Welcome back to another week of fly fashion. Today, y’all are in for a special treat because we’re being joined by our favorite geeky Lolita, cosplaying seamstress, motherfucking craft goddess Kristina (aka Yuki-Chan).
Not just anyone can pull off a pink frock and American Girl doll-hair wig, but Kristina ain’t just anybody. In fact, she was deemed “too nice for Disney”, by the Disney corporation itself. Seriously. All hyperbole aside, you know those jobs you apply for, to work at the Disney parks to be a character actor or guest greeter or whoever else they’re hiring to make your Disney experience as magical and bubblegum pink as possible? Well, during her multiple interviews with the Mouse this babe hit it out of the park in every way, except for one notable exception. When it came time to peddle merch, (an apparently extremely important part of any job at Disney World) Kristina was just way too fucking sweet. Try as she might, she was simply “not aggressive enough” to harass patrons or manipulate kids into begging mom and dad for $40 Minnie Mouse slippers. Proof that if you work at Disney, you’re probably something of a sociopath. So instead, Kristina took her sunny disposition into the medical administration field where she dons scrubs and puts her sweet smile to work.
Setting the Stage
Kristina and I met during the crux of awkward tweendom at the place where masochists go to kill the last bit of joy in their hearts; middle school. Oh, middle school. Amongst the whirlwind of hormones, creepy mustaches, and inner angst, I found a shining beacon of positivity and friendship in Yuki.
Kristina was my best (and only) buddy in Mr. Jacomino’s 7th grade chorus class. We were partners in group projects and spent hours talking about Sailor Moon and designing logos for our singing duo mYstiKal (capital Y, capital K, for our names of course). Our feature story begins on a Sunday morning, when after years apart Kristina invited me over to her crib so we could chat and brain-storm for her feature piece. You know those people who have the kinds of faces that are just instantly recognizable and forever vampirically unchangeable? That’s Kristina. She is the same adorable rosy-cheeked broad she was when we first met, with the ever unchanging enthusiasm and unflagging positivity that you would think might have rubbed off after the lumps of life, but naa.
Her home is a minimalists goddamn dream. Mostly bare white walls, simple furniture, cool, tidy, and uncomplicated. The gem in the Rose Quartz costume however is her work studio where she does her craft projects, sews, and displays her anime memorabilia and cosplay attire. You can find her in her haven on any regular Stitch and Bitch day (this is where she and her homegirl Marylou get together to sew, talk shit, and geek the fuck out). You see, behind every great cosplayer there’s the handler who makes the movie magic possible, and in our girl Kristina’s case, Marylou is it. Marylou, or waifu as she is more affectionately referred to by Yuki, is the glam rock and roll counterpart to Kristina’s shy kawaii sensibilities (and a future feature MyXXFLY babe, but y’all will have to stay tuned for that treat). So the girls told me tales of Cons, drag queens, burlesque shows and glitter bottom heels while surrounded by a room of paraphernalia, wigs, lolita outfits, and cosplay props.
Lolita or Cosplay?
So I’m throwing a bunch of words around assuming y’all know what the fuck I’m talking about, and while I’m sure some of you do, let’s take a minute to deconstruct the jargon. In the realm of Japanese fashion where cuteness is a way of life, and giant expressive eyes are the desirable norm, there is a style of dress called Lolita. Lolita is a fashion subculture much like punk or goth fashion. In fact, Gothic Lolita is a style of dress that mashes both aesthetics into an amalgamation of goth accessories such as crosses and crows, paired with black and white Edwardian inspired frills. Lolita style originated in the late 70’s in Harajuku Japan and much like the punk aesthetic, rose in popularity when bands brought it into the mainstream throughout the next several decades.
During this particular shoot our girl Kristina donned an ama-loli or “Sweet Lolita” look. In this style the aim is to portray a doll-like fantasy complete with soft curls and pastel makeup and outfits. The fashion is centered around bows, ruffles, and a pseudo-Victorian era aesthetic all in pastel color-palettes. Kristina has been a fan of this style of dress since being exposed to it in an anime where one of the characters dressed in Lolita style. She was drawn to the subculture, and after doing some research started dressing in Gothic Lolita until discovering the brand Angelic Pretty which she fell head over heels for. That was when “Sweet Lolita Princess Yuki was born in a soft cocoon of petticoats and pastel colored bows trimmed in lace”.
This outfit in particular was a gift from one of her closest friends, and since adopting the style Kristina has purchased, made, deconstructed and repurposed clothing all in the name of Lolita fashion. The shoes were a personal modification, and her lace bonnet, socks, and accessories were all hand-made. Kristina and waifu Marylou have an up and coming Lolita accessories shop called Cherry Pop which specializes in these kinds of lace bonnets and pretty frilly things for all your sweet and girly cotton candy colored dreams.
While the thrift store find is our favorite sustainable form of fashion here on MyXXFLY, I would say that being a seamstress is even better. If you can whip up something dope with a needle and thread, you’re basically a motherfucking superhero in my book. Which is lucky, since anyone adept at sewing can literally become the hero or heroine of their choosing with the right fabric, thread, and vision.
So Lolita is a form of fashion slightly more eccentric, but no different than say rockabilly or steampunk, but cosplay is straight up costume heaven. A girl in ama-loli is not in a costume, but a cosplayer? Depending on the level of commitment, will emulate a character down to the most precise details; costumes, hair, makeup, even adopting the characters mannerisms, voice, or gait. Cosplay is a fantasy, but one of playing pretend on steroids. As kids I’m sure we were all obsessed with a fictional character or cartoon, and dressed up as them for shits and giggles. Well, cosplayers are the kids who took that sentiment and ran with it.
Any fans of the popular cartoon Steven Universe, will be familiar with the protagonists mother and leader of the Rebels, Rose Quartz. For a South Florida Con, where the voice actors for the show were set to make an appearance, our girl Kristina got to stitching and bitching and concocted her own handmade Rose Quartz costume. For Kristina, the thrill of the cosplay is to geek out with fellow fans of the universe and bring her interpretation of the character to life. Kristina describes her confidence as fluctuating from day to day. Like many of us, she’ll have days where she feels cute as hell and appreciates her round cheeks and huggable body to the max, and others where it’s not so easy. Through cosplay however, she was able to shed many of her inhibitions, enter a costume contest for the first time, and play the part of whatever princess fantasy younger fans wanted to project onto her. It was an experience which left her soaring, stronger, and eager to do it all over again.
The thing that always resonated with me about Kristina was her genuine kindness. She radiates an unpretentious aura unaffected by the sometimes dreary bullshit of day to day life. I can imagine her fitting perfectly into any mold of a benevolent princess because it is simply in her nature. After days of catching up I can confidently say that if I could time travel back to our middle school classroom, younger Kristina would be thrilled to know what became of her life so many years later. Her ability to step out of her comfort zone and conquer her shyness one step at a time is exactly what each of us should strive for day in and day out; let’s feel good about ourselves, about our quirks, about our perceived flaws, and our bodacious bodies! Thanks to Kristina for letting us feature her unique style this week on the blog, and to Mary Lou for acting as our on site glam-squad for the outing. Until next time, keep your kawaii, double-x fly!