This month on the O-kei Podcast, Hayden and I are talking about how to thrive wearing alternative fashion when your isolated from a fashion community or others that wear your style.
It can be really hard to keep pursuing a style when you’re far from a support system. By going to swap meets you can get affordable items, at fashion walks you can get real life examples to emulate, and building relationships helps you feel like you’re not alone.
When I first started I didn’t have any friends wearing jfashion. I mostly posted on Tumblr my experiments. I could have felt more lonely if I wasn’t already used to being the weird girl with cat ears on all the time haha I feel that when I did start meeting people through Kawaii Rebel’s Club my style transformed much faster and I gained a better understanding of the styles I wanted to pursue. However there is still a part missing when I go to meets and I’m the only person wearing decora or passionate about that style.
There are certain activities in each style that you can bond over. Tea Parties for Lolita and Para Para/Karaoke for Gyaru are examples. Then at these events you can talk about different items your excited about buying from your favorite brands. At meet ups where I’m mostly around Lolita they can recite the names of prints like the back of their hand and I’m just like “lol whut?” Then when I’m around the more goth friends they’re just like “wow I couldn’t imagine wearing so much color!” The photo opportunities usually don’t reflect the style I’m wearing either. I get exposed to a lot of new people and ideas as a positive though.
Not that Decora has a specific type of meet up they’re known for but when I get to go to fashion meet ups in LA or the east coast where there are more decora or pop kei participants there’s definitely a difference in my experience. Someone usually brings the gift of homemade bracelets to everyone. We talk about which bargain stores we found colorful things at. The outfit themes are so inspiring like frogs, nature, fast food, and even decora Jesus! I’m not much of a crafter but I like seeing how we take things not meant to be worn like stickers, bandaids, balloons, stuffed animals, doll heads and make them a part of our looks. We can laugh about the funny looks we get in children stores, cry at how much things are from Galaxxxy, rejoice over the affordability of ACDC Rag, tell each other how we made certain items wearable. We’re a little sillier and laid back and childish. There’s definitely a different vibe I can’t put my finger on.
So there’s something to miss even if you’re a part of the greater jfashion community when you don’t get to hang out with others in your style as well.
My advice is to search for online sources of community through facebook or a jfashion Amino. Show support for others on their posts to create a rapport and maybe become friends! Even if they live far away you can travel to see them or meet in the middle at a large event. I do this with my best friends who live states away.
Create your own meet ups! If it's just you and two other newbie friends this could still be just the support you needed to keep going. I'm in a group chat with a few others in Chicago and we started meeting up casually once a month or so.
Look out for any Mega Meet Events or conventions that support alternative fashion. Sure it'd be great to just walk outside and bump into some fashionable buddies but at a convention that can actually happen! Some conventions I attend for that is Katsucon, Tekko, Akon, and Anime Expo and there's way more!
If you want to know more about how to overcome these obstacles check out our podcast episode where we have special gyaru guest Reina, the creator of Kawaii Rebels Club in Chicago.