Saturday, September 9, 2017

Harajuku Fashion Is Alive: Thoughts On the Closing of Kera and Gothic Lolita Bible

When Gothic Lolita Bible (GLB) stopped publication several months ago and Kera went to digital only, the online lolita space went reeling with remorse. Cathy Cat made a particularly emotional response video. Many felt that with the death of the magazines came the death of Harajuku fashion especially after FRUiTS had already stopped publication earlier in the year after February 2017. However, plenty of signs of life still exist within the space. All hope is not lost as we'll discuss below.

Kera had been in publication since 1998 and GLB since 2001. In the years since the magazines began, Japanese fashion has continued to shift onward as explained by Tokyo Fashion in Japanese Street Fashion 2017 — 15 Things You Need To Know. As is natural amongst youth especially in the digital age, the trends are a constantly shifting landscape. Lolita has continued to gain in popularity overseas but died down in Japan according to sources such as Misako Aoki with the fashion becoming "buy in Japan, wear outside Japan" according to the article Where have all the lolitas gone? As such, it's not surprising for relics from that era to fade away along with the trends they accompanied.

Additionally, as the lolita population ages even overseas, it leans less towards OTT fashion suitable only for tea parties and instead toward more everyday wearable casual lolita and otome. Lolita dresses are being worn in an otome way and clothes from brands like Emily Temple Cute, Jane Marple and Leur Getter have increased in popularity.
The continual march away from print media to digital is also likely a huge factor in the magazine closures. With influencers like Risa and Kurebayashi are continually creating great fashion content for free online, the need for physical magazines has faded away. People no longer need to physically gather in spots like Harajuku but can instead have a fulfilling relationship with an online community via their Instagram feed. Selfies and mirror shots are easy and able to reach far which is a further cause for the death of magazines featuring street snaps. For the overseas audiences in particular, the accessibility to more easily translated digital resources along with the lack of hassle to order these magazines with shipping costs almost the same as the magazine itself is another factor pushing towards digital media as the primary method of communication.

Finally, magazines are rising to replace the fallen publications already. Melt is a new magazine which released it's first issue with a BtSSB pouchette. Publications like Larme and Spoon also continue onward which also tend to focus on more recent Japanese fashion trends.

What do you think about the above publications closing, and do you think the magazines closing indicates that j-fashion is dying? Please let me know by commenting below.


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