Friday, August 31, 2012

Pop Princess: Fall/Winter Jewels

First off, I want to say thank you! ^-^ Today, we've officially surpassed the 1000 view mark on the Pop Princess blog, and I must say I am pleased as punch to see that! ☆ So thank you for reading and being so super awesome! ♡ It makes me happy to know someone other than one by the username of Miss Cookie, who I suspect is my kitty cat, is reading it. Ha! : p

I thought I would give a quick introduction to our new jewelry line up that's in the process of being started for our Fall/Winter collection. This year's theme is inspired of course by our collection theme of fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland, cute sweets, Victorian cutlery, and jiggly jiggle jelloooo.

Mmm, a spoon full of sugar, and something else to snack on!
There seems to be a lot of interest in Victorian spoons, and other cutlery among the lolita community lately so I wanted to add some accessories to go with it. These are actually inspired by all the different chocolate series/collections that Angelic Pretty offers! I had a lot of fun making the little chocolate pieces, trying my hand at some painting, and other ways just playing.

When I saw these little heart jello pieces in their cutie pastels and shining in the sunlight, I couldn't help but buy them! They are too cute for words, and so shiny! *o* They look exactly like real jello does, except it's not a viscous elastic polymer of course... just acrylic plastic. Almost the same, I swear! These were also inspired by AP's Jewelry Jelly print, which I have slowly grown fond of. 

Cookie Cat! How did you get on that cameo?!
And of course, we can't forget about our fairy tale theme! On the right is a beautiful, glass and gold gilded pendant that comes from the rose glass in Beauty and the Beast. On the right, a simple Victorian Queen cameo of my Cookie Cat, whom I would love to dress like that, but fear it shall never be!

They're so cuuuuute, I can't stop making them!! D :
And lastly of course, my beloved sweet ice cream, whip cream parfait necklaces! I can't help it... they are addictive! They are so fun to make, and so soothing. It's like crafting teeny tiny pastries, and I like looking at them all lined up on my shelf as if they were in a bakery shop display. (Am I telling you too much? I might just scare you off...) Plus! I finally discovered how to mix paint with my whip cream, so now I am introducing some fun new creamy colors in pink, blue, violet, and well others!

I hope you enjoy them! They'll be up for sale on Etsy some point next month! ^-^

What other kinds of cute jewelry would you like to see more of? <3

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Big Replica Debate: Part Two

I'm sure by now that most of you are aware that it was in fact Angelic Pretty representatives that contacted the EGL community seeking help in banning the sale of replica items. Angelic Pretty is now the third brand leader to stand up against illegal replications along with public announcements from Mary Magdalene and Innocent World. You can read their respective announcements to customers regarding this issue here (scroll down):   Angelic Pretty , Mary Magdelene, and Innocent World.

Along with revealing the source of which company contacted the EGL moderators for their cooperation, they have also compiled a verbal and visual guide on what replicas are, which ones are illegal, what makes them illegal, and what you can and can not post about regarding illegal replicas. You can find the complete guide here: A Guide to Illegal Replicas on the EGL Forums

In case you're still uncertain of the difference between a "super replica" (i.e. illegal counterfeit) and a generic replica let's compare and contrast for our own enlightenment!

What is a replica? Aka. a counterfeit. 

Replicas, more commonly referred to as counterfeits, are knock off items of the original. Basically a replica is any item that is a copy or illegal reproduction, in full or in part, of an original artist's work. Usually, a replica is a cheaper, less costly version of its original counterpart that copies all or some parts of an original piece. A counterfeit is synonymous with replica, defined as an imitation or fraudulent copy of the original artist's work. These two words can be used interchangeably since they mean roughly the same thing.

I actually had a great photo for this of a good example of what a "simple" replica looks like---i.e. a cheap imitation of the real thing. In this case, it was a cherry red patent leather little purse I bought when I was traveling in China. Now, this counterfeit was in no way a "super replica," or an exact copy. (If you wanted those, all you had to do was hunt around in Beijing or Shanghai and a lot of the members traveling with us bought "super replicas" of purses from brands like Coco Chanel or Versace.) The one I bought was supposed to be a likeness to Sanrio's Hello Kitty. Instead, there was a fuzzy kind of derp-y looking "Hello Cat." Yes, it actually said hello cat... and since it was cute, and I needed a purse, and it was hilarious, I bought it.

Cheap replicas are not interested in the finer details. Overseas it is fairly common to just grab a brand's logo, make something that sorta kinda looks like what they make, and slap the logo and name on it. It doesn't take a genius to tell from first looks that it's not the real thing. Remember how in Kamikaze Girls, Momoko's dad was all into making "Versach" 100% authentic from France? ... Cheap replicas are kinda like that...

What is a "super replica"and what makes it illegal?

 (Left: example of a "super replica" of Happy Garden) /
(Right: Angelic Pretty's authentic, original Happy Garden JSK)

"Super replicas" are the ones that usually get people talking. These are counterfeits so amazingly accurate down to the very last stitching detail and trim, that it actually takes experts to be able to tell the real ones and the fake ones apart. These counterfeits are supposed to reproduce the real thing so that even the most cautious buyer can't tell that they are a fake. From the fabrics to materials used, to the logos, and even the hang tags and fabric labels... they are all copied down to the very last detail and put together to create a "super replica" or "super copy."

Replicas have been an ongoing problem that I think has come more and more into the lolita public's eye, especially this last year, with a lot of big companies finally speaking out and against illegal reproduction of their designs and especially their fabric prints. It is absolutely mind boggling that entire fabric prints, like Angelic Pretty's Happy Garden (above), can be illegally reproduced and manufactured by overseas companies with such ease. It is in essence stealing the hard work of not only the brand, but their designers, illustrators, employees, and manufacturing companies.

You can tell that the dress on the left by an anonymous overseas company is obviously not the Angelic Pretty original---the entire bodice was changed, the lace is different, and the waist bow itself is smaller. But what makes it a "super replica" is the blatant reproduction of the original artist's work, i.e. the fabric print itself. This can be applied to any dress/skirt/accessory/jewelry that you see being reproduced at a cheaper price by someone overseas of an original print that belongs to its original artists/brands. It simply violates the copyrights held by those individuals and companies.

Why should I care?

Well, this is a question that I can't answer for you. This is going to be a matter of personal opinion that will be interpreted differently by each individual. The most common reason, as we talked about in part one, for the purchase of illegal replicas is: the price. Replicas are cheaper, even if the quality and materials used are sub par to the original.

a. The Legal Reason
Companies like Innocent World and Mary Magdalene have not minced words in their statements released either on their personal websites or else where. They will prosecute overseas companies that are engaging in or otherwise involved in the illegal selling or reproduction of their copyrighted designs and items. Innocent World even said they will take "rigourous measurements" and "punishment" against customers who willingly purchase fake items. Basically, buy at your own risk.

b. The Moral Reason
There's always a lot ruckus about how big lolita brands are just "faceless companies who don't care about customers and hike up the price of their items" yada yada. If you're still certain that's the case, please review part one on the basic concepts of supply and demand.

With that said, put yourself in their shoes for a minute. If you haven't studied fashion, or if you've simply invested timing in making your own loli gear, take a second and think... how long did you labor and sweat, and cry a little bit in trying to make that perfect piece? How many hours did you spend over the sewing machine, breaking needles, and ripping out stitches? And then when you finally made it, when it was finally done... well, how did that feel? Awesome, right? Because you put 100% heart, time, and effort into producing a product.

These companies are actually rather small. Yes, they turn out A LOT of inventory through manufacturers, but all the creative effort into thinking up the designs, creating the original patterns, prints, and sourcing the materials/trims needed to just make ONE dress is a lot of work. When I interned at Anna Sui in the summer of 2011, you would not believe the man hours put into just one single piece, let alone an entire collection. These people work so unbelievably hard to bring you, the lolita princess customer, the decadent frills and thrills that make your pound and your palms sweat.

And then... after all that, after all their intensive laboring and working as a team to create something beautiful... someone just steals it, with no effort or thought at all. That's awful. Truly horrid. Think how you would feel.

c. The Personal Reason
I'm not going to go into this one at length, since you've already had the chance to read it in part one. Lolita is beauty, it is a living, breathing self expression of art, it is heart and soul. If it is the one true love of your life, wouldn't it be so much more rewarding to be patient, to save, and own the real thing? Don't you want to support all those people that work to make that happen?

Well, I make/buy cute items that looks like something brand has, is that illegal? Or do they have copyright on all fluffy cute animals in the world, like unicorns too?  

 (Left: Pink Macaroon's Unicorn Purse/ Right: Angelic Pretty's Unicorn Purse)

The simple answer here is: no. If every company had a copyright on silhouttes, generic shapes, and overall fluffy cuteness then... no one would ever be able to produce anything and I'm fairly certain fashion would cease to exist as we know it.

("Why no, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, you simpy cannot use the popular 18th century 'french gown' sacque silhoutte with all those engageants ruffles! And you've made a ribbon collerate necklace too! :gasp: It looks just like Madame de Pomapdour! How outrageous, that's illegal! :faints dramatically:)

Madame du Pompadour, Francois Boucher
In the above example, you can see, that would just be silly right? After all, the basic silhouettes and frilly decorations used to make up most lolita wear is based on historical fashions. These kinds of things are more of an inspired by, than any dark illegal activity afoot.

Pink Macaroon 's unicorn duffle bag purses for example, are simply a generic plush animal shape. She is not in any way trying to pass of her cuties for that of an AP unicorn purse. She was simply inspired by the item and decided to make her own.

In final words, basically if you see it in regular stores in your outlet mall, like teddy bears with monocles and top hats for example, and you see something similar to that featured in your favorite indie brand, or brand shop... Have no fear! It's ok!

What about other look alike items, are those counterfit? How about "replica" items like Tea Party Shoes, purses, etc?

 (Left: Baby the Stars Shine Bright Heart Purse)
(Right: Bodyline Heart Purse)

As long as the replica item is generic, meaning without special logos or text, or graphic art designs that would suggest it is trying to copy the original artist's work then you're safe. See, this Bodyline bag isn't trying to be anything but a cute heart shaped companion to carry all your junk!

A lot of people love Secret Shop Tea Party Shoes, which I think is okay. Yes, they look similar to items being reproduced but they aren't using copyrighted logos/artwork, and they aren't "super replicas" either. Who wants to stomp around in their gazillion dollar brand shoes unless it's is a clear blue sky day and there is not even an iota of a chance for rain, or other inclimate weather? At least in offbrand shoes you can jump in puddles (ok...maybe not!) or slosh through the snow in those cute lace boots and not worry that you spent so much money on them. (I own one pair of BTSSB heels, and basically I wear them once in a blue moon because I basically break down and cry when I see a scuff mark on their snowy white patent leather. Okay, okay, I'm just pulling your leg again. :3 But I do get upset!)

***AH! This post is getting long..... onwards to PART THREE, Being a Princess on a Budget! : O

*Edit: Forgive me for taking so long to post, the doctor's thing I've come down with an upper respiratory infection, possibly pneumonia related and I haven't been well. ; _ ;

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pop Princess: Fall/Winter Prints

I thought I would write something short and sweet to introduce a couple of the fabrics that will be featured in this year's line up for Pop Princess Fall/Winter collection. This season we will be focusing on more subdued tones to match the changing colors of the seasons accented by hints of glitter shimmer, rich velvets, and overall elegance with sheers and silky solids.

Since I'll be finishing and phasing out the last installment of our darling sweet prints like: Cherry Berry Kitty, Bunny Tea Party, and Magical Carousel Ponies.... I thought I would give us a new theme to look forward to: Alice in Wonderland. ♡

Illustration by Arthur Rackham
Alice in Wonderland... A favorite story among both an audience of children as well as adults. For children, it's a story of following a young blonde, wide eyed girl through a dream like state of Wonderland, filled with mystical and fantastical creatures of all sorts, shapes, and sizes. It is an adventure of great heights to be shared with grinning cats and dozing mice. For adults, it is a series of unlimited interpretation as well as fanciful linguistic creations, a tale filled with themes about the loss of innocence and entry into adulthood, as well as the inability to maintain a logical frame of mind when nonsensical things like Mad Hatter's riddles, like life's expectations, sometimes make absolutely no sense.  Either way, I think all of us can appreciate the fantastic, beautiful tale that makes up Alice's adventures in Wonderland for one thing or another.

"You're all just a pack of cards!" -Arthur Rackham
Some of the most recent prints of Alice in Wonderland, I must admit that it was not love at first sight. Actually, I kind of wrinkled my nose at most of them because while I thought they were cute, I didn't think they were suitable for lolita wear and so I passed them up. (Also, the little spiderwebs were kind of creepy to me, as I will admit, I have a teensy phobia of spiders...)

But then, months later I came across them again and spiderwebs aside... I started to grow more and more fond of them. I began to appreciate the simplicity of the silhouette shapes, tri color design, and the intricate uses of glitter embedded in the print to accent things like tiny bits of lace, head bows, the ruffled collar on the White Rabbit, etc. And as strange as the concept, I rather enjoyed the whimsical nature of the theme of an acrobatic, carnival loving, circus going Alice in Wonderland.

I could see the beautiful warm beige and brown tones made up into a wonderful one piece dress accented by chocolate colored ribbons and waist bows, and light dusty caramel colored silk, with gold scalloped lace accents at the neckline and princess seams, also accompanied by a gold shimmering top stitch thread.

 The fanciful nature of this print features white ponies mounted by the Mad Hatter tipping his cups to catch drops of tea from the White Rabbit floating off, carried by balloons. Little girls with poofy skirts and mary jane shoes skipping rope with little cats as stars, hearts, music notes, and playing cards all rain down from above. 

I can see the light creme x pink print over lain with a light, gauzy white chiffon for a more airy and theatrical look for a jumper skirt. It would be accented by gold thread, shimmering gathered tulle fabrics at the sleeves and a tiny braided trim at the neckline.

Our next print, is also Alice in Wonderland/circus themed and comes in a violet stripe x black colorway border print. It is called "Circus at Night." True to it's name there are ponies parading, elephants posing, and monkeys wheeling around on penny farthings under chandeliers. There are also dancing ballerinas and fanciful clowns eyes on the prize, juggling for the final count down. 

Lastly, I am hoping to introduce a few more floral prints this year that will appeal to both the sweet and classic lolita with designs for skirts, jumper skirts, and one pieces dresses.

♡ Well, what do you think, lovelies? Would you like to see more Alice in Wonderland themed prints? Florals, too? Tell me what kinds of fabrics you would like to see in Pop Princess!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Dear Lolitas, A Peace Offering.

When great happiness unexpectedly swoops down on people, they suddenly turn into cowards. Snatching happiness takes a lot more courage than enduring unhappiness. When you find something precious, you have to hold on to it with all your might and never let it go, whatever else you may lose.  ~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto

Kamikaze Girls
This week in particular has been a very dark one for the world of lolitas that is usually filled with starry skies, and sun beams in the morning, of hope and aspirations, of dreams of what could be, and wistful sighs for what was. Instead of cotton candy clouds, I practically see pitch forks looming on the horizon over a land that was once sweet, where open arms greeted the shy faces outside its open gates. Instead, the gates are slammed closed and it seems like there's a cry for blood everywhere you turn. 

I ask: What's happened to us? As an alternative community, as a group of boys and girls who love Lolita? When did we start this bickering and hate amongst our own frilly family? And are we going to let it tear us, tear the dream, we all shared apart? 

More and more it seems the internet (forums, facebook pages, tumblr posts) are saturated with this over reaching hostility among the community, one that is only sending a negative to all those around us. It seems like every girl has got her "confession" to make, and everyone is just slamming everyone else, just ruthless and without feeling, for the most ridiculous reasons. I realize that with anonymity that a computer screen provides that this is probably a cake walk for most people, to just lash out and put whatever it is on their mind out there for everyone to see.

There is so much going on and being said right now, that it is truly... honestly... disheartening to watch and to read. There is a hurtful hate storm descending on our community, from our community, by our community, that is just painful. Granted, perhaps it is only a handful of people stirring up this malice but in the end, it affects everyone. Originally, I was going to post screen cap-ed snippets from these terrible comments everyone is making, just so mean and hurtful, but you know what I'm not going to add to it. Mostly, because your eyes, dear readers, are too cute and beautiful to see such atrocities, and I will not let you think less of yourself.

 Again, a handful of perpetrators does not a community make. Don't buy into the misconceptions, and word vomit of others, and judge an entire group because of a few people's unkind words and actions. You will always find a few of these people, regardless of where you look. And like a friend says, "Stereotypes are based on reality." There is always that one person who will validate your original assumptions because they are living embodiments of the rumors of Lolita being rude, unaccepting, bashing, and overall unpleasant. We are not all like this.

This trash talking about "brand whores" vs. non-brand, elitism vs. "not real" lolita, racial slurring, anti-acceptance, and especially body shaming plus size girls.... has got to stop. Everyone is slinging mud at everyone else, and to be honest acting perfectly horrid. All should be in the corner with dunce hats, grounded from being a princess for a month. 

What kind of example are we setting as group to outsiders, huh? 

We have to deal with the name calling, staring, rudeness, and ignorant folks of the world when we're out in our frills anyway. Are we really giving them more reason to disrespect us, when we can't even respect each other? 

Lolita is based off of Rococo, a time period that was an anarchy in and of itself, against the oppression of the period previous to it that was steeped in oppression of beliefs and individualism by the Catholic church. It was people finally letting loose, able to express themselves through ludicrous fashions and over indulgence in the here and now. "Rocaille" literally means "misshapen pebble." Rococo was an alternative period that didn't fit into the previous period, and didn't fit into the one that followed it, but was an absurd lap of luxury and opulence, of personal tastes and interests, of freedom and equality.

I did not stop being a Lolita. No matter what hardships I may face, to be a Lolita is my raison d'ethre- more simply put, my identity. To toss that away would be to deceive myself.
~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto

Lolita itself is about being different. It is about embracing your frilly strange-ness, and expressing it however well you please, even if the people around you or the ones you come into contact with think you are out of your damn mind for following it, for pursuing something so frivolous and without purpose. [Excuse, my unladylike language.] They don't understand it, and maybe even if they try they won't be able to feel it like you and I feel it. It is expressing our individualism, it is about showing what our beauty feels, smells, tastes like, and showing that on the outside. Lolita is about wearing what you love because it is a form of art, it is a way of connecting our dreams to reality. It IS an alternative fashion, it is different from what is considered "normal" by most people's standards---it is just a frilly, fluffy version of haute couture

As community on the fringes of society, as a subculture of street fashion, we are the very definition of misfits, of the strange, and bizarre to outsiders looking in. But as a community, we understand each other, accept each other. We are each others refuge, and safe haven; each others friends and confidants. This is not something we should ever, ever forget. Otherwise, what separates us, from them? Nothing. Lolita is about acceptance and mutual respect of uniqueness and individuality. Without that, it makes us no different. We are no different from those that would disrespect us, and say cruel things about something so dear to us. 

Lolita is an idea, a state of mind, a lifestyle if you so choose. It is NOT: who you are, where you come from, the color of your skin; your gender, orientation, or preference; or whether or not you are tattooed, pierced, or have super awesome colored hair; or how short, tall, tiny or curvy you are. 

Does being reasonable guarantee happiness? Even if it does, isn't that happiness achieved only by enduring all kinds of things? Well, if I have to endure anything, I'd rather be unhappy. 
~Kamikaze Girls, Novala Takemoto

 Lolita is a dream which we share, an ideal of something simple and sweet. It is open to interpretation. It is a flexible medium that can be worn, made, or shared in anyway we choose. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't matter if you have a closest full of brand, second hand, handmade, or indie brand designs. 

The real, honest to goodness factor here that actually matters:

Does it make you happy? 

Does it make you feel complete? 

Does your heart skip a little beat every time you put it on? 

Do you feel beautiful when you step out into the sunlight in it, or when you're twirling around in your bedroom?

Regardless of what people say, does it make YOU happy even then? 

That's it. If it makes you smile, if it floods your cheeks with a touch of pink, or makes your heart flutter then.... That. That is what matters. 

My dear lolitas, let's make peace. We are all beautiful in the eyes of the Rococo gods if you ask me. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Day with Merry Mary Quite Contrary & Tank: Their Video Documentary/Interview!

Photo by Bionic Eye Photography
World, meet Miss Mary. Miss Mary, say hello to the world. <3 If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Mary (who is not in the least contrary, but rather very cute-ly merry) then may I humbly suggest that you have not had the singular pleasure of meeting one of the sugary sweetest, kind hearted girls in probably all of the world.

Darling Mary Elizabeth Notz, better known by her growing fan base as Mary Nine, is part of the dynamic, talented duo of documentary and dance videographers that make up tank9 (Duy Luu) and Mary Nine. Their slogan? "We are tank9 & Mary Nine: Connecting friends through dance and documentary videos." I honestly think that's not giving them enough credit! These two are so talented at what they do, the kinds of cinematography they shoot and the angles they catch are really something else, and seeing how they piece it all back together is really a work of art. It's like seeing a different world through their eyes. And not only are they partners in crime, they are also one of the cutest couples ever!

Mary & Tank--aren't they cute? (Photo from Tank's FB page!)
 Together they have made a lot of achievements! Mary and Tank have shot everything from industrial dance videos, to collaborations with musicians, and traversing the country to travel from different anime conventions doing documentaries, interviews, and dance videos that really support the beautiful creations of cosplayers, and indie designers. They have even gotten to interview some impressive people--most recently of which was GASHICON the designer for HANGRY & ANGRY, who recently made her first trip to the US! One of the most amazing things I think they have done is when they teamed up with La Carmina, renowned tv host and author of all things gothic/Japanese/alternative culture, to raise donations and awareness for the devastating tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan for their one year anniversary.

They have gotten to film all sorts of amazing fashion shows like h.Naoto, Atelier-Pierrot, Chantilly--they even have collaborated with many Etsy designers to showcase their works in both their dance and documentary videos!

Mary lookin 100% adorable at Anime Expo 2012 with the bunny purse I made her!

When I first found out that I was going to be participating in Otakon's Ultimate Lolita Fashion Show, I was super psyched because I found out that Mary and Tank were actually going to there in Baltimore doing another set of shoots! (I was SO excited about that because Mary and I had been talking almost all summer over messages about how awesome it would be to meet in person, and we both kinda freaked out happily when we found out we were actually going to meet!) I knew right then that I wanted Mary to be one of my models in the fashion show, and what a super awesome job she did!

Meeting Mary for the first time was kind of amazing, because even as we drove past the convention center unable to find parking, I actually picked her out from a crowd and immediately knew it was her. She was wearing a cute gothic lolita outfit, and had dyed her hair a pretty ocean colored blue teal that shimmered like a mermaid's tail in the light. She was talking animatedly to another of my models, Jenn, who was wearing a beautiful red Alice and the Pirates jsk, and her face kind of lit up when she laughed. Mary is exceptionally soft spoken, like a well raised princess from one of the neighboring lands of the Candy Kingdom, and when she gets excited or passionate about the topic at hand she has a cute drawl of an accent you can't quite place. She is a fair skinned porcelain doll, and her eyes practically twinkle when she is happy.

Watching Tank speeding around with the camera, was an experience all in itself. It was fascinating to watch someone so intensely concentrated on getting different shots, and angles of all these different cosplayers and anyone that he found interesting. Mary was telling me he was always passionately focused on his work, and would always be stopping to film something that caught his eye. I think through the video, you can really feel the power of dedication and commitment that Tank feels while shooting footage. It was a real treat to get to see the two of them in action filming!

I got to spend a better part of Saturday at Otakon, hanging out, getting to know, and talk to both Mary and Tank, and it was such an enjoyable experience as they both always had so many fun and interesting things to say, that we just chattered away while charging the camera battery. I even got to do a wonderful interview about Pop Princess with Mary, and I was sooo nervous before hand but since we had been talking and getting to know each other, I felt super comfortable with her and I don't think I sounded.... too silly. ^-^

It was really fun to pick their brains about how they met, how they started filming together, and what was it like to have so many fans, and were they ever kind of worried about creepy stalkers, ha ha. We talked about their lives back in Seattle, and their cute kitty cat that followed them around on walks, and everything in between. We shared a wonderful meal together in the evening, and to be honest, I really felt like I knew them both for such much longer than just a couple of days! <3 My only regret is we didn't take any photos togetherrrr ; _ ; but there's always next time!! I hope to see them again soon, and Mary and I can twirl about in our frills. :3

So if you're fans of Mary and Tank's videos, and overall really beautiful camera work, then go on over to their Kickstarter and become one of their backers, so they can continue creating artfully crafted videos and bringing smiles to everyone around them.

Here is their latest video documentary of Otakon 2012:


5:30 starts “Ultimate Lolita Fashion Show”
6:50 Q and A
10:42 Pop Princess Interview with Mary <3

^-^ <3 Thank you so much to Miss Mary and Sir Tank for making my first lolita fashion show, and my first time at Otakon one of the most memorable times ever! All my love. xoxo

So, what do you think of their documentary video? <3

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Angelic Pretty Toy Fantasy Hooded Salopette: A Review!

When I first stumbled upon this adorable salopette back in 2011 (I can't believe it has been that long!!) on Angelic Pretty's Japanese website, I think I had a mild heart attack from how absurdly cute it was. The print, silhouette, and of course the hooded bunny ears are what really sold me on it. I was almost immediately struck with Cupid's arrow, just head over heels love sick, with perhaps a little hint of lust thrown in. It had just been put up for sale, and for a moment I was struck with a desperate need to have it in my life! The white colorway resonated to the perfect harmony of my heart, it was so clean and crisp, and the pastel bunnies, bears, and giraffes stood out staring up at me from their places with wide eyes calling my name, saying "Buy us, Annika, let us follow you home!" I could imagine swishing around it, twirling and skipping about, tugging the bunny ears and chasing around our own little fluffy daughter, Hopscotch, and going "weeee!" in my head all excited.

AP: Toy Fantasy Salopette 2011, Sax Blue Colorway
I remember just staring at the photos, and clicking through them over and over again then looking at the price tag with a heavy sigh... ¥19,740, or $250 USD, and that wasn't even with international shipping. At the time, I was in the middle of my junior year in the midst of finalizing the last of my core fashion design classes and was drowning in expenses for all the supplies required for our projects... it wasn't going to happen. Simple as that. I had to worry about the priorities and necessities first. I barely was scraping by as it was, going to the store and wondering if I could afford food or medicine, and what could I get right now and what could I worry about later. I bookmarked the page because I thought at the very least I could just look at it, keep an eye on it, and perhaps by some miracle it would go on sale later and perhaps I could ask Santa for it. With a heavy heart, I closed the open web page.

Our little bun bun, Hopscotch

When I reopened the web page for a peek at the salo a few days later, I was crushed. It had sold out as quickly as it had been listed. I knew it was a long shot, and I knew in all reality that there was no way I could have gotten it but it still filled me with such a heavy heart knowing I would probably never see it again. Out of the Toy Fantasy series, the salo was the most rare of all the garments as Angelic Pretty had only made a specific quantity of them, and had no hope for a re-release. When a print strikes you like that, you can't help but feel a little less fulfilled and disappointed when the opportunity passes you by. For a couple months after selling out, I scoured the internet (Google, Japanese sale sites of all kinds, auction sites, EGL comm sales, you name it) just in hopes to see it for sale again from anyone, anywhere. But no luck. So I gave up on having it.....

AP: Toy Fantasy Close Up Print
Then with a pleasant sort of surprise in my slow hunt for other prints this summer of 2012, I started seeing the salopettes emerging from the woodwork of girls' closets in Japan and showing up on different auction sites, especially Mbok. Every time I saw one, I had to bookmark the page, even if it wasn't the colorway I wanted. I was just excited it. It was impulsive. I had to. It excited me, and sort of reignited that hope that perhaps now that I had graduated and had been saving up money from Etsy sales that just maybe...maybe I would find the white colorway, and it could be mine. Black, black, black, pink... these were the colorways that kept showing up on the Japanese auction sites. While I loved the silhouette, but I didn't want these ones. I only wanted the white one, my infamous white whale as it was, and I was determined to have it or nothing at all!

Then... out of the blue, just purely by accident, I clicked on a link in the EGL Comm Sales and there it was...

Original Photo by LJ user: sweetjuju0425
My heart stopped! I stared at it with wide eyes. It was there. It had just been posted that day, literally minutes ago. And no one had asked about buying it yet. For sale by Livejournal user, sweetjuju0425! I read the requirements/rules for purchase from the seller with haste, pouring over the content as fast as I could take it in. The girl selling it explained the piece, especially the color of the salo, was very rare and had been difficult to acquire. It was one of the most popular. She even had the little purse that went with it! I looked at the line "payment plan available" and my breath sort of stuck in my chest. I immediately started pounding away on the keyboard logging in to my Paypal account, then on to my calculator.

I had saved enough... it was a lot of money, but if I wanted to I could actually do it. I think that scared me more than the idea of not having it, the idea that I could actually have it! ---how long had I waited for it? what was the likelihood of me seeing it...EVER again? and for heaven sake's just message the girl and stop hesitating about it, because it made me happy it was worth it.

With bated breath, I pushed the send message asking the seller, fingers crossed and praying that someone else had beaten me to it as usual. After dancing around Livejournal being glitchy, we finally got in touch and within an hour Judy and I were emailing. Right away, I knew how super sweet and nice the seller was, and she kindly offered me a very generous payment plan so long as I could make the deposit. It took me about a month and a half to finish paying off the last bit of the salopette, and Judy was always in contact with me every step of the way and always so sweet about our transactions. She was such a peach, and made me more excited to have one of my dream pieces because she was excited for me to have it! In mid August, I finished! And then began the wait!

I stalked the post office's website, tracking the movements of the salo like a lion stalking a gazelle across grassy plains, to cuddle with of course not to eat! : o My little feet wiggled happily when I saw it coming closer and closer to where I lived, but I was also impatient in my head grumbling, "Come faster you beautiful salo! I can't wait another moment! I want to be a bunny, I want to be a bunny!" I was fairly convinced that I would attack the postman or postwoman when I saw them, raid their little white truck, pitching out boxes and packages until I found mine and then scurrying away into the house with it clutched to my chest. It would be my first Angelic Pretty purchase!

I waited and waited, and waited for what seemed like forever! The tracking info said it was finally in my city and I was even more impatient... I didn't want to leave the house because I was afraid I would miss the mail. The time dragged by! It was 3:30 pm and the mail should have come. But no mailman!! Where was the devious postal deliverer and were they skipping around in my salopette?! I checked the tracking info:

"Delivered at 1:00 pm."

WHAT? What are you talking about. I went out to the mailbox, no postman or truck in sight, no one had rang the doorbell to deliver, and opened the box. The mail person had just crushed the package into the box. Oh what a heinous crime! How blasphemous! Cradling the poor package against my chest, I ran back inside to rip it open like a kid in a candy store, too excited for words!

Wrapped neatly in a plastic packaging, along with a violet teddy bear key chain, and a hand written note was my Toy Fantasy Salopette. Finally, just waiting for me to open it up and swing around the room like a long lost love! The mailman had irrevocably caused it to be very wrinkly but I didn't care, I wanted to take photos!

Oh gosh, it is so cute, so cute, so cuteeeee! Even more adorable in person! Angelic Pretty has done a fine job with their intricate top stitching details, the heart buttons, and I was surprised to find that it was fully lined with a nice white silky fabric.

The pink chemical lace trim they have at the faux center front is decorated with tiny little stars, and polka dots with just a hint of gather for a more frilly feel. I kind of like that they didn't use hearts for the lace, not that hearts aren't cute, but I think stars are less used. The other lace they used was a 1/4 inch scallop lace tucked inside the princess seams.

The straps of course are adjustable, but I think i would have preferred if the little metal things weren't there that attach to the heart button. I would have rather they were fastened from the inside with another button so it didn't take away from the neckline of the blouse. The hood is also fully lined, and the ears accented with a pink polka dot contrast fabric. I kind of like that the fabric is a gauze-y material, which makes it a little sheer, and allows me to see the details of the insides. I like seeing how things are made, where they clipped the curves, how much, that sort of thing.

I really, really love this salopette so much! It looks simple, but is really intricate in the little details which is what makes it so special. I love the tiered gathered ruffles, even if they are very difficult to iron out. But the print of the tiny animals and the bunny hooded ear just delight me in every way! I am so glad I waited! ^-^ <3 I can't wait to make myself a cute blouse to go with it, and plan a proper coord!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Otakon 2012 & the Lolita Fashion Show...The Happy Entry 1b

Friday 27th: It's Show Time, Oh and We're On in Five Minutes!

It was 8:20. 8:20?!??!?! We were late! The show started in ten minutes, and the girls had just finished getting dressed. We didn't have enough time! : o And the panel room we needed to be in was on the complete opposite side of the convention center! And 2 girls had forgotten petticoats! They swooped into action, promising to ride off on their white steeds (i.e. RUN) all the way to the hotel room to get said petticoats and somehow make it back in time.

 (I would like to note here how awfully thankful I am. And to all my dear dear models, for helping me through it all and being such peaches about everything! You really helped me, and kept my spirits up! And to Tank and Rich, for their heroic rescue of the petticoats/filming/photo taking!)

We finally found the room, and hurried in. It took us a minute to find backstage, but as soon as we walked in, we heard: "We are literally going on in five minutes! And you're the first up!" I felt a little flustered, and overwhelmed, and omigoodnessomigoodness, whatwhatwhat!! Then the cutest fair skinned, blonde haired lolita greeted us. It was Kelsey from the lovely classic lolita indie brand, I Do Declare, and also the organizer of the lolita fashion show! Her smile kind of made me feel all better all at once. She was just so sweet and kind, even though I'm sure she must have been way overtaxed and stressed out of her brain, she was always checking on everyone to see how they were. I got the crash course in what was going to be happening in a very short time!

I Do Declare by Kelsey (Her model, Gretchen)
Darling Melissa, one of the girls backstage who was also organizing, was quite honestly a beautiful person. While my head was going, "OMIGOSH" and in a tiny panic mode, she popped right in with such a bubbly-ness and helped me get the girls ready: laced up, tied up, appropriately fluffed, and when I said, "Oh one of my models forgot their petticoat" what did she do? She actually wiggled right out of it and was like, "Why take mine!" I couldn't believe it. I was so overwhelmed with happiness right then. Not because I wasn't nervous anymore, but I had never been to a fashion show with such kindness and generosity from everyone; models, organizers, fellow designers and models. Everyone was so sweet.

 I was whisked away by Kelsey to the other side of the stage, who held my hand and looked at me and said, "Are you sure you're okay, Annika?" She was so concerned, and again just one of the sweetest people I've ever met. I took a deep breath, and got ready. I had practiced my speech a little, but was relieved to find out we were announcing behind the current and the MC, a cute lolita, explained the process. I looked up, and there was Tank rushing to my model, Mary's aid, petticoat in hand and I watched her hopping into it. Another girl peeked out from the other side of the curtain saying we needed to start! "2 minutes," I pleaded, a little worried. "I'm literally watching one of my models pulling on a petticoat as we speak." A got the thumbs up. Mary was dressed, and ready to go. And Tank and Rich had made it in the nick of time too!!

And suddenly. It started! You could tell the panel was filled to the max. So many people. The MC was introducing the show, and then me. I took a deep breath, and made my introduction! And it sounded great, and usually I speak horribly in front of crowds!!! Then off my cute models went to the songs of Kyary's "Ponponpon" and "Candy."

Mary N. and models! (You can see Tank in the left corner filming!)
Then I was on stage with them, a lot of applause, and so many cameras and video people! All of my models were so excited, even after we got off stage, even though I know almost all of them hadn't eaten and were starved! As the rest of the indie designers looks walked the runway, I got the chance to take photos and have photos taken, and talk to a few other models/designers back stage. (One of Kelsey's models was wearing a Dandy lolita look, Gretchen, and I got to talk with her and joke around a bit---there was not a person back stage who wasn't as sweet as could be!) At some point, I even lent another model my petticoat and hopped back in it right before our "finale" walk! I had so much fun at this show, it made up for all the other tribulations and ordeals!!

We even had enough time for Q & A with designers. : 3 One question, Kelsey even asked me to answer saying, "I think this question should be directed to Pop Princess, since she's a real indie brand" and in my head I was freaking out going, "Whatttttt I'm a REAL brand! A real brand?!?!"
If I was an anime character I would have had flowers and hearts dancing around my head!!!

That's me, & Jenn! I don't remember what question I was answering but it was a tough one! (Source:

 Thank you to everyone who had questions! And just everyone that made the fashion show happen!
In the future, I'll be posting the official Otakon Lolita Fashion Show video of the runway show as well as the Q and A! ^-^

In our next blog post: Otakon 2012, Saturday: My Day with Mary Mary Quite Contrary <3 and Tank
(Maybe even a video/documentary interview with me! ^-^)

Video of the Ultimate Lolita Fashion Show 1
Video of Fashion Show 2
Video of Fashion Show 3


Otakon 2012 & the Lolita Fashion Show: The Perilous Entry 1a.

I know a few of you are curious about my first ever Otakon 2012 convention experience, so I've been mulling over the past few days what I thought would be the most interesting to write! I know what you're thinking: it looks so effortless! That cute girlie designer just twirled down the runway after her sugary sweet models and everything must have gone just swimmingly, because the show was awesome! And a fairy god princess came out and made everything perfect, and sparkly! Right, right?

...Why yes, dear reader, you are so.... wait a minute, that's not how it happened it all! : o

A Step Back in Time...

When I first found out that I had been accepted into my first ever all lolita fashion show, I was over the moon with excitement! (Before I even applied, I remember being so nervous and messaging one of my best friend's being like, "Should I even apply to this?! Am I good enough?!" And of course that person was like, ">.< Yes, yes, yes! GO FOR IT, silly girl!!!" Thanks, Emi!) Up until now, my education had led me to believe that ready to wear was the only way to go in life even though despite their best efforts, my over the top frilly cuteness ended up taking over my graduating senior collection this past spring. This was my time to let all that reigned in cuteness just explode into a shower of decadence and sweetness on my designs!

Luckily, I had been working on 2 designs (now known as Strawberry Kitty OP/Pink Bunny Tea Party) while I had been on a little vacation... who takes a vacation to keep sewing?... me. But neither were done, they were still in pieces... literally. And I had already made 2 other designs, the skirt and Pony OP, that I wanted to use for the show. I had 4 weeks to complete.

So I knew I had one heck of a to do list! It went something like this:

*Strawberry Kitty:
-finish construction, chiffon neckline, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, decorate
-waist bow: pattern, cut out, construction, top stitch, button holes, buttons
-make matching head bow: pattern, construction, interfacing, stitching, put together, attach to head bow, bead

*Pink Bunny Tea Party: 
-finish construction, chiffon ruffle, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, bead, decorate
-Creme Ruffle Blouse: pattern, cut out, ruffle, french all seams, top stitch, insert ruffle, collar, interfacing, bow, button hole, buttons, hem
-matching bonnet
-matching head bow: pattern, construction, interfacing, stitching, put together, attach to head bow, bead

 *Black Bunny Tea Party:
-pattern, cut out, start construction, finish construction, chiffon ruffle, top stitch, zipper, lining, make casings, insert elastic, sew, hem, finish insides, bead, ribbon bows, bow patterns/cut chiffon/sew/attach/bead
-Black Ruffle Blouse: pattern, cut out, ruffle, french all seams, top stitch, insert ruffle, make collar pattern/cut/sew/interface/insert ruffle, interfacing, bow, button hole, buttons, hem

*Creme Knit Blouse for Rose Garden Skirt 
-drape bodice pattern, make puff sleeve pattern, french all seams, construction, ruffle, insert, top stitch, bias bind neckline, hem, top stitch, insert sleeve elastic, add ribbon bows
-make Victorian sugary spoon necklace: fuwa fuwa whip cream, deco sauce, decorate, make chain

*Make my own dress??? D : 

Everything was going swimmingly for the show, with a few ups and downs and panicking in between, and the occasional not believing in myself and being super stressed. I was making good progress, and really pushing myself. Until I got down to week before the last week.... I got super super sick---I mean couldn't get out of bed for a week, down with a really nasty flu kind of sick, the kind where you sleep for basically the entire time. I had a yucky fever that just wouldn't quit. When I finally felt better, I tried sewing and working hard, but I actually made myself worse and had to stop. 

(Sac le bleu! you gasp. What will happen?!)

By the time I finally was okay, I got back to it with literally only 10 days to do: with a good chunk left on Pink Bunny Tea Party, Black Ruffle Blouse, Creme Ruffle Blouse, Creme Knit Blouse, 2 head bows, AND make myself a dress. (They turned out okay, huh?) AND SOMEHOW IT ALL HAPPENED! Seriously, I don't know how I made it... but I did. D :

Traveling Day, Thursday 26th: One Day Before the Show...

I had somehow managed to survive the week, sickness pending, and had headed off the airport with my sweet little kitty, Cookie, in tow. She was staying at my mom's while I was away for the weekend as I had two suitcases already: one full of runway clothing/accessories and one just for me. I was feeling pretty good.... right about until it started into a torrential downpour. My 7:55 pm flight from the airport to Baltimore was delayed until 10:00 pm, and the weather didn't seem to be letting up. I went at around 9 to be appropriately on time and be able to check bags, etc, saying good bye to my sad eyed kitty but hello to what was sure to be a fun weekend. The flight got delayed AGAIN, this time due to a mechanical error. This time until 11:10... when they finally did let us on the plane, we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes. After waiting for my bags in BWI, I got home around 2 am and I eventually went to sleep with a bright an early wake up call for the morning.....

Friday 27th: Day of The Show/Photo Shoot... The Ordeal, aka. Dante's 5th Circle of Hell

I had a lot to do the day of the show. I had about 8 garments/pieces to garments that needed to be completely steamed, ironed, and re-starched before 4:30 that day when I had planned on picking up all my models for a photo shoot in our studio before the show. I even cleaned, tidied up, and my boyfriend drove out to buy them cute macaroons and tarts, and cupcakes for treats! But we still had one problem: badges. I had made sure to pre-register, as I had done at many a con before, and normally I've always just walked in, waited in a short line, picked up, and walked out. How hard could that be? I would be out an hour, tops, and back to iron and starch in no time. Right??

Wrong. How wrong? More incorrect then I have ever been in my life.

Otakon was so disorganized and unprepared that when we got their a little after noon, there was line of both registration and pre-registration all packed in to one. A line that wrapped around 5 times, at least 2 or so miles long, that went all the way back to a completely different hotel. That's not so bad right? No, no... it was worse. They had everyone standing outside. On a 96+ degree day, in the sun, with humidity. All entrances are blocked off with security.

I didn't want to panic. I knew I had a very limited window of time to prepare for both the photo shoot and show. I hadn't learned my speech yet, or prepared my dress/hair/make up/outfit, but I knew as long as we got back by 3 pm I could still do it. It would be a rush. But it was doable.

Hour one passed. Still trying to keep in good spirits. Hour and half passed, starting to get sun burnt and dehydrated, plus there was kid behind us with a bike horn. He had been squeaking it for that entire time. We've moved maybe 20 yards. Find out the registration machines have gone down. I was so hungry and dehydrated, sweating and  not even in full costume. Staff members walk by. They promise to split the lines from pre reg/and reg and bring us water. They never return. I'm starting not to feel well.

Hour two. We've gotten to a corner of a building but can still see the Hyatt Hotel behind us. At this point the kid with the bike horn is still going, except now they are singing at the top their lungs as a group, off key and as loud as possible.... this continues for 30 minutes. They start quoting anime verbatim in unison, as loud as possible. Tensions are high. People are getting irritated. I've really started to turn red at this point. Street vendors have finally come, pushing shopping carts full of water bottles for a dollar.

Hour 2 1/2. We made into a little shady part at least, next to part of the convention center. We're in the last stretch. A girl ahead of us in line starts vomiting on the sidewalk. She passes out. It takes Otakon staff 15 minutes to come to her aide, and help her inside. She kept saying she didn't want to go, she would lose her spot in line, and she had waited all that time. They take her in. At this point, I am very mad, and I have a very, very good patience. People are getting sick from the sun/heat and staff isn't helping.The line has stopped. No one wants to walk near the vomit. I cross the street, and just move up to where the end of the other line is, while the others linger behind.

Hour 3 1/2. People are getting hostile. We finally make it to where we can see the convention entrance. The man at the door is only letting in a certain amount of people inside at a time. He counts them, one by one, and says stop. We finally get in. No line. Nothing. We walk up the stairs, get into pre-reg. A few people in front of us are cursing and swearing. 5 minutes. Tops. We get our badges and are out in a matter of minutes.

4:30 pm : When we finally got back to the house, I was burnt red and felt physically ill. I canceled the photo shoot with my girls. Drank a lot of water, finally ate, lay down for 30 minutes.

I spent until 6:15 ironing, pressing, starching, preparing, dressing, etc, to meet my models at 7:00. Due to traffic (an Orioles game) I ended up walking back a mile to the convention center, with all my garments. I was late, and we had to rush to get changed and dressed in the convention center. We had to be there at 8 pm, show started at 8:30.

....Read more at The Happy Entry 1b!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pop Princess @ Otakon 2012 Lolita Fashion Show/Collection Photos

I am finally back from a whirlwind trip out in Baltimore, Maryland to attend and participate in the Otakon 2012 Lolita Fashion Show! I know how excited all of you have been to see some of the new collection pieces, especially the ones on the runway. So for those of you who were not able to attend, I wanted to give you a visual crash course of the runway show! : 3

Let me know which pieces/designs are your favorites, and what you'd like to see more of! ^-^ <3 With that being said, all of these can be found for sale at Pop Princess! If you see something you like but it's not in your size, I will be happy to do custom orders. <3

Keep an eye out for Pop Princess' interview with Mary Nine/tank9 as well as more runway video footage in the future! <3 Until then here is one video to watch: 

*Credits: Yenra Photography & Rich Lee
*Models: Mary N., Amy L., Sarah A. Jennifer B., Angelica T.

Newest Dress Detail Photos: 

Black Bunny Tea Party OP (w/o Chiffon Ruffle Blouse)

Pink Bunny Tea Party OP (w/o Silky Creme Ruffle Bow Tie Blouse)

Strawberry Kitty OP


 *All designs belong to and are copyrighted by Pop Princess/Annika Simmons

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