By Chloe Sweet @_chloesweet
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Videographer / director: Tom Bateman
Producer: Chloe Sweet, Ruby Coote
Editor: Beth Angus
Nea Viitamaa, who is 19 years old and works in a clothing store, has been dressing in Lolita and Rococo fashion for five years.
Her stand-out style, which takes inspiration from both Japanese culture and the Victorian era, has cost Nea thousands of Euros – but she says she does not regret it at all.
Nea told Barcroft TV: “I have around 30 dresses, let alone a lot of accessories and blouses and socks – and every dress in my wardrobe on probably on average costs around €200.
“I have probably spend over €10,000 or something like that.”
“I don’t feel bad because it’s my favourite hobby. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Lolita is a Japanese fashion sub-culture, which was born in 1990s Harajuku, Tokyo. It is recognisable by its hyper-feminine aesthetic and is usually categorised into three sub-styles: cute, gothic and classic.
The Lolita style was originally associated with a feminist movement in Japan, which protested against traditional gender-norms and the country’s patriarchal expectations of women. The fashion also relates to experiencing escapism through a child-like fantasy.
However nowadays, the Lolita style has become more mainstream and Nea says that she does not dress to make political statements.
She combines typical Lolita style with an 18th Century ‘Rococo’ or ‘Baroque’ fashion – which is distinct because its corsets, big feathers, sleeves, ruffles and bows.
She said: “I love to mix more historical fashion into my style.
“I feel very confident when I wear my dresses. It makes me feel better and I feel a lot more pretty when I wear them.
“I didn’t want to have that very normal basic look, because just jeans and a T-shirt don’t really inspire me that much.”
Nea discovered Lolita fashion after watching the anime television series Rozen Maiden, where the female characters are seen wearing the style.
She added: “I always liked different things than other people. I really liked Japanese culture and read manga and watched anime and listened to Japanese pop music at a very young age.
“I researched it for a while before starting it and that is what I really loved, and I have dressed in it ever since.”
She admits that she even got bullied by her classmates growing up because of her interests and her unique style.
Nea said: “Before I started dressing [in Lolita fashion], they didn’t really care about me, I was invisible and after I started dressing more loud they took me as their target.”
But now Nea has friends who she can relate to and even dress in similar styles.
“I am quite an anxious and introverted person myself, so I am really grateful that I have such lovely friends that have guided me into this fashion.
“I think it is very nice to have friends who also dress in Lolita fashion. Most of my friends are true Lolita fashion and I really like to have friends who also do Lolita because they understand it more and they are more accepting.”
“Lolita fashion is a very big part of my identity.”