Of the five panelists on stage at the Fashion Institute of Technology on Tuesday night discussing the Japanese fashion culture known as Gothic Lolita, only one, a Japanese illustrator and designer, spoke no English. But to the uninitiated, the four others might have been speaking a different language as well.
The group, two representatives from the h. Naoto brand (one of whom served as translator), two owners of Tokyo Rebel, an East Village store that specializes in the style and a moderator, discussed the Japanese aesthetic of "kawaii," or cuteness. The event, held as part of a focus on Japanese fashion by the institute's museum, also explored the different tribes of those who dress in the Gothic Lolita style -- an aesthetic reminiscent of a Hello Kitty doll come to life, only, if possible, more cutesy.
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