I would like to make this a discussion-type post because I just spent three days writing a post and didn't like it because it sounded like I was either preaching or complaining, so I'd like to open this up to everybody. I'm not very good at putting thoughts into words and didn't want to come across the wrong way ;) Hopefully this method will work better!
The commenting system on my blog allows you to opt-in for email notification when somebody replies to your comment specifically, much like the commenting system on LiveJournal :)
Anyway, the topic I was trying to write about is, as the title implies, how the focus of fashion, Lolita or otherwise, has shifted from having well-made, long-lasting articles of clothing to having the latest style for the cheapest price.
I first got into Lolita fashion around 2004-2005 so I'm not super old school either, but even back then there was heavy emphasis on quality and saving up to buy good, long-lasting clothes that you can keep forever. Of course, if it turns out the dress you buy doesn't fit or you just don't like it, the resale value insures you don't lose much money anyway.
There was a nice balance between prints coming out 1-2 a season and other non-print dresses made of stripes, solids, tartan, etc. with lots of detailing in lace, ruffles, pintucks, combination of fabrics, cuts, and layering.
Using solid and tartan fabric together
Solid with lace
Does anybody remember the great ric-rac debate? Ric-rac used to be considered a "craft quality" item, much like the stiff, plastic-y lace we all loathe so much. When Angelic Pretty came out with ric-rac on a dress (was Magical Etoile the first?) many people felt that it cheapened the look of Lolita.
Similarly, I personally feel that the standard of faux flora is quite low compared to the standards we hold for lace or fabric! Sure, it is cheaper to buy craft flowers as opposed to millinery flowers, but is that not the same logic behind buying ugly lace?
In recent years with the improvement of cheap alternative brands like Bodyline and Fan plus Friend Garden along with the explosion of taobao.com shops, it seems like we can all just buy, buy, buy, throw away, buy some more. Now quite obviously Lolitas are still buying Brand and quality clothing, but the ratio of quality:quantity has certainly been watered down.
I think a rambled a bit again ^^; Anyway, I would love to hear all your thoughts on this topic! Do you feel like Lolita fashion as a whole has shifted focus? Is it better or worse for us all? And just out of curiosity, if you don't mind I'd love to know when you first actively started participating in Lolita fashion. This doesn't mean wearing it, specifically, but when did you start following discussions, keeping up with Brand releases, etc.?