How Chinese Culture Has Influenced Lolita Fashion


With origins tied to Japanese style, Lolita fashion has been influenced by so many different cultures, historical figure, and bits of pop culture since it started gaining popularity back in the 1960s—from the beloved fantasy novel Alice in Wonderland (and the eccentrically colorful movies based on the book), to the beautiful and fierce French ruler Marie Antionette, pieces of Lolita fashion have been derived from pieces of art and historical icons all over the world, and ideas for new styles continue to be curated every day in an effort to adapt to modern designs. The many different substyles, such as “hime” (princess), “country,” “sailor,” “steampunk,” and “kuro” (black) allow women to embrace Lolita fashion while staying true to their own personal style.

As it is a particularly prominent trend in Asian cultures, Chinese traditions, legends, and symbols, both old and new, have inspired some of the most unique and delightful Lolita looks that can be worn on a variety of occasions in both subtle and distinct ways.

The Chinese culture has placed a large emphasis on beauty and dignity for centuries, with bright colors, silky materials, and delicate patterns acting as staples in this nation’s fashion throughout many dynasties, while gradually evolving to adapt to international styles during more modern eras. With varying designs that can be whimsical, elegant, or even gothic, it is no wonder that traditional Chinese themes have found their way into Lolita clothing. Let’s explore some of the best ways that Chinese culture has influenced some of the most gorgeous Chinese Lolita dresses.

Flowers are notoriously represented throughout Chinese fashion, artwork, and even poetry, each kind thought to have a special symbolic meaning. From the lily that is often presented to women on their wedding day or birthday and is meant to bring sons to a family, to peonies—which are a symbol for wealth, honor, and high social class—incorporating these particular flowers into different designs can carry much meaning in the Chinese culture.

It is not just the kind of flower, but also the color that the Chinese pay close attention to: For example, white flowers, representing innocence in western cultures, are more commonly used as a symbol for death and ghosts in the Chinese culture, often being displayed at funerals. On the other hand, red and pink blossoms signify life and celebration, making the lotus flower—one of the most significant flowers in Chinese culture—the perfect inspiration for a Lolita dress. In addition to the beauty these flowers add to any pattern, the lotus represents purity of the heart and mind, a long life, honor, and exquisite beauty. These and other popular flowers, such as the cherry blossoms, camellias, azaleas, and orchids, provide the most lovely backdrops for Chinese-inspired fashion.

This Qi Lolita dress would be breathtaking to wear to a garden party or afternoon brunch. The lotus design, which of course exudes grace and elegance, is complemented perfectly by green details behind the bright and bold pink flowers, bringing the forest to life and creating a true mural using the dress as a canvas.

Embroidery, while a well-known art form throughout the world, has a longstanding history in Chinese culture. Thousands of years ago China became the first country to weave silk, which lead to the production of silk thread for embroidery. The artform evolved and gained popularity throughout the world overtime, but has remained a classic design element in Chinese culture. There are four different varieties of Chinese embroidery: Xiang, which uses pure silk, nylon, and hard and soft satins, all in colorful threads to create masterpieces; Shu, which employs smooth designs based on environmental and historical images; Yue, which features strong, contrasting colors and images of dragons and phoenixes; and Su, which uses thin needs, dense lines, and bright colors to create patterns that are most often seen in costumes and decorates.

It’s no surprise that the practice of embroidery has made its way into Lolita fashion due to its versatility and delicateness. Nearly any picture can be embroidered into the fabric of a dress, from beautifully unique shapes and patterns to floral landscapes.

This HanFu dress comes in two different colors, a mint/white combination and a black/red combination, to offer options for contrasting moods and occasions. While the white and mint version offers a light and dainty vibe that can be worn to daytime events as one would wear a sun dress, the black and red option provides a more elegant yet bold look. Red and black

are two exceptionally popular colors in Chinese culture, with red even being worn by brides. Both of these dresses honor the Chinese art of intricate embroidery, featuring a beautiful rose pattern amongst other details.

Another prominent part of Chinese culture that has undoubtedly made its way into the fashion landscape is the mythical dragon, which traditionally symbolize power, strength, prosperity, and good luck. Dragons have been used on many different pieces of clothing throughout Chinese history, including imperial robes worn by officers and softer designs on modern silk garments.

With an impressive aesthetic and significant meaning, the dragon makes a magnificent addition to Lolita fashion, which is grounded in history and making a statement. While some designs offer more subtle nods to Chinese culture, inclusion of the dragon pays direct homage to the country, its history, and its legends.

Once again featuring bold black and red colors, this dress is most directly inspired by Chinese culture and traditions, from the neckline that mimics a traditional qipao, to the dragon artwork and tassels.

These Chinese designs have allowed women around the world to embrace such a special culture that celebrates beautiful

elements and unique features. Whether one sports Lolita fashion in their everyday lives or prefers to save these dresses for special occasions, there are options to wear to any event while also honoring tradition. Some influential aspects, such as the famously symbolic dragon, provides a direct and obvious correlation to Chinese culture, while embroidery designs and floral scenes offer a more subtle way to pay tribute to Chinese culture. 

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