Forever Lolita – by Brianne Barry
For a majority of New Yorkers fashion is the last thing brought to mind when they hear the term Lolita. Imported from Japan and gaining ground in New York City, Lolita is slowly becoming a style mainstay. Yanise Cabrera, 23, identifies as a Lolita and has found a community of like minded girls from the five boroughs. They celebrate their style with trips to the Japanese Cherry Blossom festival, tea parties, and sushi restaurants. Despite the growing popularity the New York City Lolitas are still faced with ridicule, confounded stares, questions and attention in public. The doll-like dresses and Lolita title also make some uneasy. But regardless of the reaction, Yanise Cabrera is proud to be a Lolita.
We’re there to see all the cherry blossoms and all the flowers blooming because it’s Spring. It’s beautiful out. Why not dress up and enjoy time outside. Be pretty with things that are pretty in the environment.
You start off with like a blouse.
The base of your outfit is basically like a jumper skirt.
What you wear underneath is a petticoat and that’s what gives it the bell shape, the kind of flare.
Either over the knees, or knee-high socks or ankle socks or tights,
and heels that match.
big old bows that you just slap on your head.
The reason why the fashion is called Lolita is because in Japan people tend to take like regular English words and turn it into their own kind of thing. I guess they saw Lolita as a thing, like it’s childlike, like a child, like a younger person.
There’s nothing sexual about this.
Everyone thought I was crazy. Why are you wearing this? I’m like because I can, why aren’t you wearing this? Don’t you want to feel special too? I do.
People just stare…like a train wreck. They just want to take pictures I guess to show everyone else, “look what I found in the city today.”
I do feel empowered while wearing Lolita because it feels like I know more things than you do. My mind has expanded and I can just—I know I can wear what I want and do what I want without any repercussions and having to deal with what you think about it.
I just have a really tough skin now because I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
Yanise Cabrera’s closet is the first thing that caught my eye when I entered her room. In a sea of plaster white walls her wardrobe sticks out like apastel crater bursting with lace and tule. Cabrera has been an avid follower of Lolita fashion for years. Her obsession started when she lived in Texas but it wasn’t until she moved to New York that she found at home.
Her and dozens of woman like her meet around the city to discuss fashion and enjoy Japanese styled events. As I walked through Cherry Blossom trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with the group of Lolitas I was astounded. Not only by the stuffed animal accessories, pink wigs and parasols but the reaction…