For the past few days, for fun and for actual community related reason, I've been digging around old posts on EGL. Like really old posts from the first couple of years of the community, and it made me wonder: How did Lolita fashion jump from Japan to America in the first place? I know that now it's pretty much a world-wide fashion movement, and there are tons of different movies, TV shows, anime, etc. that all portray the authentic Lolita style, but back in 2001/2002, this definitely wasn't the case, and much of the "Western" Lolita community, at least on LJ, was limited to America.
So for those of you who were a part of the fashion around 10 years ago, or who were even just aware of it, how did you personally get into Lolita back in the day? How much did your enjoyment of Japan in general factor into it? Any sort of involvement in the early 2000's Goth/Alt scene?
I have noticed a number of people in older posts who seem to indicate that they either got into the fashion via Jrock, or the now infamous Fruits book that was published in late 2001 and available in actual bookstores. A very small number of people got into Lolita from seeing actual Lolitas while on trips to Japan, but it was such a small amount that it seems like a big leap to say that they alone brought the fashion outside of Japan. There were also a ton of people who seemed to latch onto Lolita as just another quirky Goth style, but the Goths who were into Lolita seemed to filter out pretty quickly once people started trying to define Lolita as something other than "Goth with lace, from Japan".
Personally, my own "how I discovered Lolita" is pretty weak, as I saw some cute pixel dolls that were called "Gothic Lolitas". But once I learned that it was an actual fashion people wore, Gothic people in Japan wore, I was all over it. I was a goofy kid in the late 90's and was totally into all the ridiculous Japan obsessed media of the time (Late night sci-fi anime showings, that horrible futuristic psudo-Asian fashion, crap like The Matrix, you name it.) and had been trying to find my own style of Goth (I was into the girly bubblegum goth as well as the fancy Victorian Goth, pre-Lolita) for a few years when I finally found out about Lolita, so at the time it was like the perfect mix of my sort of silly interests!
Going through the old posts has just made me curious about this! If you haven't dug around posts from the 2002-2004 era on EGL, I would highly recommend it, because there are a lot of ridiculous posts, and it's pretty interesting to see how things have both changed vastly, and stayed the same. Something I learned is that in pre-mid2003 the only substyles were: EGL, EGA, and Country Lolita. Pretty much everything that wasn't black was called Country Lolita. Sometimes someone would say "White Lolita" which seemed to mean both what we now refer to as Shiro Lolita (although a lot less fuss about everything being white), as well as something like light colored dresses with fruit or flower or other cutesy motifs on them.