If you’re into frills, gossip, drama and unholily expensive cupcake dresses, you definitely need some ScarfingScarves in your life. Her weekly YouTube format Last Week Lolita News started out as a frilly parody of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but quickly turned into its own equivalent of said show for the EGL community.
Now you may ask: I get Elvira. I get Christine McConnell. I even get your take on Dracula adaptations, but doing a piece on Felicia Day was a bit of a stretch for a blog called “The Cauldron of Dark Pixels”. You should be reviewing spooky stuff, where’s the spooks in here? Well, folks, this blog isn’t just about these things. It’s also about people who walk the path of the (cue ominous music) strange and unusual, acting as role models for people who may be themselves (cue thunder and lightning) strange and unusual.
Alright, I’ll stop with the Lydia Deetz quote now, I swear.
Tyler started out with giving lessons on goth etiquette before moving on to a much frillier, pinker, yet equally drama-filled subculture: The EGL community.
A Crash Course in EGL
For everyone not familiar with the EGL community, or J-fashion in general, Here’s a VERY BRIEF and VERY SIMPLE overview on what the Elegant Gothic Lolita community is. The misconceptions around the fashion derive from the unfortunate name given to the style by Mana, who coined the term Elegant Gothic Lolita to give a name to his dark twist on a fashion that had existed in Japan since the 70’s. Combining a princessy style made up from layers and layers of frills with a dash of “haunted doll” meets Victorian mourning attire gave rise to the first style openly recognized as lolita – gothic lolita. A subculture had been born, revolving around elegance, femininity, opulence and distinctively non-sexualized clothing. Lolita conquered the streets of Tokyo as a style that allowed girls to express their longing for simplicity and dressing up for themselves instead for the gaze of men. From there, the fashion branched out into a diverse range of substyles:
- Sweet lolita, formerly THE most popular substyle in the fashion, being all pastels, cake and unicorn prints – the absolute epitomy of a candy-covered fairytale princess. In recent years, it has been pushed off the throne by
- Classic lolita, a more demure and elegant, ladylike substyle focusing on elegant cuts, rose prints and more or less historically accurate accessories. The most “Victorian” and least extreme of the substyles.
- and the eponymous gothic lolita, featuring everything from the gothic to the macabre, from poofy velvet gowns to nun-inspired dresses, but always leaning towards the darker side of things.
These three make up the main substyles of the fashion, branching out into more obscure styles (whose existence, aside from mere concepts is still up for debate within the community itself – such as punk, guro, ero and others.)
Tea, salt and misconceptions
One thing needs to be clarified about the fashion: aside from being a source of comfort for the one wearing it, it is, first and foremost, about elegance, detail and most importantly, quality.
I’ve worn full-time gothic and classic lolita in college, then had to tone it down afterwards. I’ve owned most of my dream dresses (most of which being velvet, which made summer into a challenge), parted with many of them and am now in a process of rebuilding my wardrobe into something more versatile and practical, as I’m turning 30 this year. Most lolitas are in their early to mid-20’s and come from educated middle-class homes. I’ve had my fair share of bad coordinates, being verbally abused on the street for sticking out like the dramatic ginger cupcake I was, and owning dream dresses that gathered dust in my wardrobe because I was to afraid to possibly ruin them at meetups.
My experiences with the communities I met have been pleasant and positive, and I can attest to none of the internal drama going down in online communities such as Rufflechat (is CGL still a thing? I’m a little behind on those things, and still miss the good old LiveJournal days of lovingly-photographed wardrobe posts, sizing discussions and dress reviews). Tyler’s content is a way for me to stay up to date with what’s going on in the community, and while I’m not a Sweet Lolita per se, but enjoy Tyler’s unbridled love for her Angelic Pretty dresses nonetheless.
Fashion vs. Fetishization
And one part that has always been a problem (and will probably continue being so until we all live in COVID-19 bunkers thinking of the good old days when Lacemarket was still up and running) is the misrepresentation and fetishization of the fashion, which she furiously and saltily condemns with pretty much every single video, so that even the thickest buffoon out there might realize that the fashion isn’t related to age-play – or worse.
I’ve had creeps join meetups when the ruffly gang met up to have a refined cup of tea and macaroons in a cute cafe, obviously thinking that since we dressed up in frilly, unrevealing clothes, our meetup was a sort of self-service buffet for lonely guys.
Tyler covers these topics and misconceptions with a fervently anger-driven bouts of analysis, in mind-bending sentences full of puns and more salt than you could hurl a cup of tea at. The salty queen of ruffles offers advice to newbies, dedicates long Q&A sessions on educating people on the fashion and is, in short, a delight to watch, switching from angry to kind and gentle whenever she is not covering social media drama. Watching Tyler has a cathartic sort of effect on her viewers, and the frilly goodness that is her channel, along with her obvious love for the fashion, makes the salt not just palatable, but thoroughly enjoyable.
Even if you’re not into alternative fashion, Last Week Lolita News is a format that lets you at the craziness of the digital world without losing your mind over it – Tyler’s already doing that for you. And for that, I’ll happily tune in next week, when she answers the tough questions like:
Why are we still reading this?
And when will this madness end?