discussions that took place in these now gone groups.

2004 was when Kamikaze Girls, aka Shimotsuma Story/Shimotsuma Monogatari at the time, was actually released, and in July there was a general buzz on EGL about the movie, but not nearly as much as when it was officially released outside of Japan 2 years later. You can see the partial archive of a special Shimotsuma shop page on BtSSB here! There's a cranky, but largely unnoticed, post about the licensing and renaming here.

2004 was the era of striped tights, as you can see in two old photo shoots that are still hanging around here and here. As I mentioned there was a huuuge thrifting and homemade trend on EGL at the time and many people in the comm who wore Lolita got their clothes from other people in the comm who made them (nearly everything at the time was sold on Ebay btw, so I have no idea how much people generally sold things for!). It's like everyone was an indie designer back then xD You can see people talking about whether they handsew or machine sew their clothes here, at the time I used to handsew a lot of really awful accessories and I always admired the people with the dedication to handsew something like a skirt or a dress. Speaking of DIY of the era, does anyone remember the beaded crown craze that swept through at that time? I have no idea why people started making these, but I remember pretty much everyone did because they were relatively easy.

Some people at the time were lucky enough to own actual brand though! Here's a post about one person's trip to Harajuku, notable because 2004 actually was when you could really see kogals in real life xD Also note the usage of "FRUiTS" to refer to general decora wear and their lamenting that Shimotsuma wasn't playing in their area! For the most part, Lolitas who could buy brand clung to everything Metamorphose did, here you can see some discussion about the "new" Crown Label and people complaining about how busy their prints were at the time. Honestly I think that, with the exception of a small handful of BtSSB prints, Meta was the only brand at the time routinely releasing prints. Prints were so rare at the time that people just weren't sure if they were something that was continually released, like brand's plain colored designs, or if they were a limited time only thing.

I find this post about Princess Ai amusing because some of the comments are all like "OMG COURTNEY LOVE?! WHAT DOES THAT POSER KNOW ABOUT LOLITA?!" when Courtney Love was probably legitimately more of a Lolita than 99% of the people on EGL at the time.

This post is notable because it asks the question "Is Lolita supposed to be sexy or cute?" and there is much more of a mixed bag answer than there would be now.

Here's a question from a goth asking what music EGL is based on. The answer: Mana. While one side of the comments are now deleted, you can see people talking about exchanging gothic/industrial mix tapes for handsewn Lolita accessories. If that's not the most 2004 trade, I don't know what is xD Also note the sort of hilarious "I was shocked when I discovered EGL, because I already dressed that way!" people used to say this all the time.

This is a really "fun" rant about how Lolita isn't supposed to be all sugar and cupcakes but it can be creepy and evil too. Maybe most notable for this "Lolita: Little seductive girls. Just go into a porn shop and see how much stuff is on school girls, daddy play and aaaallllll that. Trust me. There's a sexuality to it." Can you seriously imagine someone saying that's what the Lolita fashion should be about now?

Finally, we have an interesting question posed to 2004's EGL: How strict are you about what is and isn't EGL? Kind of funny in retrospect because "EGL" meant like a million totally unrelated things at the time that people sort of tenuously linked together because they were featured in the Bibles. Go back to the top and look at those pictures of what your average Lolita on EGL called Lolita at the time, then look at them discussing how wrong "westerners" often get the fashion and how horrible the things hot topic calls Lolita are. At this time, I was totally one of those people complaining about this, and in retrospect I feel like I had to know how ironic that was but was kind of putting on a "fake it till I make it" attitude about it, and I wonder if practically everyone else in the comm was doing just that too.

What were you doing the summer of 2004? The summer of 2004 was the first time I tried to get "serious" about Lolita. I was attempting to learn how to sew and had big dreams of sewing myself a "real" Lolita wardrobe. But mostly I looked like a hot mess in thrifted clothes, hot topic accessories, and random handsewn bows and stuff.

1st-May-2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
I love throwback thursday ! I'm like "hey that wasn't that long ago ! Wait a second. I was 8 in 2004." Being a lolita around that time sound pretty funny, although kinda hard.
I'm pretty curious about that Courtney LoveXAi Yazawa maga, I wonder if it was released in France too ?
1st-May-2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
Hey, I was 8 in 2004 too! To think that it was 10 years ago is quite a shock. It makes me feel like a baby to think that I didn't know a thing about Japanese culture back then, I was all about Harry Potter and Amos Daragon (a book series from a local author that was really successful when I was young).
2nd-May-2014 12:09 am (UTC)
Oh yes Harry Potter and Eragon too ! But 2004 seems so close, with Green Day's American Idiot single blasting on the radio. Wow I feel suprisingly old now.

Edited at 2014-05-02 12:11 am (UTC)
2nd-May-2014 01:33 am (UTC)
I didn't even like music at that age, I was just about reading and reading and reading. xD But yeah. I feel old when I know that nowadays' kids don't know many things that we knew, but I feel young compared to a lot of the Lolita community! Funny how subjective being old/young can be. :)
2nd-May-2014 01:56 am (UTC)
...You two make me feel so friggin' old. I was in high school in 2004! DX
2nd-May-2014 03:51 am (UTC)
I was at university hahaha
2nd-May-2014 05:02 am (UTC)
Come, let's be old together, have a beer, and reflect on Desert Storm and the Clinton administration. There's this place here that sells strawberry ale, it's delish~
4th-May-2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
It was indeed released in France ! There were two versions : the three-volume one and a one-volume compilation. It's been years since I read it but I remember it as a pretty good manga. I still have it :)

Edited at 2014-05-04 03:56 pm (UTC)
1st-May-2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
Summer 2004 was when I was first getting into lolita too! I'd just started at University and had become aware of lolita via some photos of Mana floating around the goth communities. I didn't get my first brand pieces (from Metamorphose, of course) until the following year I think, but mid/late 2004 is definitely where the obsession begun...
1st-May-2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
I just turned 11 in July 2004 xD. So there was nothing Lolita related in my life yet.
But I love reading those Throwback Thursdays ! I'm just patiently waiting until there's a chosen date I can say something about x).
1st-May-2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
xD glad you like them! Next week I'm definitely doing something from a more recent year!
1st-May-2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
Throwback Thursday - EGL_comm edition is my favorite thing to happen on this community since well.. a really really long time!!!!!!!

Reading through all the different posts comments really shows how different our community is now as to how it was back then. *_*

2004 was really when I was first starting to get my feet wet -- I was really into BJD (Volks in particular) at the time and was OBSESSED with all the BtSSB collections. I couldn't really dress myself so I would kinda live vicariously through them and any bibles/written material I could procure until it became much easier to order for myself online. I remember watching this awful Japanese copy of Shimotsuma Monogatari so many times I could quote along with the movie 2 rooms away haha.

I had some stuff I thrifted -- mixed and matched on my own (mixing in little gifts from some of my older friends who had been to japan that had given me from like older punk brand collections and stuff). I remember seeing someone at a convention I attended wearing Putumayo/H.Naoto and literally word vomiting noob-y showers of praise and adoration thinking they were the coolest person I had ever seen in my whole entire life. (That was the first time I had ever seen brand on a person, haha). She turned me on to the different online lolita communities and it was kinda over for me (and my wallet) from then on.

2004 was a good year!
1st-May-2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
That post about "Lolita is also creepy and evil" make me really cringe also reading the comments not only about lolita fashion in general but also that "cutting wrists" stereotype or evil gothic music who make children sick or stuff similar.....just a big facepalm on these "pearls". Hopefully some people have noticed that and replied to these misconceptions....
1st-May-2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, that one's really cringey. I kinda miss the more creepy and cute vibe lots of people used to have. I guess there's creepy cute now, but it's completely different.
"Yes, some of us are into EGL fashion for the EVIL aspects of it. Even if we are not totally EVIL people who do EVIL things. People do different things for different two people will ever be the same. If you wish to think G&L is a way of life and not just a fashion, so be it. If you just enjoy dressing up because it makes you feel pretty, so be it. You should do things and dress in ways that are going to make you happy. "
Stuff like that makes me glad I didn't start posting here when I was 15 or have an online diary. My second post to egl is titled "Damn you labor day!!" so it isn't like I never posted anything goofy.
2nd-May-2014 12:36 am (UTC)
Yeah that whole post is just really awful to read. I remember there was a really big streak of "it's JUST clothes!" back then and the idea of a lifestyle was scoffed at (even just in a meetups and internet-lingo "subcultural" sort of way) so I kind of feel like people were really trying to one-up others by saying stuff like "Well, you might just wear Lolita, but I live a life of creepyness and Jrock so wearing this dyed black wedding dress cut off at the knee is totally Lolita when I do it!" Just general overdramatic teenaged angst on the internet really xD
2nd-May-2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
I thought instead it was the opposite, i mean there were some "true" lolita into a lifestyle and trying really hard to be the sweet creepy doll... maybe it's only just me, i'm not sure....
2nd-May-2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
Oh no I'm saying there were definitely both! But largely it seemed that the idea of Lolita as a lifestyle was scoffed at by a larger amount of people.
3rd-May-2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
I thought the opposite because i saw a documentary reportage (an italian one) about a lifestyle gothic lolita, it was sorta poseur-ish than a good example of lifestyle lolita so i thought some years ago the concept was that of being the cute creepy doll into darkness and so living a life as that.
2nd-May-2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
Now the creepy cute is merely an addition to a sweet lolita or fairy kei outfit to make it more gothic or creepy, a thing i love because i'm somewhat into gothic subculture so i love this merging of something sweet but at the same time bitter and creepy. I think before lolita style, mostly called gothic lolita at that time even the sweet or classic, was more into these "evil" aspects, but not everyone used them in the right way without sounding like an angst ridden teenager full of rebellion aganist everyone. Well i admit i would love to see more lifestyle lolita people, doesn't matter if matches with gothic, classic or sweet but i think nowadays this importance to be more into a true lolita lifestyle is sorta lost and there is only clothing remained for most people, in a hand is good also because you haven't to adhere to some lifestyle rules if you don't like them from the other hand lolita becoming more interesting if you live it as a lifestyle, well of course not doing evil things but maybe liking the most morbid aspects of the human lives, even if you aren't a gothic lolita but sweet or classic could be really interesting and connected to gothic subculture. For this in Japan you see often gothic events paired with "lolita", maybe still in Japan there is this conception of what i said before for some?? Usually in Japan most fashions are born more for visual aspects than music or lifestyle connected, but i think in Japan there are people who like to have this lolita lifestyle :D. I can sound a bit confused but i find it really interesting... i always thought about this hehe.
2nd-May-2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
Honestly I think that your average Lolita has more of a Lolita lifestyle now than they did back then. I think because of the wider availability of the fashion and things like frequent designer visits around the world and larger scale Lolita-friendly events happening, more people can work Lolita into their day-to-day lives. Even back then you can find posts about people thinking it was just impossible to wear Lolita on a daily basis, but now it's pretty common for a lot of Lolitas. I guess it would depend on how strictly you're defining "Lifestyle Lolita" though!
3rd-May-2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
My idea of lifestyle lolita isn't only wearing the clothing on a daily basis or almost or handmade clothing, jewellry, etc, eat sweets and so on (i think it's sorta strict), i saw some interesting posts about recent lifestyle lolita and how influences almost all aspects of your life, for some also personality or achieving a more lady-like manners. I think it would be a really good idea to go into this extreme of lolita lifestyle, but only if done without believing you are a living doll or stupid poserish stuff, maybe the concept of lifestyle lolita is more similar to a modern times princess, usually not searching for her prince charming but if is, let it be also that. Maybe more like "Momoko" style of life. I'm not sure about this since i saw this idea online and most of lolita girls don't have this 100% lolita life, but in my eyes is really fascinating.
1st-May-2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
In 2004, I was still a big lolita wannabe. I wore peter pan collared blouses under sweaters all the time because I thought they looked more lolita than regular collared shirts. I never told anyone I was doing that on purpose, though. But in about May, I made my first lolita skirt. It was actually very cute, but I didn't know much about sewing so the edges were unfinished and frayed. I was also afraid of making the waistband too tight, so it ended up with like 5 inches of ease, lol. It was a light blue strawberry print, it had a fixed waist and a self-ruffle. I wore it with a light blue peter pan collar shirt and blue and white striped socks. It wasn't that bad. (I remember what month it was because it was the end of my senior year of high school.)
2nd-May-2014 03:44 am (UTC)
I too love throwback thursdays! Keep it up!
I think 2004 was when my friends and I first dabbled in lolita. One of the things we made was a very small lolita zine/storybook called "The Adventures of Eyepatch Alice" that contained some really basic information about lolita, as well as tutorials and crafts etc. I think I have the last surviving copy somewhere. There were a few inside jokes stemming from some of the personalities on egl at the time, but mostly it was just a cute indie project that sort of reflected the handmade/scavenged aspect of lolita in the states at the time.
2nd-May-2014 08:46 am (UTC)
Wow, that sounds amazing. If you find it, you should scan it in! I'm sure we'd all love to see it =]
2nd-May-2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
I would absolutely love to see that if you happen to find it! I really wish I had written some sort of ~informative~ Lolita thing back then so I could go back to it now!
2nd-May-2014 03:56 am (UTC)
I know when you've gone back really far because I stop recognizing people's LJ names! I wasn't a member of LJ then so it's interesting to see how... primitive the posts were. I was studying abroad in Japan that year but just stayed a lolita creeper, buying GLBs, going to LaForet and window shopping and internally freaking out whenever I spotted a real lolita.
2nd-May-2014 05:53 am (UTC)
Really nice post!! I like your summaries. 2004 was a super-year for lolita, and the year I discovered the fashion. Unfortunately, not that a little girl who just started middle school could do much, both because of money and because I used to dress very tomboyish, and I was proud of it XD now that 10 years have passed I changed almost 180°, and if not lolita I still wear skirts and otome more often than pants. Also, I realized my dream to visit japan once and starting a real wardrobe!
2nd-May-2014 09:36 am (UTC)
I didn't wear lolita in those years, but I remember that I was shown Kamikaze Girls by a male friend - and instantly loved this movie.
2nd-May-2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
Something I'm kinda noticing is that in discussion type posts, the original poster often replied to every comment, no matter how many there were.

I was only 8 in 2004, so it's so interesting for me to see the community then! Lolita seemed really developmental. It's amazing to see how far we've come. Good job, everyone!
2nd-May-2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
I even made my own beaded crown back then xD

In july 2004 i did nothing lolita least I don't know it anymore since I did not blog at this time xD
3rd-May-2014 08:06 am (UTC)
In July of 2004 I was in Tokyo studying, and had just bought my first brand items from the Laforet summer sales at Putumayo and h.Naoto. I then wore them in absolutely terrible american mall goth coordinates around Harajuku with a hime wig. I didn't have enough money at the time to get a dress or a full coordinate, and all I could afford was a tshirt. I had not yet joined livejournal or EGL, it wasn't until a couple months later after the members of lolitasnap introduced me to it. I feel so old right now.
6th-May-2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Wow it doesn't feel like so long ago. I was in high school. Right after discovering FRUiTS book at Barnes&Nobles!!! Lol omg and making my first attempts at a classic co-ord,utterly failing.I used to lurk this community so hard but I was too afraid to join :0
The stripped socks.. I wore them with everything
15th-May-2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
I love these posts! I come back every Thursday for them <3
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