On the first Saturday of December and June, lolita fashion fans all over the world celebrate International Lolita Day (ILD). Lolitas mark the day with local community meets, tea parties, and gatherings between friends. If you’re a new lolita and haven’t connected with your local community, wearing your frills on ILD is a great way to find EGL fashion “in the wild.”
Given lolita fashion’s emphasis on history, what’s the history of International Lolita Day? As with many things in the Western lolita community, it started on Livejournal.
“National GothLoli Day”
On July 6, 2005, Livejournal user “kittyhot” wrote in EGL (one of the largest boards dedicated to lolita fashion at the time), “WELL, the other night this idea randomly popped into my head…I thought it would be funny if we had national EGL/Gothloli day”. (In the mid 2000s, it was common for English speaking lolitas to shorten the name to “loli” when talking about the fashion. This is not an abbreviation that is commonly used because that word is used for a genre of sexually explicit material.) The comments are clearly enthusiastic, with other posters quickly suggesting two events per year, one in summer and one in winter.
On November 29, 2005, kittyhot posts in EGL again, reminding the community that the first International Lolita Fashion Day (aka “Loliday”) will take place on Saturday December 3. The poster notes that they want it to stick around, and give some suggestions for how to celebrate which include:
Dress up nice [in] loli/aristocrat/ouji
Go out with your friends (or alone) shopping, out to eat, to a party, or something
Takes pictures and share them and your experiences at [a yahoo group]
Within a year, posts indicate that local communities were planning events in both June and December. Lolitas used EGL to find each other in major cities and posted photos of the meets they held. And it truly is an international phenomena. There are posts about meets in the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States. (There’s also evidence that even a year after the first one was held, people weren’t quite sure what it was.)
An annual tradition
It’s amazing how much technology has changed in order to facilitate finding and organizing large scale meets. Between Facebook, Discord, and Tiktok, it’s pretty easy to connect with and coordinate meets with your local community. Today, the lolita community has largely moved away from Livejournal. But we’ve still held onto the traditions started there, like wardrobe posts in January and International Lolita Day.
I hope that you have a fantastic time celebrating this wild fashion with your community or just by yourself. Don’t have a local community to celebrate with? Check out my post from last year for ideas on how to celebrate if you don’t have anyone to party with.