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.