Hello everyone! For today’s 10 Day Lolita Challenge we are supposed to talk about two of the events and meetups that we’ve attended that hold special memories for us. This is very hard for me to parse out because I’ve hosted AND attended so many events, so please be aware that this post will likely be very long, and very picture heavy!! To try to cut down on content, I’ve only actually listed out the events that were the most impactful on me as an attendee, not as a host. Perhaps if there is interest I’ll do a follow up from a host’s perspective in the future.
The Fancy French Event (2010)
My first big lolita event was called “Fantaisies dans le Monde des Rêves” and it was hosted in San Jose by the future owners of Angelic Pretty. When I found out about the event I was so excited, because Angelic Pretty’s designers were supposed to be there. I begged my poor fiance (then boyfriend) to go with me, and being on a shoestring budget we booked a motel and some cheap tickets, and flew out for the weekend.
The day of the event we went to the pop-up boutique opening, and I was so excited to be able to see Angelic Pretty in person that I couldn’t wait to get there. We arrived pretty early, and there were only a few other people there. Unfortunately for me though, once they found out I had a basic ticket ( the VIP ones had been auctioned off ) most of the other girls in line wouldn’t talk to me, and later that morning I heard them teasing an e-famous lolita because she had a large chin.
The event itself was quite lovely, even though there were a few delays with programming, and after the fashion show they announced the release of the Milky Planet dresses and the Piyo-chan chickie bag. Now, for those of you who don’t remember this, you have to keep in mind that back in the day, not all of these items would make it to stock the Angelic Pretty International website, and there wasn’t yet an Angelic Pretty USA to buy from. If a series sold out in Japan, it was very difficult to acquire them anywhere except the second hand market, or through Japanese auctions. Even shopping services were booked out for these items, so this opportunity to pick them up at the event seemed like it had been sent from heaven.
The next morning my fiance packed up the room while I walked down to the event’s location to get in line several hours in advance. Because there had been a bag check the day before, I figured that if I only brought things I could fit in my pocket, I might be able to slip past the VIP girls and make it to the table before anyone else to purchase a Piyo-chan bag. It was rumored that they had only brought a few, so I’d have to be really quick to snag one. The only things I brought with me were my cash, ID, phone, and a zombie novel called FEED to read while I waited in line.
After a few hours of waiting, a guy who’d been working the booth the day before came outside, and saw the book I was reading. He told me he’d been thinking about picking it up, and asked me what I thought about it. We started talking about other zombie novels, and then, to my surprise, he let me go in just after all the other VIP girls were being let in to shop! Since I didn’t have any bags to check I dropped my book (I still don’t know how it ends…) and quickly scuttled over to the Angelic Pretty booth to collect Piyo-chan from the center of the table.
I was so excited that my heart was racing and my hands were trembling as I handed over my payment to the shop girl. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten so lucky! But, of course, my joy was short lived – as this all was happening I couldn’t help but hear the other girls behind me making fun of my appearance. “She’s so fat, I can’t believe they even let her buy Angelic Pretty.” “She isn’t even a VIP, how can she afford such an expensive bag?”
At that point I was almost in tears, but a kind shop girl who’d overheard the whole thing pulled me aside and told me that the other lolitas were only speaking out of jealousy, and not to judge myself by their words. I doubt that she remembers that little act of kindness, but it is a moment that has stuck with me until this day.
Frill 2 ( 2012 )
While I had a great time at the first Frill event, Frill 2.0 really outshined it in my memory because it was my first fashion show! I remember being so nervous leading up to the event, but luckily I had some of my wonderful community members there with me who modeled my looks. Amazingly, Frill 2012 was a true bonding experience, as most of us are still friends to this day – something that we all attribute to the long roadtrip together!
Sakuracon ( 2014 )
Sakuracon was the first time I got to meet Rin-Rin and Maki (I cried on the last day after getting the opportunity to sit at their table at the tea party, how embarrassing!) , and it was also the first time I ended up in one of the Lolita Publications and on Angelic Pretty’s website! This trip was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing because I had airline points that were going to expire, and I saw very last minute that Sakuracon would be having Maki & Rinrin as guests. I posted to my facebook page and asked if anyone would like to go, and to my surprise both Lulu and Tyra decided to come along! At that time none of us knew each other exceptionally well, but as with Frill this event was an amazing bonding experience.
One of the more unusual things that happened at this event was the appearance of Mr. Yan. The day before the fashion show there were rumors that Mr. Yan of Bodyline notoriety had announced he’d be coming to the USA for his world tour, and that his first stop would actually be Sakura-con! Of course, we didn’t really believe that at all, and while it was fun gossip while waiting in line, we quickly forgot about it as the days events overwhelmed us!
Well, imagine our surprise when we saw a very familiar hat leave our hotel and start walking down the sidewalk! At first we thought someone was trying to be funny and was cosplaying Mr. Yan, so Lulu chased him down to see what was going on…
… and sure enough, it was Mr. Yan! WHAT. He told us we were the first American lolitas he’d met, and he asked us to take a selfie with him so he could post it to his facebook page! Of course, we had to get one too!
After Frill closed I was devastated, so when I heard about Rufflecon I immediately purchased a ticket and arranged to go with Lulu. We ended up participating in the fashion show (you can see Blaze in my Alpaca Parade JSK, and Lulu is wearing Kim’s Darling Garden Deer) and I entered in the coordinate contest. I ended up winning second place which was surprising, and a few months later I was shocked to see that my tea party coordinate had been included in the page for GLB event snaps!
Anime Matsuri (2015)
Anime Matsuri 2015 was the first time that I actually went all out for a lolita event, and I feel like I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone with all of my coordinates. I purchased specific shoes, veils and blouses for everything, and I custom-made crowns and sceptres for myself and my friends. I also almost died when Maki recognized me from Sakuracon 2014, and asked to take photos of the accessories I’d made! A snap of Kim, Lulu and I also made it into the GLB, and onto Angelic Pretty’s website, which was absolutely delightful!
Unfortunately, this event also had a lot of drama surrounding it, and that negative, competitive atmosphere definitely kept me from enjoying the convention to the fullest. Because the USA Kawaii Ambassador was going to be announced, most lolitas came dressed in their finest, and it really felt like everyone was on edge, even within my friend group. And of course, the whole scandal that came afterwards… well, I have very mixed emotions about how I feel from this event.
Under The Sea (2016)
Under the Sea was the first European event I ever got to attend, and it was an absolutely magical experience! Not only did we have an amazing time meeting new lolitas, shopping, and enjoying the tea party, we also were able to explore a brand new city, and visit a museum about cat paintings called Katten Kabinet! And, to make things even better, Mira ended up winning best dresser from one of her favorite designers! This is an event I’ve written about in detail here, so if you’re interested to know more, please check it out!
Wicked and Whimsy (2016)
Wicked and Whimsy was special to me for several reasons. To begin with, this was one of the first events I traveled to on my own, and I met so many new people and made so many new friends that it really changed my perspective on how welcoming and lovely the global lolita community could be. The second reason is that I was chosen to model for the Korean Lolita Brand Haenuli, and she specifically asked me to bring one of my handmade sceptres to compliment the look I’d be wearing! Like Under the Sea, this event was another absolutely amazing experience, and I have very detailed event report posted, for those of you who’d like to read more. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Dream Masquerade Carnival (2017)
The last event I want to talk about is the Tea Party Club’s 10 year anniversary event – Dream Masquerade Carnival. Eventually I want to do a really in-depth review of how this event went, but this one is memorable for me because it was the first time I treated myself to a VIP ticket to anything – and the experience was amazing. I was able to meet Imai Kira and participate in a carriage ride with her around the city, get a bit tipsy during the gold ticket holder shopping hour, see an absolutely stunning fashion show, and meet many of my online friends in person! And, while I did go ahead and craft some special items for my tea party outfit, I was able to go with friends and relax while enjoying an absolutely delicious meal. This isn’t to say that the event didn’t have hiccups, but despite the small moments of disorganization that I noticed, I was shocked and saddened to hear that the Tea Party Club would be closing. After all my own experiences hosting events, both large and small scale, I can certainly empathize with the event director’s decision, but the announcement was absolutely devastating – to the point that I still haven’t been able to write my event report about it.
There are those who want to replicate their success and start a second iteration of the event company, and while I wish them the best of luck I feel like the biggest lesson the western lolita communities need to learn from the closure of the Tea Party Club is to be thankful for the meetups and events that are currently being curated and hosted, to volunteer when you can, and to stop nit-picking every little detail. Are there always things that hosts could improve on? Of course! And hosts are always happy to get feedback after an event! But going to an event with the intention of stirring up drama and creating a laundry list of complaints is not only damaging to the community at large, but also demoralizing for organizers.
Wow! So, that is a pretty long list, and I’m sorry, I know it probably seems a bit self-centered and arrogant to talk about all of these events in just one post! But, the trip down memory lane has made me very nostalgic, and definitely has me inspired to get started on that scrapbook from my new-year’s resolutions!!
Like I said before, if there is interest I might write a version of this from the hosts perspective so let me know in the comments if that is something you’d like to see! Do you have any events that hold special memories for you? Any that were just absolute disasters? Let us know in the comments below!