If there was a prize for the most unlikely fashion mash-up, here’s a sure winner: conservative Muslim clothing + trendy “Lolita” fashion straight off the streets of Japan. This combo is real though, and thanks mainly to two pioneering Muslim “Lolitas,” it’s blowing up Japan’s Twitterverse (and by proxy, the world) right now.
(The Muslim Lolita look of California-based 25-year-old Alyssa Salazar, who runs a Tumblr called “The Hijabi Lolita.” Over the past two years she has amassed more than 10,000 followers on her blog. Credit: The Hijabi Lolita)
In case you’re unaware (as we were), the “Lolita” look is a subculture that at it’s most basic involves wearing Rococo- and Victorian-period style clothing and accessories to create a cute, cupcake-like outfit with a bell-shape. In contrast to what readers of Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel “Lolita” may imagine, there’s nothing overtly sexy about these elaborate outfits – the word instead refers to the cute and sometimes child-like style of the clothing. Here’s an excellent guide to the anatomy of a Lolita outfit.
(Lolita style is is costume-like and elaborate, but still covered-up enough to fully adhere to the religious principles of Islam. Credit: The Hijabi Muslim)
Lolita fashion, following classic Victorian guidelines, is quite buttoned-up: think high-necked long-sleeve blouses, high-knee socks, and headwear, with little skin showing. The trend surprisingly has a lot in common with traditional conservative Muslim clothing like the hijab, or headscarf, and loose, long-sleeved tops and pants or abayas, or cloaks.
You’d imagine the different styles exist in parallel universes, but they don’t – or at least, they don’t have to. Two Muslim fashion bloggers in particular, California-based Alyssa of the Hijabi Lolita (pictured above) and UK-based Noor of Edible Rainbows (pictured below), also known as “SugarNoor” have become the trend’s pioneers.
(Noor of Edible’s Rainbows’ take on Lolita style. The multi-layered and accessorized outfits are called “coords” (coordinates) among followers. Credit: Edible Rainbows)
Is it easy to carry off this style? Not always, Alyssa told Vice. “The creepiest thing a guy has said to me is, “Little Bo Peep, where’s your sheep?” But the Lolita community has has been very accepting of her, she goes on to state. A convert to Islam, she says, “I feel more welcomed into the Lolita community than in the Muslim community. They actually wanted to get to know me. They invite me to stuff, and they interact with me at those functions. I met my best friend through Lolita.”
(Alyssa’s “coord” for a Harajuku fashion walk. Credit: The Hijabi Lolita)
The very act of being a fashion blogger requires bravery, just to post photos daily for others to judge. Hopefully, bloggers pushing the boundaries like Alyssa and Noor will will help further diversity in the fashion world—a definite step in the right direction.
More from Yahoo Makers: