I really can’t believe I’ve been the flag-bearer for Japanese Fashion (J-Fashion) in the North West of England for two years now. To be honest, I also could never have predicted how much happiness and satisfaction this role would give me.
Clothing is powerful, and I talked a lot about this during the course of my masters. For my final project, I looked at how Japanese Fashions were empowering women in the UK. Honestly, my obsession with it hasn’t really waned since I wrote that final dissertation.
I first discovered these styles way back in 2006, but I was 15 at the time and definitely couldn’t afford to import £200 dresses from Japan like I (sort of) can now.
10 years later and this style is not only a part of my life but I’ve become a sort of ambassador for it, in the North West anyway.
At the latest meet we got stopped at the train station by a number of people asking about the fashion as usual, but one of these conversations really stuck with me. An older lady said “It’s very feminist isn’t it? Because you’re not dressing how everyone says women should dress.”
“Yes,” I replied. “We dress this way because we like it and it’s fun. It’s creative and different and I feel like it brings out all the best parts of me. I’m always encouraged to make something new for myself or try to put something together differently and tell a story in an artistic way. It just makes me feel beautiful.”
“I think its great!” she said. “Im always trying to tell my granddaughter that she can be whatever she wants. I hope that any other girl that sees you can understand that too.”
That’s really the crux of it, isn’t it, dear reader? I never really thought of myself as someone inspirational. But, more and more people keep telling me that I am, so I must be, just by existing and doing what I want to?
For this outfit I really wanted to express time and mourning. Someone waiting to be reunited for a lover who is never to return.
Since it was a special occasion, I wanted to pull out something special. I was feeling black lace, falling petals and dried tears. I’m not amazing at makeup, but hopefully you can see I tried to do a glitter tears look!
I had rose shoe clips too and lace gloves, but sadly the clips fell off. I had to keep tabs on my phone so the lace gloves came off too! The way the petals blend with the red wig and create a lot of texture is my favourite part of the look.
Tea time at The Gotham Hotel
For the meet we planned lots of different things for all the girls to enjoy. The first thing was a photo treasure hunt around different locations in Manchester. I wrote a list of riddles because I love a good bit of wordplay and everyone else just has to put up with that.
The final location of the riddles was a new one; The Gotham Hotel, where we were scheduled for afternoon tea.
Thankfully, everyone managed to figure out my tricks and make it to the hotel!
The tea itself was really delicious. I particularly liked the scones because they gave you loads of jam and cream!
Feel like I need to give a shout out to Tea Parlour, Liverpool, who are still the title holders for my favourite afternoon tea.
Tea time Elevenses Tournament
After we’d finished eating, we kept the tea parlour theme with a game of Elevenses. I’d just like to thank Travelling Man in Manchester for sponsoring this part of the meet for us, and providing us with a copy of the game!
I actually bought the game at their Leeds branch first, to play on the train home with my boyfriend, but I thought it would be really fun to host a tournament as part of the meet. The game is really easy to pick up, but can be absolutely brutal once you start to get the hang of it!
We played some practice games, then held the final tournament! Shasha won the prize, which was a Too Faced Chocolate Bar eye shadow palette. G and I tried to pick a prize that would suit all of the girls in our community, and we think we didn’t do too bad of a job!
The final thing we did during the meet was make gifts for each other.
You might note that one of those bracelets is broken because I am a terrible bracelet maker and didn’t make it big enough and it snapped immediately…
I’m really happy that this community has reached its two year anniversary. Can’t even explain how proud I am of these girls and the amazing, supportive friendships we all have. I’m really humbled that they turn up every time we plan a meetup, and that they keep coming back time after time! Plus, this was an extra fun meet – here’s to two more years! (At least)