15 January 2016

Content Collective: Let's Get Back to Talking About Lolita

Back when I first started lolita, nearly everything was centered on EGL. While this certainly had its downsides, it also had one upside: it was easy to locate discussion about lolita. EGL's rules have always stated that posts must encourage discussion. This meant that introductions, posts showing off purchases, and coordinate posts were effectively banned. Obviously, this policy has some downsides- it seems kind of doofy to have a fashion community where people can't post a quick outfit snap- but it's also had some curious upsides.

Chief among these is the way that users worked within these restrictions to get creative and share discussion-worthy information about the fashion while sneaking in a stray coordinate snap or introduction. Instead of sharing coordinates, users would post detailed meetup reports with photos and rundowns of events. Rather than sharing a simple haul post, users would rate lucky packs' value or provide a detailed review of their new purchases. Introductions often wound up being attached to a question meant to spark discussion about lolita or solicit advice. In short, it wasn't just enough to show up and show off. Instead, all of the posts had to consider the community, and weigh whether their topic was worth sharing with lolitas all over the world.

Though I don't miss LiveJournal's broken interface, I do miss this element of the community on EGL. Now, most lolita blogs seem to solely focus on sharing their latest coordinates. When I went searching the internet for new lolita reading material the other day, I couldn't find a single blog that wasn't geared towards coordinate snaps or shop updates. While there's nothing wrong with showing off what you're wearing, it doesn't provide much in the way of discussion or information. The only thing you can talk about is the quality of the coordinate and the appearance of the person wearing it. Similarly, haul posts really only allow you to discuss the size of the haul owner's wardrobe, or her luck at snagging a rare item. With the majority of lolita content out there today, there's not really much to passionately debate.

I'm not trying to condemn these sorts of posts. Lots of people love making haul videos and coordinate posts, and many more people love to look at them (heck, I'm one of them!). But it's not the main way I like to interact with lolita. I love discussing the fashion and sharing opinions- even if I'm politely disagreeing with the poster. I like reading bloggers' views on the fashion's history, and reading reviews about small indie brands I've never even heard of. In short, I love posts that further and deepen my understanding of the fashion more than I like posts where cute girls post cute outfits. Even if I don't always comment, I walk away from my favorite blog posts with a changed view of the fashion I love. I can't help lamenting that there simply aren't more folks out there like this in the lolita blogosphere!

It's useless to sit around whining about a problem I'm not working to fix, so I've made a list of lolita blogging resolutions for 2016. In adopting these rules for myself, I hope that I will be able to help fill the void I currently see in the lolita blogging community! If you would like to, please feel free to join in with the Content Collective- I would love to read and promote other blogs with a similar focus on discussing lolita fashion!

At least 50% of my posts, in homage to the old EGL rule, should either encourage some kind of discussion, or provide some kind of new information to the community. 
Though I think this rule is a bit of a pain to apply to a very large community, I think it's a good rule of thumb when thinking about content I want to post. I want to avoid posting coordinates and hauls, and instead I would like to focus on posting things like:
-"How-to" posts
-Meetup reports
-Posts musing about lolita fashion or the associated community
And my posts don't have to be deep, either- I think it's important to have a little silliness in lolita fashion sometimes! 

I will try to post at least once a month.
There's no point in lamenting a lack of conversation when I'm not making an effort to contribute.

My posts containing written content will be at least 500 words long.
My posts should be longer than a photo caption, and should require a little bit of thought and effort on my part.

I will not endlessly post reviews of items in my closet.
After thinking about this list, I realized this would be an easy trap to fall into- so I don't want to give myself the chance! I will only post reviews when they provide some kind of new information to the community. Examples include:
-Reviewing a relatively new brand
-Showing what is in the current year's lucky packs
-Showing a sudden change in a brand's quality
-Showing how a brand's item holds up over time
-Comparing quality between brands

I tried to make these pretty simple and straightforward, but they are based on my personal preferences. Feel free to alter these, or adopt only the guidelines that suit you. If you don't have time to post every month, that's okay. If you don't have time to write a 5,000-word screed on the merits of raschel lace, it's okay to make a 500-word post about your favorite ways to coordinate a chiffon skirt!The main goal is to encourage other blogs to post topics that promote discussion- the specifics don't matter. If you would like to take this pledge with me, please let me know your blog's URL. I would love to feature some of the content you're working on!

And if you, like me, are looking for some light lolita-related reading, here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
Crimson Reflections
A Fistful of Yen
Lace A La Mode

25 November 2014

Negative Review: Phantom and the Maiden Grief Onepiece

Today, I have a lengthy review of the Grief OP from the indie brand The Phantom and The Maiden. I haven't updated in a while because I don't really dress up any more, but this post was way too long to put up on my Tumblr, so here it is!

This is going to be a long review thanks to my painfully difficult experience dealing with this company. It's very heavy on photos and caps because I don't want you to have to rely just on my opinions when the experience speaks for itself. Caps have been edited only to remove my personal identifying details (e.g. I removed the caps including my PP address and have edited my name out). Photos have been lightly adjusted to compensate for the poor lighting in my apartment.

If you want a quick rundown, though, here's a general summary of my experience. I ordered two custom-sized dresses for myself and a friend. We have drastically different measurements and requested very different sizing.

Timeliness of Order: 10/10
They stated it would take 4-6 weeks to make the dress, and shipping would take an additional two weeks. I received the dress almost exactly eight weeks after I placed my order (ordered 9/26 and received 11/20).

Customer Service: 2/10
They insulted me, refused to fix my numerous issues, and made numerous passive-aggressive posts to their Facebook about my issues. I was very polite in all my messages and tried to keep my requests very simple and reasonable. I only give them two points because they always responded to my messages within 24 hours, and because the designer was kind enough to ultimately offer a resolution.

Item Quality: 4/10 
The materials are low-quality and don't match the stock photos. The inner seams are wonky so the left shoulder of one of the dresses sticks straight up. The measurements are inaccurate.

Overall Score: 3/10