Imagine a woman aged late teens or early twenties wearing frilly dresses, delicate head accessories with big ribbons, blouses and poufy tulle slips with knee-level socks. This child-like kind of styling does have a name; Lolita.
Lolita fashion is one of the subcultures of the street fashion in Japan, which undoubtedly has taken some part of the world by its own unique and rare style of dressing. This maiden inspired clothing surprisingly has a lot of stories to tell.
Have you ever wonder how this style of fashion could actually gain such popularity, including in our country; Malaysia? Are all these fashion matters only?
Unfortunately, no. It is more than just a fashion.
In the 1970s, the people of Japan faced bitter defeat on Ampo demonstrations, a fight on Japan-US security treaty. Due to this destabilisation of society, rapid commercialization and a form of rigid social system, a rebellious movement was made by a group of youth, suprisingly in the form of fashion.
Lolita fashion has been a medium of expression on how they wish to live forever in their childhood that they have always been dreaming of and an escape out of the arduous adulthood. This is because, Japan is well known for its autocratic social structure and high expectation on younger generations, especially young women. Meanwhile, Japan adulthood is a period of burdensome family, career and societal obligations.
To compensate Japan’s rigidly brutal society, cuteness has become a form of cultural antidepressant. No one could ever resist cuteness and all human beings will act positively when they see cute things. That’s the human nature. It just makes the people feel wonderful whenever they are connected to the concept of cuteness.
Therefore, Lolita fashion was born out of this desirement. Japanese women was well known of their big roles in shaping Japan’s future generations and their life is fully devoted to the family. And these cute, sweet, and innocent like fashion has become the Prozac of young Japanese women who want to partake in childhood simplicity and warmth, thus ignoring the bitter truth of the life instead.
“Kawai” means cute in Japanese and the “kawai craze” began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the same time Lolita fashion emerged into the society.
Lolita fashion is not only about obsession towards childhood, but it is a longing for a childhood period that they never had. During late 1960s, the rising Japan’s economy as well as Ampo demonstration brought to a social despondency and at the same time their media was flooded by the western culture. The misery happened to be relieved by idolizing the neo-romantic of Victorian and Rococon styles. They delusionally created a fantasy world as a way to be happy and out of this weighty situations.
Lolita fashion is more than just a fashion. It is a practise of the childhood life. They dress cutely like a child, form cute-girls grousp, organize meet-ups, and dream like Alice in wonderland. Lifeless life, indeed. It is quite clear why Lolita fashion become apparent in the Japan. How about if it appears in the norm of a Muslim life? Is exaggerated form of dressing accepted in the Muslim community?
Earlier this year, ‘hijabi’ lolitas has taken the Muslim fashion industry by shock and amusement. Many critics and praises has been recorded. Islamic teaching has clearly define the laws on how a Muslim women should dress, to preserve their dignity and modesty. The Islamic guideline is an act of honouring women. The question is, why are Muslim youths easily absorbed into this culture that was born as an expression of exhaustion of this worldly life?
Well, here is the answer; it is the failure to fill the right thing in the empty space of their heart. It is the psyche of the youth to explore and try out bizarre things to feel complete and ‘alive’. It is a form of rebelliousness.
It is understandable that sometimes, youths do slip and stumble while searching for the right path of life. Surely, we do find happiness in cute things, but youths should know for a fact that the real and absolute happiness is only in the relationship of the human being with their Only God. The solution lies in the Holy Quran and as-Sunnah. This world is created by The Almighty as a place of nurturing life in hereafter. And the world would never satisfy human’s need, ever! It is indeed only Allah the Beneficent complete our needs, now and forever.