Fashion subcultures have always been dominated by visual media like movies and magazines. Now, there’s a growing collection of j-fashion creators who are creating audio media to talk about all kinds of fashion related topics. These talk shows include both podcasts and YouTube videos that don’t require you to stay glued to your screen to follow the conversation. I love having them on in the background while I’m driving or working on projects at home.
Podcasts are basically independent radio shows played over the internet. However, you will need an app to listen to them. But don’t worry! On Apple products, you probably already have the Podcast app installed. On Android products, you can use Google Podcasts. There are also a variety of other “podcatcher apps” that you can use to subscribe to your favorite podcast and download new episodes when they come out.
Host Kamilah and Hayden have been podcasting for approximately 4 years now. Both of them have experience in a variety of j-fashion substyles including gyaru, fairy-kei, lolita, and decora. Their episodes usually center around a specific topic and almost all of them feature an interview with people involved in the j-fashion world, including designers, models, influencers, bloggers, and more. The hosts also share their own experiences and adventures in j-fashion. For example, past guests include blogger Jadeisland, owners of physical j-fashion store Kei Collective Andrea, Stella, and Skylar, YouTuber Fluffy Kawai Jo, and music artists AfroShoujo and PiNKII. This podcast is a fantastic mix of the “everyday” successes and struggles of dressing in alternative fashion and deep looks into specific facets of the subcultures both hosts love.
Okei!!! has also recently launched their own website, complete with their archived episodes, blog posts, and a newsletter. While the website is in its early stage, it already has a host of resources for all kinds of j-fashion styles and their plan is to have guest writers for their blog. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on it in the coming months.
Host MarinaKei interviews j-fashion fans about their experiences in the fashion with a focus on the lived experiences of Black lolitas. These episodes can be more than an hour long, so make sure you’ve got some time to devote to this show. Personally, I’ve found that I can enjoy them best by breaking them into smaller chunks.
In the wake of ongoing protests over discrimination and violence against Black people in America, and ongoing discussions about diversity and representation in the j-fashion (and lolita in particular) community, Frill Talk is a specific effort to uplift underrepresented voices and create a space to talk about topics specific to Black lolitas. Guests share experiences that are fun and silly, but also voice frustrations and put forward concrete ways that their communities can change for the better.
Marina’s questions for each subject are the same, which makes for a rich contrast of the ways in which people wear and participate in j-fashion. So far, interview subjects have ranged from Marina’s community members, to designer Aria of Lilith et Adalia, to youtuber Kimbuucha. There’s a lot of variety!
Author Jasmine Shea Townsend hosts a fiction podcast featuring short stories with her original characters facing the highs and lows of wearing j-fashion in high school. Lyrabelle and her friends are charming, sassy, and totally fashionable as their deal with tea parties gone wrong, annoying boys, and school competitions. Each episode is approximately 20 minutes, perfect for a short dog walk or lunch break. I love j-fashion fiction, and its such a treat whenever a new episode drops.
You can find Lyrabelle Goes to Tea on Youtube and Podomatic, and you can find Jasmine on Instagram, Twitter, and her facebook page, Black Girls Belong in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. You can also find Jasmine’s published works at your favorite bookseller.
Most years over Memorial Day, the San Francisco Bay Area typically hosts Fanime Con, an anime convention with a j-fashion track. In 2020, COVID halted most in person conventions. Luckily, the j-fashion fans of the Bay Area were not deterred and put together a virtual j-fashion event over the weekend of Fanime. Now this group goes by the name Bay Area Kei, which has helped put on a variety of virtual j-fashion events.
Now, their media empire includes a biweekly j-fashion talk show with designers and brand owners from all over the United States. Past hosts have included Jessica/obsixwi and The Black Ribbon/Halley, who interview designers about their history with j-fashion and their brand. My favorite interview so far featured Halley interviewing Mossbadger (Jordana). Both of them have been in j-fashion for a while, and it was delightful to hear them reminisce about the early days of lolita in the western community. Also, it was delightful to listen to two designers talk shop about making j-fashion!
By day, Jenna is a legal professional living in Los Angeles, California. By night (and weekends), she is a frill wearing monster who loves Innocent World and lolita indie brands. When she isn’t taking mirror selfies of her coordinates, she enjoys reading comic books, playing board games, and snuggling with her pup, Lily. You can see her mirror selfies on her instagram @lovelylaceandlies and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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