Bay Area Kei‘s latest event, J-Fashion University, was a change of pace from their usual events. Since it’s inception, Bay Area Kei was tried to host content beyond just “J-fashion 101” panels. As a result their events have been excellent for veterans of Japanese fashion. J-Fashion University focused on welcoming newcomers to fashions including lolita, decora, mori kei, cult party kei, dolly kei and more!
Bay Area Kei’s promotional shenanigans before and during the event were a joy to behold. Plentiful Pie wrote, filmed, and edited a fantastic infomercial which also played in between panels. It looks like it was plucked right off basic cable at 2 AM. Lest anyone forget their two days as the J-fashion University campus, students were encouraged to submit coordinate photos to the yearbook. Students were also awarded a diploma at the end of the week, which featured Halley’s forged signature. These absurd, wonderful details are part of what makes Bay Area Kei events so charming.
Discord and harmony
If you haven’t checked out the Bay Area Kei discord during an event, I highly recommend it. The community is encouraging and kind. Professors and students alike chatted throughout the event. Discord is also where the professor’s office hours were held. This allowed for actual voice chat to better address students’ questions in real life.
I’m learning about j-fashion – in my pajamas!
The event took place over September 4 and 5. Both days featured panels from community members about topics as broad as “Becoming a Decora Kid” to those as specific as “A Lesson on Lashes”. Unlike previous events, there was no vendor market place and no tea party. In place of a tea party, the professors held office hours to allow their students time to ask questions one on one.
Some of the panels were similar to those that Bay Area Kei had held before. Both Professor Mindy’s “Where to Buy Lolita Fashion and Accessories” and Professor Plentiful Pie’s “Posing Panel” were featured in previous events, but since they were live, both had new information and new delightful interactions with their students.
I’m also embarrassed to admit it, but the panel I was most in need of was Emma’s “A Lesson on Lashes”. I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to applying and wearing lashes, so I was hoping for some tricks. I definitely walked away with some ideas for my next attempt with fake lashes.
In terms of j-fashion, I wear almost exclusively lolita. It was interesting to listen to panels on other Japanese fashion. It’s always particularly gratifying to hear from people who are excited about the fashion their speaking of! Avina and Melancholiaah’s deep dive into Cult Party Kei and Dolly Kei really shined because of the professors’ clear love of those fashions.
Putting the “pro” in professor
The two most interest panels I attended were Professor Halley’s “So You Want To Start Your Own Clothing Brand” and Professor Emma’s “A Cursory Intro to Social Media Networks”. Both professors work as professionals in the field they were speaking on. It was no surprise that both of them had deep dives into their topics. Halley’s advice offered broad, practical advice for starting a clothing brand. This included advice about making patterns, making clothing at scale, and the financial realities of small business ownership. Halley also indicated that she hoped to offer more content like this on a platform like Patreon. Emma’s panel on social media assured students that their worth as a person wasn’t tied to their social media content’s reach. She also gave instruction on how to use different platforms most effectively.
I’m glad that Bay Area Kei events have featured so much advanced content. I also hope that events like J-fashion University can inform and excite people who might need a little push to step out their comfort zone.