Lolita brands tend to cater to a niche market, and that niche is typically petite girls who want to wear expensive and eccentric high-end clothes. As you all know though, not all Lolitas are petite, or even interested in wearing something known for being expensive, many Lolitas simply want to be able to buy and wear their favorite style of clothes. But, because the typical Lolita is not the Lolita that most brands make their clothes for, she is left out in the cold. Yes, there are many brand Lolita pieces that can fit a variety of sizes, and buying second hand can help bring down the cost, but buying whatever the hell you want, directly from the brand is not something your average Lolita will ever bother with, or sometimes even be able to do.
It is true that in the past year or so many Lolita brands have indeed expanded their shops to Western shores, either literally, in Baby's case, or through at the very least releasing an English web shop that ships overseas. Along with this, Baby has begun releasing a few select dresses in large size, and even on occasion an extra large. These are big steps from clothing stores that several years ago wouldn't even ship overseas and typically made one size of dress that is anything but "one size fits all". But I think it is a far cry from what Lolita brands can be doing to make both their clothes, and thus Lolita in general, more accessible. I also feel like if Lolita brands addressed some of these issues, fewer Lolitas would be so eager to throw their money at poor quality knock-off shops.
The following list might all just be dreams of mine, but I feel that if Lolita brands did these things, Lolita would be even bigger than it is now.
- Expand to the West. Either by offering overseas shipping, or opening shop here. It's no secret that Lolita isn't as big as it used to be in the early 2000's in Japan, the whole fashion seems to have migrated West. There are literally thousands of customers outside of Japan that many brands are cutting themselves off from by not, at the very least, offering overseas shipping.
- Multiple sizes. This is one is important. Not everyone fits standard brand size, therefore, not everyone can buy brand, so, dear burandos, why not make it so most everyone can buy from you? Sure, some brands offer L sized clothes, but brand large isn't exactly very big, and L sized Lolita clothes are often only offered for a handful of very simple JSKs. Why brands don't make their most popular prints in larger sizes is a mystery to me since most girls are climbing all over each other and practically throwing money at their computer screens trying to get some brands newest prints.
- Friendlier customer service. There have been several horror stories on EGL of people spending hundreds of dollars on one item of clothing directly from a Lolita brand, receiving it only to find that something is horribly wrong, emailing the brand, and basically being told "Too bad, I don't see anything wrong." A pair of $300 Innocent World boots with a seriously crooked front come to mind. In the West, we expect to get what we pay for, in Japan, you might be paying a lot for something just for the privilege of owning something expensive.
- Lower priced "logo" items. No, this isn't a demand for Angelic Pretty to start selling all their dresses for $60, I just think that it would be awesome if Lolita brands sold a few select things for a cheaper price, for when you need that burando fix ASAP. A sub-cutsew perhaps, just a simple puffy sleeved tee with their brand logo or newest print on the front, not one of the $80+ blouses in teeshirt material that are often in the cutsew section. Or even bringing back the logo tote, something that I have seen less and less of in brand shops over the years, which I always thought was awesome because they were typically $30 and had the brands logo plastered all over it, just the thing to add to your cart at the last minute. In fact, my first brand item was a couple of Logo totes because I had minimal money to spend and I just wanted something brand right now. I feel like cheaper brand items would also encourage the non-Lolita to buy from places like Angelic Pretty or Baby every now and then and encourage the Lolita to wear her precious brand in her non-Lolita coordinates. After all, cute and girly clothes rarely go out of style.
Will brands ever do some of these things? I doubt it. But why is it? Is it the cost? I know that it is cost effective for a brand, especially one that sells to such a specific niche, to make only one size of clothing, but I honestly do believe that most brands can indeed do things like offer every dress they sell in multiple sizes, many other brands that cater to alternative fashions do. I just don't think Japanese Lolita brands are willing to. Many Japanese brands, both Lolita and otherwise, tend to make their clothes in smaller quantities, and smaller sizes, to keep them exclusive, and thus, make them even more special than a $300 pink princess dress already is. It makes the clothes, the brand, and every one wearing them part of something more exclusive than it really needs to be. Someone really needs to send Mana a note letting him no that he's not actually Christian Dior, no matter how high he prices his clothes.
I am not going to deny it, I have a love hate relationship with Lolita, especially Lolita brands. On one hand, I love Lolita, it's what I wear nearly every day, it's what I spend large amounts of time and money on, it inspires me, and I just love it and I can't help it. On the other, I hate some of the stuff Lolita brands do, I hate their stupid sizes, I hate their blatant over pricing (No, I'm not talking about their dresses, which I think are reasonably priced for the most part, but things like injection molded plastic jewelry, pleather shoes and purses that are on par with PayLess quality, and most cutsews), and I hate the elitist attitude that many brands seem to have. I want to love certain Lolita brands unconditionally, but I just can't, and don't think think I ever will be able to unless they start to change how they do things. But, then again, should I really trust anyone who asks for hundreds of my dollars, even if it is in exchange for pretty party dresses?
If you're interested in a response about why these things probably aren't going to happen (and a few things that I was just plain wrong about, oops XD) check out this response from The Osaka Koneko.
So, fellow Lolitas, agree or disagree? Do you think brands run just dandy the way they are, or would the brand of your dreams run things a little differently?