The First All-Lolita Convention: Frill

For years now lolita fashion has pivoted around two gathering locuses: the Internet and the anime convention. Rightly or not, lolita, as a Japanese subculture and Japanophile interest, was slowly introduced to the anime convention or ‘con’ scene by means of events, lolita vendors and formalized meetups. Now it’s common to expect an anime convention to boast at least one lolita fashion designer and often a bevy of local designers, a fashion show, or tea party. The convention has been a great way to draw hundreds of lolitas from the surrounding area, doing what the local meetup cannot and connecting them on an international or interstate scale.

The only issue, at its heart, is that lolita fashion is not really a perfect fit for the anime scene. Anime conventions are known for its anime and manga fans, its costumed attendees who enjoy the Japanese practice of cosplaying, and while lolitas may enjoy some of these things, they are really outside interests to lolita fashion which has developed a rich internal culture of its own. To be frank, lolita is often the redheaded step-child of the convention, and the time is ripe for more lolita events run by lolitas, for lolitas.

Frill by Affrilliation is the first all-lolita convention, just finishing its first event this past June of 2012. President Chair Andrea Nicole Baker was kind enough to give Parfait Doll the exclusive scoop on how the first ever lolita convention went down!

inside the FRILL boutique!

Q: How did you come up with the idea to start Frill?

FRILL: There has been a Frill boutique at AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta)  for the past few years. Megan Maude (Victoria’s note: local designer and previous EGL mod) has been the guiding force behind the Frill events at AWA (Frill Pop-up Shop and Lolita Fashion Show.)  Last November seven of us women got together and decided that our Atlanta Lolita community had grown enough that it could support a real Lolita Convention. We decided to brand it as “FRILL”.
Q: Okay, what everyone is dying to know – how was the turnout? How many lolitas attended this year, and from what areas? 
FRILL: There were about 150 lolitas in attendance*. 40% of the registered attendees were from outside of Georgia (mostly from the southeast) representing – Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, South  Carolina and  few others.  Needless to say we were pleasantly surprised by that. But we did expect that FRILL – A Lolita convention would appeal to ALL Lolitas irrespective of location. Of course, being the first year, there was also a “wait and see attitude”.

Q: Not bad for a first event! What events were most popular?

FRILL:  The boutique/consignment shop was the most popular. We had about 15 independent designers represented. I am sure there has never been quite a selection of fabulous fashions ever in one place at one time.

Panels were also popular (We had selected 8 panels topics that would have the most wide appeal. These ran all during the day on Saturday. Some of the topics were: History of Lolita, Sewing, Wigs and Hair, Deco DIY, Advanced Shopping and Loli Library.)

Princess Brolita and Prince Kodona, a genderbent beauty pageant at Frill 2012

Games and contests were also a big success, such as Tea Dueling, Princess Brolita and Prince Kadona Contest and a coordinate contest.

There was also lots of time for socializing at Frill. Spending time with one’s friends and meeting and making new lolita girlfriends! The “smile quotient” at Frill was awesome. So many lovelies having a great time!

The highlight of Saturday evening’s part was the fashion show. About 15 local designers participated, many included multiple outfits. Of course, the fashion shows are always a highlight any time a group of lolitas get together.

The Sunday Tea Luncheon was attended by about 100 people. The food was awesome, yummy and delicious. Another opportunity to get all dressed up and socialize. Following the Tea the Directors had a feedback session for the attendees in order to learn what was most liked and suggestions for the future.

more inside the boutique – image via Lolilibrary

Q: What are you looking to add or schedule for next year?

FRILL: We plan to expand the availability of the boutique/Consignment shop for 2 full days. Most probably, we’ll have a vendor area and an Artist’s Alley in addition to the boutique. We’d also like to expand the weekend con to Friday evening before the weekend. Of course this requires looking for a larger facility in order to have more events and increase attendance significantly.

Q: What is your dream for Frill?

FRILL: We now have a parent organization called AFFRILLIATION, INC. The organization will be responsible for the yearly FRILL Lolita convention, Pop-up Shops, enabling access to the Lolita Style including fashions, accessories and information. In brief, being able to connect Lolita communities in North America thru common interests in the fashion and style.

*that number also includes some boyfriends, spouses, etc.

So, who else is excited for next year’s FRILL convention? I’m hoping I can make it down there and maybe convince some of my New York City gang to go with me! (Roadtrip anyone?!)

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