Wednesday 2 December 2020

The Entire History of Lolita Fashion [timeline]

Ever wondered about the history of lolita fashion? This blog post covers pretty much the entire timeline of notable events in lolita~

If you want a slightly more in depth look at the earliest years of lolita you can read my blog post about it

Brand information is in lavender, magazine information is in red, website information is in blue, music information is in orange, notable people are in maroon, lolita media is in green (books, tv, movies), anything else is in black


  • 'Kawaii' as a concept becomes popular in Japan
  • MILK is founded in April 1970
  • PINK HOUSE is established in 1973
  • Shirley Temple is launched in 1974
  • Angelic Pretty is founded in 1979 as 'Pretty', they sell multiple lolita brands under the name in Laforet
  • PINK HOUSE opens their first lolita shop in 1979


  • Olive begins publication in 1982
  • CUTiE begins publication circa 1983
  • Second hand store Closet Child opens up shop in 1984
  • Jane Marple is established in 1985
  • Vivienne Westwood releases the iconic rocking horse shoe design in 1985
  • Visual kei emerges in the mid 1980s
  • Magazine Ryuko Tsushin links the term lolita to the style for the first time in 1987
  • Algonquins is launched in 1987
  • Heart E is founded in 1987/8 by Oomae Etsuko, first designing items for Hyper Hyper in Laforet as an indie designer
  • Baby the Stars Shine Bright is established in 1988 by Akinori Isobe (the brand may have been called Spiritualité, Shining Heart at this point, I am unsure when they changed name)


  • PUTUMAYO is founded in 1990
  • Visual Kei group Malice Mizer is formed in 1992, influencing lolita fashion heavily
  • The first Heart E store opens in 1992
  • Designer Kuniko Kato starts Manifesteange Metamorphose Temps De Fille as a freelance brand in 1993
  • Brand Alice in Modern Time is established in 1993
  • Alice in Modern Time rebrands to Alice Auaa in 1995
  • Atelier Boz is launched in 1995
  • The manga Gokinjo Monogatari is first published in 1995, and ends in 1998
  • Gokinjo Monogatari airs as an anime in 1995-1996
  • Marble is launched in 1996
  • Miho Matsuda is founded in 1997, she popularises chunky shoes in gal
  • In 1997 Metamorphose is established as a company, when designer Kuniko Kato meets the current president of the brand
  • Peace Now is launched in Spring 1997
  • Marble opens their first shop in 1997
  • Visible is lunched in 1997
  • FRUiTS begins publication in 1997
  • Kerouac begins publication in 1998
  • Misako Aoki starts modelling for Kerouac in 1998
  • Mana coins the term EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita)
  • Mana establishes the EGL brand Moi Meme Moitie in 1999
  • Atelier Pierrot is established in 1999
  • Victorian Maiden is launched in 1999
  • Victorian Maiden create their website in October 1999
  • Innocent World was established by Yumi Fujiwara in 1999
  • Shirley Temple's spin off women's brand Emily Temple Cute is established in February 1999
  • Miho Matsuda is goes bankrupt in 1999
  • BTSSB's flagship store opens in Shibuya in 1999
  • The manga Paradise Kiss is first published in 1999
  • Metamorphose brings their business online on July 7th 1999
  • Baby the Stars Shine Bright bring their business online on October 9th 1999


  • Closet Child brings their business online in 2000
  • Lolita mailing list Black Lolita was created circa 2000
  • Kerouac shortens their name to KERA in March 2000, though the other letters still appear in a smaller font on the magazine
  • Nana is first published in July 2000
  • H.Naoto is established in August 2000
  • Manifesteange Metamorphose Temps de Fille become Metamorphose Temps de Fille in 2000
  • Miho Matsuda re-opens with backing from Kobayashi & Co., Ltd. in 2001
  • Kazuko Ogawa launches in 2001, customers can order from overseas via email
  • KERA drops the extra letters completely in May 2001
  • The Gothic & Lolita Bible begins publication in 2001 as a spin off to Kera
  • The Livejournal EGL group is created December 30th 2001
  • PUTUMAYO bring their business online circa 2001
  • Singer Moon Kana (then just Kana) releases her first album in 2001
  • Maxicimam is founded in 2001
  • Peace Now's sub brand Black Peace Now is established in 2001
  • In 2001 Pretty rebrands as Angelic Pretty, by now they no longer stock other brands
  • In 2001 designer Asuka joins Angelic Pretty
  • Juliette et Justine is launched in 2001
  • Triple Fortune is founded in 2001
  • Select photos from FRUiTS were published in a book of the same name in 2001
  • Nana Kitade debuts in 2002
  • Shimotsuma Monogatari is published in 2002
  • Angelic Pretty bring their business online in 2002
  • Maxicimam bring their business online circa 2002
  • Metamorphose create their English language website in 2002 to sell to overseas customers, making lolita far more accessible for the western lolita community and making it the first major lolita brand to do so
  • Webpage Blue Period is created circa 2002, sharing scans and resources for lolitas outside of Japan
  • Mary Magdalene is founded circa 2002 by designer Tanaka Rikiko (formerly of Victorian Maiden)
  • In 2003 designer Maki joins Angelic Pretty
  • Olive suspends publication in August 2003
  • Avant Gauche is created circa 2003
  • The manga Death Note is first published in December 2003, becoming popular in the west and introducing more people to lolita
  • In The Starlight, a USA based indie brand launches online in August 2003
  • Indie brand Anna House is launched in 2004
  • In 2004, BTSSB starts their punkier sub-brand Alice & the Pirates
  • Moi Meme Moitie becomes available to overseas customers in winter 2004 via online distributors
  • Metamorphose start their crown label circa 2004*
  • Sewing magazine Gosurori begins publication in 2004
  • Film Peep 'TV' Show is released in 2004
  • Movie Kamikaze Girls is released in 2004
  • Brands Metamorphose and MILK are showcased on America's Next Top Model in 2004
  • MILK brings their business online circa 2004
  • Lolitasnap is created in April 2004
  • Kokusyoku Sumire debut in 2004
  • Lauran starts blogging about her time in Japan getting involved in the Harajuku fashion scene in 2004, giving a unique perspective to the Western community (in 2006 she moved back to the US but continued blogging about lolita)
  • Fresh Fruits, another book containing select photos from FRUiTS magazine was published in 2005
  • The Paradise Kiss anime airs in 2005
  • Escargot Skin is published in 2005
  • The EGL Livejournal community create 'Loliday' (usually referred to as International Lolita Day or ILD now) in 2005. It is the first Saturday of June & December each year.
  • Dutch store Mustangart & Fashion stocks Metamorphose in 2005, making lolita even more accessible outside of Japan
  • cgl, a discussion board dedicated to cosplay and lolita was created in 2006
  • The original loligoth-dbs is created sometime before 2006 (i you know the actual year please let me know)
  • The Nana anime airs in 2006
  • Unnaturally coloured wigs are used in Angelic Pretty's Twinkle Mermaid ad in GLB in 2006, starting a new trend 
  • Himitsu no Niwa is created circa 2006
  • The lolita_handbook is created on Livejournal in October 2006
  • In 2006 AATP opens a store in Harajuku
  • BTSSB opens their first overseas store in Paris, in 2007
  • Korean indie brand Haenuli debuts in 2007
  • The Tea Party Club is created in 2007
  • Lolita Secrets is created in Livejournal circa 2007
  • lolita-comm-sales is created in Livejournal in March 2007
  • Gothic & Lolita, a book containing street snaps from around Tokyo is published in May 2007
  • The Livejournal group GTFO EGL was created in July 2007
  • Livejournal group daily-lolita is created on August 1st 2007
  • is created in January 2008
  • A new loligoth-dbs (loli goth database) was created in October 2008
  • American indie brand Sweet Rococo launches in February 2008, it was notable for letting customers build their dress from a selection of design options
  • The Gothic & Lolita Bible publishes 5 issues in English between 2008 and 2009
  • Model Misako Aoki is appointed Japan's official Kawaii Ambassador in 2009
  • Kuniko Kato leaves Metamorphose in 2009
  • BTSSB opens their San Francisco store in 2009
  • Angelic Pretty opens their first overseas store in Paris in 2009
  • In The Starlight discontinues in 2009
  • F Yeah Lolita is created in 2009
  • Blue Period shuts down circa 2009


  • Short film Mister Rococo is released in 2010
  • Minty Mix release the iconic split wig in 2010
  • Kuniko Kato launches Physical Drop in 2010
  • Angelic Pretty opens their San Francisco store on November 20th 2010 with Harajuku Hearts. The store also sells Enchantlic Enchantilly, Atelier Pierrot, Black Peace Now, Sex Pot Revenge, and Putumayo
  • loligoth-dbs closes down circa March 2010
  • Livejournal group EGL Feedback is created in April 2010
  • Lolita database Lolibrary is established on June 15th 2010
  • HelloLace, another lolita database was created on June 17th 2010. The two databases were unaware of each other until they were made public
  • Indie brand In The Starlight returns in 2011, now selling via Etsy
  • Moi Meme Moitie closes their last physical store on February 20th 2011
  • The lolita-tips tumblr is created on April 29th 2011
  • Lovely Lor posts her first Shit Lolitas Say video on youtube in 2012
  • Behind the Bows is created to replace Lolita Secrets on Livejournal in January 2012
  • Facebook group Closet Of Frills: Daily Lolita Coords is created in October 2012
  • Juliette et Justine travelled overseas for the first time to London as special guests at a Tea Party Club event in 2012
  • Movie Musashino-sen no Shimai is released in 2012
  • Movie Nuigulumar Z is released in 2013
  • Brand Black Peace Now ends in 2013
  • Brand Sheglit was founded in 2013 by the same designers who ran BPN
  • BTSSB opens their New York store in 2013, joint with Tokyo Rebel
  • Angelic Pretty's Paris store closes in 2013
  • Street Fashion Europe is established in 2013
  • The Lolita Japan Association is established in 2013
  • Facebook group Lolita Updates is created on June 5th 2013
  • Secondhand sales site Lacemarket is created in 2014
  • Second hand sales website Wunderwelt is established in 2014
  • Deerstalker Pictures release part 1 of their Secret Life of the Lolita video in January 2014
  • Lolita idol group Meltia is formed in October 2014
  • Lolita Updates spinoff group Rufflechat is created on facebook on April 1st 2014
  • Chinese lolita magazine Girlism is first published in 2015
  • The Lolita Guide Book tumblr is created in March 2015
  • HelloLace officially shuts down in December 2015, though they hadn't updated their catalogue since 2012
  • Avant Gauche shuts down on New Year's Eve 2015, though hadn't been updated in 5 years
  • Meltia disbands in 2016
  • A new Angelic Pretty store is opened in Paris on July 7th 2016
  • FRUiTS ends publication in February 2017
  • The Gothic & Lolita Bible ends publication in April 2017
  • KERA ends publication in 2017
  • BTSSB's Paris store closes in 2017
  • WunderWelt acquires ownership of Moi Meme Moitie in 2017
  • Victorian Maiden announces their final year of the brand in 2017
  • Angelic Pretty open a store in Shanghai in September 2017
  • Putumayo closes its online shop in December 2017
  • PUTUMAYO discontinues completely with the closing of their physical store on January 28th 2018
  • Victorian Maiden's physical store closes in 2018
  • Crowd funding saves Victorian Maiden in 2018 and they re-release their iconic coffin
  • BTSSB's New York store closes in 2018
  • Haenuli announces their farewell in January 2019
  • Youtuber Safiya Nygaard makes a video trying on lolita fashion in 2019, once again exposing a wider audience to the fashion


  • Yaplog closed in 2020, taking many Japanese lolita's old webpages from the 90s and 00s with it
  • On August 28th 2021 Atelier Boz announces they will be closing on October 30th, after 25 years
  • In February 2022, one of the Atelier Biz designers announces she will create a new brand, Alpstola
  • On March 2nd 2023, PUTUMAYO announce their return

*So Meta's website says they started their Crown Label in 2009 but looking at the Meta website on wayback machine it seems CL has been around since 2004

And there you have it. I hope you found this informative, as I put a lot of effort into finding the most accurate information possible, using a tonne of resources and my own (admittedly novice) research. One thing I found when doing this is there does seem to to quite a bit of misinformation out there. One thing gets written somewhere online with no source and then it gets taken as fact and spread elsewhere, Admittedly I've even done this myself in the past, trusting that they were right; but this time I made sure to be thorough. 
Even so, in my research I used a seemingly reliable brand timeline from a lolita magazine. It listed Metamorphose's website being created in 1997, which I felt was incorrect since on wayback machine the old Metamorphose website actually has the date of its creation listed. When I messaged Kato-san she confirmed the website was created in 1999, not 1997. So this leads me to wonder if even some of the information in the more reliable sources may be incorrect. However, these are the best sources we have, so unless I can personally consult every brand designer this is the best we can do~

A special thanks to Raine Dragon who helped me out a lot, as well as Flowerteacos who helped me with some translations! Without either of them I would have much less information to share with you all~!

[Sources: my memory, Raine Dragon, Kuniko Kato, J-fashion magazine scans (waybackmachine), (lolibrary), (virtualjapan), (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (,]

If there's any notable information I've missed out, feel free to let me know! Honestly I was unsure which lolita media to include. I'd also be interested to know when and where the replica debate was first sparked. And I'd really like to include more about Japanese lolita forums.
It's very likely that I'll be updating this after it's been published if I find new information or need to make changes~


  1. this is great!!! really thorough and detailed, i appreciate how you color coded everything to make it easier to understand. it's really interesting seeing how many brands opened up and closed and started again under new names/styles. thank you so much for all your hard work!!!

    1. Thank you! Honestly the colour coding was originally to help me find what info I'd included and keep organised but then I decided to keep it the more the timeline grew!

  2. Wow this is awesome o.O Not sure if you want to include it, but yaplog closed in january 2020. A lot of japanese lolita blogs used to be there, as well as brand shops blogs.

  3. Thank you for doing all this work! I will bookmark this because no doubts I will need to refer to it somewhere down the line :)

  4. Amazing work! A bit of details about Angelic Pretty shops in Paris. First one was actually a "corner" in an other shop called Boddywood which was selling other brands and second hand clothes (I remember acquiring a Meta Bag there ). The corner closed before the shop did. Then AP was opening a temporary shop every summer till the opening of the actual AP shop in rue St Roch.
    Btssb Paris store closed in 2017 sadly.

  5. This is excellent mapping! Thank you for sharing. Some things to be added to the timeline of you would like:
    - Indie brand Kazuko Ogawa would accept orders via email in 2001 which technically makes them the first brand to offer international shipping from Japan. You could email her with links or photos or names of the items on her homepage and she would ask for your measurements. The items would then be sent to you when they were done.
    - Sometime before EGL on LiveJournal was created there was a mailing list you could subscribe to called Black Lolita. I unfortunately cannot pinpoint the exact year but I would guess 2000.

    1. Thank you so much for all of the information!!

  6. More things I remembered just now:
    There were communities like Lolita Snap, Visual Addicts and Himitsu no Niwa where lolitas gathered to post photos of their outfits. I would like to say that they existed around 2004/05 but I can't swear on it. If you want to dig in to it.

  7. Another memory, Mfashion was a store in The Netherlands opened by a nonbrand related company that sold brand lolita items, I think around 2008?

    1. Are you certain that isn't the Dutch shop I already listed?

    2. You may be right, the long name just confused me. Sorry about that.

  8. Very comprehensive, thank you!

  9. This is great! I’m Japanese but i didn’t know much of this.

  10. I really love that this was made! Very nostalgic and relevant information💖

  11. "In 2001 Pretty rebrands as Angelic Pretty, by now they no longer stock other brands"

    In GLB vol 4 (published June 2002) a spread shows various stores including Pretty, which had Angelic Pretty as it's exclusive brand now, but still was a select shop called Pretty selling other brands like Baby, Meta, Cornet... I don't know how long the turnaround for GLBs was, so it's possible that could have been written in the end of 2001 and by 2002 they did stop the select shop method, but it was something that I remembered so I might as well throw it out there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  12. This is such an cool timeline, thank you for making it!

  13. This is such a helpful timeline!

    One note - the reason that the dates for Crown Label are confusing is that Meta had two iterations of Crown Label - the version that ran from 2001 through 2006 or so was twice-yearly, less expensive releases, and then Crown Label was relaunched in 2009 as a sweet sub-brand. (Description of the OG Crown Label from this 12/7/2002 blog post: