Yesterday Rufflecon announced that they would be closing, and they named four very simple, understandable reasons for their decision.
1. The main staff had moved away.
2. The Simplicity drama from last year had scared away potential sponsors who didn’t want a boycott on their hands.
3. The events attendance was shrinking, but current attendees did not want the price to go up or the content to shrink – implying that the sponsorships they lost in 2017 could not be recouped without an increase in ticket price
4. The event had largely become a lolita-specific event by the end of its fourth year, which was never what the organizers had intended, and that they planned to perhaps regroup and start a more inclusive event in the future.
Now, of course, the response from the lolita community has been largely disappointing – and much of that is because people do not want to believe that their behaviors might have contributed to losing something important. Which means we are seeing comments like these all over the place.
Many comments also accuse the organizers of being bitter, and while I doubt they are (they’re probably feeling quite happy and relieved to be moving forward!) I wouldn’t blame them if they did harbor feelings of resentment. These comments represent part of their audience – what a lovely group to be working with !! (◔_◔)
Aside from the general nastiness though, one lie keeps persisting – and I can’t tell if it is because people just didn’t attend the event so they only saw the lolita content, or that lolitas are really just so self-centered as to believe that everything at the con was geared towards them. Rufflecon was not ever intended to be a lolita specific event. It wasn’t. I went in both 2014 and 2015, and as a lolita I actually found that most of the content was not cast with me in mind! Don’t believe me? Lets take a look at some numbers.
In 2014, Rufflecon had 10 announced guests.
Of them, only 3 were specifically there for the lolita community – The designers from Chantilly, Triple Fortune and Morrigane NYC. (HarajukuHearts/AP was the sponsor vendor behind Chantilly I believe.)
The other 7 guests were not specifically related to lolita at all. ( Platform One, Jillian Venters, GD Faulkson, Dame Darcy, Aurelio Voltaire, Redfield Designs, and Psyche Corporation)
What about events, then?
In 2014, there were 14 lolita specific events that covered topics from 101 to community ethics and elegant gothic aristocrat looks.
There were 24 non lolita specific events that included groups like Gyaru, Punk, Goth, Steampunk, J-Fashion, Victorian Reinactment and more.
There were 6 events (including the fashion show) that were inclusive of all styles.
And the Masquerade featured predominantly NON-lolita acts including ballroom dancing and several rock bands.
The one stat that I’m not sure about are the film screenings – I believe that 6 of 14 screenings were for lolitas specifically, but since I didn’t see them all I can’t be 100% certain of that number.
While I can’t find my program for 2015, some additional data to back up my point:
Of all the guests provided in 2015, the fashion breakdown is as such:
4 Lolita Specific Guests
8 Non Lolita Guests
1 J-Fashion Guest (Kimura U)
So please, explain to me again how Rufflecon was always a lolita fashion event?
If it became one in its later years (I purchased tickets but couldn’t attend), that is because the majority of attendees were lolitas. Why that is we don’t know – but I think it is because unlike Punk, Goth and other alternative fashions, the lolita community in the USA is based primarily online. That means that it is very easy for information about new events to spread, while advertising to other communities is likely more difficult. But let’s stop pretending that Rufflecon was always meant to be a lolita exclusive event. It wasn’t.
Did the lolita community actively kill Rufflecon? Probably not in its entirety. The convention was getting away from its roots, and the organizers wanted a fresh start. But I don’t doubt that the behavior surrounding the hotel issues and the Simplicity incident contributed to its closure – what did people think would happen if they started threatening and boycotting a major sponsor? Either the event has to shrink and become more expensive or it has to close – they can’t payout contracts and bills with glitter and dreams. (◔_◔)
The thing that breaks my heart the most though is that lolitas are looking at what a wonderful event we used to have, and instead of mourning its loss, they’re spitting on its grave. This should be a wake-up call. We should be ashamed – why would anyone want to work with such a spiteful, angry community?
We need to change.