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13 June, 2021

Lolita fashion is fun, empowering

INDIVIDUALITY. Fun. Empowerment.


Taylah Shearman identifies with all of these things - and it is what she loves in others, as well

So, when she carefully curated her very first Lolita ensemble and stepped out for the world to see, it was those three powerful notions which motivated her.

"The first time I went out in Lolita Fashion was last year around September," Taylah said.

"I wore a sunflower themed look, as my hometown is Emerald, so I thought, 'why not represent'.

"The confused stares I got was a lot, and to be expected.

"It is a small city, and it's a style that I've never seen anyone else in this town wear before."

Taylah best describes the Lolita trend on her social media:

"Lolita fashion is a subculture from Japan that is highly influenced by Victorian clothing and styles from the Rococo period.

"A very distinctive property of Lolita fashion is the aesthetic of cuteness. This clothing subculture can be categorized into three main substyles: 'gothic', 'classic', and 'sweet'."

At 23, Taylah is an avid Cosplayer – having experienced her first Cosplay convention in 20214 with her father. She also grew up watching movies like "Marie Antoinette" with her mother – and both had an incredible influence on the young woman she is today.

"I remember falling in love with the style of clothing.

"The elegance of the dresses and just the way they all looked and seemed to feel like princesses no matter what age they were.

"Eventually in time this fashion was reinterpreted and inspired to create Lolita Fashion.

"I also love that the style is a bit different from the normal everyday wear and I've come to find comfort in that. I've never really fit in with society mentally or physically as I was bullied a lot for my differences."

By far the biggest hurdle Taylah has overcome in her decision to embrace Lolita style, is the harassment, rude stares and blatant nastiness she has endured.

"I’ve worn the style out twice and I’m honestly disgusted at the way I’m treated. People cat call, beep their horns at me, ask me if I’m bo peep and just down right glare at me.

"I think anyone should be allowed to wear what they want (as long as you’re not naked or something) in public.

"I feel it should be accepted as another form of alternative fashion such as gothic or pastel. We should be empowering each other for our differences and not being rude to things we don’t understand."

It was a battle which became an internal one for Taylah.

"I did struggle with the anxiety of wearing Lolita for a long time, and still do, to this day, as I am not one to want to stand out among the crowd in my everyday life.

"One day, however, I decided that I didn't want to dress how I was expected to and tried to stop following what everyone else wanted me to be and dress how I like.

"Of course, I understand that in certain situations this fashion cannot be worn, if you're a boilermaker or retail person, it is just not practical – and it would definitely get in the way!

"I wear Lolita Fashion every now and again but it is becoming more frequent as I build confidence in myself."

"I tend to overthink and assume the worst. But I feel Lolita Fashion has really helped me lower the anxiety a bit and open my eyes that people can think what they want, I can't control that, what matters is that I am comfortable and not hurting anyone."

It's something all too many people can relate to, especially if they decide to embrace who they really are and be true to themselves!

Taylah keeps herself busy as it is, with her love of Cosplay, alternative fashion, art, golf, and photography – and these days she is also actively nurturing a new local community – linking through social media – for others who share her Lolita passion.

"There's not a lot of us, we didn't have many people at the last meet we had, but I love seeing people around town with different fashion styles and I would love to get all of us together.

"We have an active Facebook group and my hope is that this will help people feel more comfortable, because maybe (and a big maybe as I can't assume others) there are people in our community who are not comfortable wearing alternative fashion in public due to harassment from others, or fear of unwanted stares and attention."

When it comes to those three words: Individuality, fun and empowerment, Taylah brings it in spades!

And it is something she wants to share around.

That, to her, is what community should be built on.

She's right.


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