Posts Tagged: ‘gothic lolita’

Exploring Seoul’s Hello Kitty Cafe and Comic World

June 23, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

fdThere are so many wonderful and breathtaking things to explore in Aeoul, but I’ve realized that while traveling in general, one should never set their expectations too high. As someone who’ll soon be able to say that she’s visited all of the countries she’s dreamt of seeing since she was a child (Korea being one, Japan the other) I’m working on perfecting this whole “reasonable expectations” thing. I bring this up because I have accounts to share about my two recent adventures–to the Hello Kitty Cafe and to Seoul Comic World. Some aspects of my adventures were surprisingly amazing, while others, not so much. Let me elaborate ^^

HELLO KITTY’S PINK-HUED PANDEMONIUM

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The Hello Kitty  Cafe is a cotton candy-hued building nestled away in a hilly side street in Hongdae. I’ve been there twice–on a Saturday and Sunday–and as one might expect, the experience varied drastically depending on the day. It’s a sought after destination for tourists and kawaii girls no matter what day, but if you show up on a Saturday, anticipate that it could be a madhouse.

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GOTHPUNK Shop, Searching for Goths in Seoul, and Experiencing Gwiyomi

May 19, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

When it comes to underground subcultures, there are a couple of things you may not have known about South Korea. Earnest, unironic ska music is alive and well (no really, it is), they have a unified hardcore scene, a small but incredibly alive and welcoming punk scene, but their goth scene is uh…kind of in the dark.

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That being said, I was incredibly excited to recently find the dark clothing and accessory shop, GothPunk, located in Hongdae, Seoul. It’s a small but well-stocked shop full of goth import items from popular brands such as Kreepsville 666, Alchemy Gothic, Vivienne Westwood, Anna Sui, 6% doki doki, and h. Naoto, just to name a few. A goth clothing store is an incredibly unique find in South Korea. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Korean people who have even heard the term “goth” before, and when I asked about local goth parties or meetups, D’arc, the owner of GothPunk laughed before he uttered the devastating words, “I think goth in Korea is done.”

DSC_0935As Tak and I talked further, I started to get the impression that goth wasn’t so much “done” in Korea, as much as it’s lying dormant, due to a recession. GothPunk used to share the streets of Hongdae with another goth shop, Beetlejuice, but that storefront has recently closed its doors. Tak explained that he felt like traditional goth was over, but that’s not to say a new incarnation of the subculture may not reemerge. (more…)

5 Brands to Get on Your Radar in 2014

January 29, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

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We haven’t even made it more than a month into 2014, but I already have my list–my list of new and/or fast developing brands and designers I’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming year. In other words, here’s a look at who’ll be getting most of my money in 2014… This is going to be a year full of bold snapbacks, sophisticated casualwear, edgy otaku swag, and not to mention, some lolita sweetness. Take a look at five brands it’s time to get on your radar.

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Holiday Sparkle Photoset and Otaku Gifts From Jlist

December 17, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Holidays! First off, can I just start out with a tip for everyone? It’s a no brainer, really, but when you’re getting ready to travel, whether it be around the holidays or not, by all means make a list. And even after you do make a list of everything you need, go back and make sure you indeed did pack what you thought, and your eyes did not deceive you.

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I bring this up because I’ll go right ahead and admit that this photoset was supposed to look different. No major issue–I’m happy with the end result, but I did this shoot over the Thanksgiving holiday, and as I packed the outfit I put together right before traveling, not only did I forget a piece of it, I grabbed the wrong wig as well (“major fail” I hear you thinking to yourself). Apparently I’m partially colorblind, and think a purple wig is a blue wig, or else my apartment has worse lighting than I realize. Either way, lesson learned, figured I’d pass that painfully obvious yet crucial advice to double check your luggage (I see you rolling your eyes, thinking “well DUH”).

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The shoot ended up a bit more cutesy Lolita than expected, but hey, I rolled with it.

The wig is from Gothic Lolita Wigs, the dress is vintage, and the hairbow is from Rakuen. The shrug is offbrand, my apron is handmade, and “Maybelline Color Show Nail Falsies” (seemingly no longer available, according to Maybelline’s site) allowed me to pretend I had lovely nails for the day. (more…)

Interview with La Carmina: Travel Host, Fashion Blogger, Mermaid-Haired Goth Globetrotter

November 14, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

SONY DSCAnthony Bourdain may be considered the punk rock rebel of travel hosting, but he’s certainly not alone, and it’s safe to say he has some stiff competition. Has Bourdain ever encountered aliens at a Tokyo fetish club, posed with Lolitas in Austria, or explored lip sewing body modification in Vancouver? No…not quite, but let me introduce you to someone who has…

Meet La Carmina–a gothic globetrotter with her finger on the pulse of all things dark and alternative. She blogs, hosts travel shows, writes books, and goes on countless underground adventures across the world. And while La devotes herself to a career that is unconventional, and not to mention, often unpredictable, she originally dedicated herself to a far more structured path–attending Yale Law School.

So how exactly does one make the leap from the world of law to a world of fetish bars, exotic restaurants, and international goth clubbing? And what are some of the obstacles to be faced and points to consider when making such an unexpected life transition? Here’s what La had to say about it all.

Gothic Style Blogger, La Carmina

FV: As your fans see on your website and TV appearances, these days you travel the world–from Tokyo to Budapest–highlighting underground culture and chronicling your unique travel experiences, but ultimately, it all began with your blog. If you were to go back to 2007, when you first started your blog, did you ever imagine that this was the direction your life was heading? What you did envision for your future?

La: Never in a million years. In 2007, very few people had blogs, and the social network landscape was very different (remember Myspace’s dominance?). With a few early exceptions, there was no precedent for blogging being a path to something larger, such as doing books, TV and worldwide travel. Because of this, I had no expectations when I started — but I quickly found that I truly enjoyed blogging. (And not everyone does.) To this day, I get excited to create new posts and share my passion for alt fashion and culture. At the time, I hoped I would eventually find a creative career where I was my own boss, but I didn’t think blogging would be the key to opening so many doors.

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Photo Set: Creepy Kids and Cereal Killers

October 31, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Halloweeeeen, friends! ^_^

Monster Cereal hits the stores but once a year and what better way to celebrate the arrival of this seasonal spooky goodness then with a photo set? To tell you the truth I only tried three of the cereals (I recommend Yummy Mummy). I’m actually not supposed to eat cereal, nevermind sugar, but I like the idea of Monster Cereal so…

Here’s some costumed fun for the holiday with a bit of behind-the-scenes anecdotes throughout:

Killer Gothic Lolita: The entire time those pictures were being taken, my grandmother was standing off to the side  (odd timing for a visit) repeatedly asking “What are you doing? It’s not Halloween, I don’t understand, why are you doing this?” Sometimes the best response is to pause then just say “the Internet.”

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Photographer: Carlos Phillips Images //Model: Riss

Ultimate Fruit Brute

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Model: Markus AD (more…)

Halloween for Everyone! Recommendations for Every Costuming Type

October 17, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy October, everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying Fall and that your Halloween preparations are well under way. To tell you the truth, I haven’t really been taking as much time as usual to really soak in the season. Maybe it’s because this month has been so busy for me–every weekend I’m out of town, most weekdays I’m running around setting up shoots for my special Halloween photoset (more about that later). Or maybe it’s because I can’t eat candy, or because making costumes is no longer a grand, once-a-year type of thing in my life. Whatever it is, I hope to get in the spirit this weekend when I take in the beautiful sites of the country, visit a notable haunted house attraction (Easter State Penitentiary in Philly), and hopefully eat lots of pumpkin stuff. That should do it, right? Maybe? I hope?

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Now let’s talk the serious stuff of the season–costumes. If you haven’t chosen your costume yet, what are you doing and how can you be so casual? If you’re still debating, let me give you a couple of recommendations, hopefully help to guide you in the right direction. But first and foremost, before I throw a bunch of shops and websites at you, let’s break it down a bit. What’s your costuming type? Are you…

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Lying to Myself, Finding True Love, And Getting Older and Weirder

September 18, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

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A lot of people tell you to follow your passion and pursue the things you love. But what if you can’t actually figure out what the heck that is?

I pondered that question a couple months ago while searching for pictures of “bad” prom dresses for a Dos and Don’ts of Prom article I was assigned to write while interning for a stylist in NY (ooh, doesn’t that sound all fancy?). When the article was done I went back and removed my name from the byline, preferring it just be credited to some enigmatic ghost blogger, as opposed to me. I’m the girl who’s supposed to be the almighty cheerleader of alternative fashion, and firmly believes that fashion “don’ts” dont actually exist. Afterward I pushed my computer aside and took a moment to ask myself What are you doing? Like seriously, what are you doing?

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Strange and Sunshiney Days

August 18, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Have you ever seen the video for the cover of “Strange Little Girl” Tori Amos did back around 2001? It’ll always remain one of my favorite videos for its creepy beauty and dark ambiance, and it’s forever creeping into my subconscious. Although altogether difference in terms of atmosphere and tone, there’s a part of me that thinks that that video was somewhere in the back of my mind when we put things together for this shoot.

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I held on to these images for a while. It was my first shoot with a new Nikon and without even a day to toy around with it ahead of time, I failed to realize my camera settings were out of wack, and so I was a little bummed out about the image quality. That aside, I do think some of the images came out pretty nice nonetheless, and my model, Bianca Di Paolo, did a lovely job prancing about with a bundle of balloons amidst the rubble on a windy day. And ain’t that the cutest damn pixie cut you’ve ever seen?

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Bloody Burlesque and Twilight Lullabies

August 1, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

I haven’t been updating enough lately, I know. I’m gearing up for a move  so I’ve been spending the last few weeks doing fun things like sorting through all my crap, finding good homes for my unwanted stuff (I needed to make sure my tutus and spiked bras found homes with fabulous people), and trying to consolidate my large costume and prop collection so it can be moved with little to no hassle.

Those boring details aside, I have been up to other stuff. One of the things I’ve been doing, besides not updating the blog, is practicing with the band Astorian Stigmata, since I signed on as their live show keyboardist a couple of months back. You’ve seen the dudes before–they pop up in a lot of posts and photoshoots, so you might already be familiar with the fact that their general aesthetic is sort of like…dark Neo-Victorian gone mad…or maybe romantic goth meets visual kei. Either way, when they asked me to be part of a lyric video for their song “Twilight Lullaby” I rolled with those general ideas. I had just a day to put an outfit together so I blasted some Emilie Autumn, gathered every bit of black, red, and tattered fabric I could find, and got to work.

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These are casual outfit shots we took prior to filming, as opposed to a preplanned thematic photo set, but I think there is a cool, kind of chaotic quality to them [Photos by Dennis Condusta]. The outfit somewhat resembles what I wore for this previous shoot, but way more amped up and crazed.
The hat comes from FanplusFriend Garden, the corset Heavy Red, and the boots Dr. Martens. The wig comes from my go-to shop, Gothic Lolita Wigs, the gloves are from Hot Topic, and the lipstick is Lime Crime.

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