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Lolita Zine Round Up

Just in time for International Lolita Day (the first Saturdays in June and December), two new zines have put out their first issues. With the ever present anxiety around lolita publications closing, its nice to see independent zines springing up to create new content for j-fashion lovers. Read on for reviews of both zines!

Just Below the Knee

JBTK put out a call for submissions in May of 2018, and published their first issue in May of 2019. Their focus was on rebels and rule breakers in lolita, and asked for submissions that reflected that theme. The zine debuted its print edition at Paradiso and its online edition is available (for pay what you want) via Gumroad.

The format is easy to read on computers and tablets with larger screens, although it’s a bit small for most phones and there isn’t an elegant way to zoom for smaller screens. The zine is packed full of content at 52 pages, which includes original illustrations, coordinate shots, an interview with a rulebreaker lolita, comics, and short fiction pieces. The scope and length of the magazine is ambitious and it contains an impressive array of content from all kinds of lolitas. I particularly loved the illustrations from Theresa Hoagland, whose cute illustration blend the elegant and the surreal. The layout is clean and easy to follow, although I think that a running header or border and page numbers might help unify the content, which ranged from photos to prose to comics.  

Full disclosure: I submitted a piece for publication in this zine, so I think everyone should go check out this issue! Mine is the first story, “Metamorphose: A story in four dresses.” I think its really neat, and it also features a handful of illustrations that accompany it by the zine editor and interior illustrator.

The zine is easy to finish in one sitting and distributing it via Gumroad seems like a inexpensive and easy way to get this issue into the hands of as many people as possible. Even if JBTK charged a few dollars per issues, I think it would be well worth it. I’d also be interested in seeing a physical copy, but right now that seems limited to conventions rather than a print on demand service. I hope this publisher continues with other issues because JBTK shows lots of promise and I’d love to see more content.

Frills without Borders

FwoB put out its first issue on International Lolita Day after soliciting for submissions for a few weeks. The issue is available via a WordPress site with approximately 15 pages out right now. The pages are coordinate shots laid out in a bold collage style. The layouts are very stylish with content varying from full body shots to detail shots of accessories and main pieces. The models also occasionally include a blurb about their experience learning about and wearing lolita.

Though it has less content, FwoB is extremely visually distinct and it’s a pleasure to pour over the pictures. I hope that in the future they have more varied content, but I’d also be happy to page through future issues exactly like this.

Conclusion

Its great to see lolitas stepping up to create more content as publications like FRUiTS and GLB stop producing magazines. If you know of other zines, please let me know! I’d love to read and review as many as I can find.

Jenna
By day, Jenna is a legal professional living in Los Angeles, California. By night (and weekends), she is a frill wearing monster who loves Innocent World and Metamorphose. When she isn’t taking mirror selfies of her coordinates, she enjoys reading comic books, playing board games, and snuggling with her pup, Lily. You can see her mirror selfies on her instagram @lovelylaceandlies and contact her at lovelylaceandlies@gmail.com.