CHEERZ is a mobile application which allows fans to support their favorite idols by giving them “CHEERZ”. At TGU, as a part of our campaign, we have the top three monthly ranked girls of CHEERZ NEXT with us today, to experience what Japanese culture has to offer “NEXT”.

This time on NEXT, we’re featuring a Chinese lolita look! Both domestically and overseas, lolita fashion is one of Japan’s most iconic fashion styles, but at the moment, mixing lolita with Chinese clothing to create “Chinese lolita” is the latest cute trend! So in this update, Rin Kawashima, Amu, and Jinro Idol Terachin are going to give this style a go.

All of the outfits these girls will be trying on today are courtesy of RISA, designer of the brand Crème brulee. Her cute dress designs became an instant hit, were featured in the magazine Gothic & Lolita Bible, and KERA SHOP in Shinjuku has been flooded with reservation requests for them- so much so that apparently new orders have been placed on a one-year waiting list…!

From left to right : Terachin, Risa, Rin, Amu

From left to right : Terachin, Risa, Rin, Amu

Isn’t Chinese lolita just too cute?!  Just look how excited they were to try it on this style for the first time! Notice anything else? That’s right, for today’s fashion we chose a spot that was the perfect backdrop. This is Suihou, a Chinese restaurant located just outside of Ueno Station. The imagery at this unusual, whimsical place was spot on for our lolita shoot!


 

Rin Kawashima

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Amu

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Terachin

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As soon as all three had taken their share of selfies, they sat down with RISA for an interview.

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– What did you think about your first time wearing Chinese lolita?

Amu: Ever since I was in elementary, I’ve been an avid reader of KERA and lolita magazines, and I’ve always admired the fashion. So I can’t even express how happy it makes me to be able to try out a new genre of lolita!

Rin Kawashima: I started out as a cosplayer, and have done a lot of cosplaying. I always thought lolita was too cutesy and would never suit me, but still wanted to give it a shot. And since I really love Chinese clothing, I definitely wanted to give this style a try, so I’m so glad I got the chance to wear it today.

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Terachin: I’ve worn lolita as part of a costume before; it’s cute and a love it. However, I didn’t know that Chinese lolita existed so I feel pumped about having the opportunity to give it a go! I want to take even more pictures in it! (laugh)

RISA: You all look so adorable~!

– RISA, you design your clothing in Taiwan, right?

RISA: Yes, both in Taiwan and in Japan.

– Is there any special details about these three outfits?

RISA: I’m fond of the butterfly-shaped design on the back of the cape. Also I really wanted to add flower buttons to them, so that’s just what I did.

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– What are flower buttons?

RISA: They’re traditional buttons that you’ll find on Chinese dresses, but although you might still find them in China, I’m the only one making them in Taiwan now. My mentor has already retired from making them. There are probably a lot of people recently who have never seen them before.

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– So you’re a traditional Chinese flower button artist!!

RISA: I’m not sure why Japanese people call them flower buttons, though… (laugh), but in Chinese they’re called花扣, or “huā kòu”.

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Amu: Maybe they’re called flower buttons because so many of them are in the shape of a flower?

RISA; Yes, there a many like that. To make them you have to carefully handle and fold the satin fabric… It’s very difficult to do! The work is very detailed, and you’ll end up breaking one or two needles just making one. Making one in a dragon shape is even more complicated, and means going through about ten needles. Most Chinese dresses now have buttons made with cord instead.

– So what made you want to go to such lengths to make them yourself?

RISA: After graduating from Japanese university and returning to Taiwan, I decided that I wanted to study fashion. I was told that flower button teachers were regarded as a persons of national treasure, and that since they were on the verge of retirement, that one might take me on as a disciple, so I went to see about it. However, the first person that I interviewed with was really strict. They said, “Why do you want to learn? If it’s just for fun, I won’t teach you.”

Everyone: Woah~!

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RISA: My mentor put on an exhibit at Taiwan’s Museum of National History. Among noble families and high-class ladies in the past, adding flower buttons were a symbol of identity. But I enjoy making these detailed items quite a lot. I tend to shut myself in and not go out much. (laugh)

– It seems like you’re really into your work.

RISA: Well, I don’t have any friends so I don’t really go out to do anything. (laugh) I’m always playing Pokemon GO at home. (laugh) There are three gym spots in my house, and Dragonairs and other Pokemon will appear in my room! (laugh)

Terachin: Really- wow! The only Pokemon I ever find in my room are Pidgeons. (laugh)

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Amu: I only ever find Rattatas in mine. (laugh)

RISA: Just recently a Snorlax appeared close to my house, and even though there was a typhoon going on, I grabbed an umbrella and went out to catch it! (laugh)

– I think that’s enough Pokemon talk for now! Is there anything the three of you would like to ask RISA?

Amu: What made you want to combine China dress and lolita culture?

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RISA: I had studied all about China dresses, but my mentor was very strict. She’d be like, “If it’s just for cosplay, there’s no point in making it!” All the fasteners and collars were hand-sewn, and I would start with a proper dress and go from there. But while making proper pieces, I made a lolita-style one and showed it to her, asking what she thought about it, to which she replied, “That’s not half bad!” (laugh) So that’s when I started making these kinds of designs.

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Terachin: I figure it goes without saying that you like lolita fashion, but are there any other types of clothing that you like?

RISA: Basically just lolita. Everything I wear is lolita. I’ve been wearing it since I was a university student, and I’d say I have about 500 pieces maybe…?

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Terachin: No way!! You can’t be serious!!

RISA: My house in Taiwan is basically a huge warehouse. (laugh) They’re all hanging up on steel racks. (laugh)

Rin Kawashima: This whole time today I’ve been thinking, with how cute these clothes are, why isn’t everyone wearing them?! After putting them on, I was surprised at how great they looked (laugh), and I think everyone should quit worrying if they’d look good in them or not, and just wear them a lot. All that’s needed is a little push! I feel like I want to try out many other different fashion genres now.

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– Is there a certain type of person you’d like to wear your clothing?

RISA: Um, well, anyone can!

– But they’ll have to wait a year, right? (laugh)

RISA: Yes, I’ve got a lot a lot of work ahead of me, but… I’ll do my best!

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Also, a big thank you to Suihou, who let us use their restaurant for today’s shoot! This restaurant has many private rooms, and welcomes lolita groups to come visit and have tea parties (as long as they’re not too loud!) Plus, it’s just one minute by foot from Ueno Station and offers an English and Chinese menu. The luxurious interior might make some a tad apprehensive at first (laugh), but the drinks and dishes served are very reasonable, so whenever you next visit Ueno, please give it a try~!

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Related links
RISA Twitter : https://twitter.com/cremebruleerisa
CHEERZ official website : https://cheerz.cz/

Rin Kawashima Twitter : https://twitter.com/rin_uijin
Amu Twitter : https://twitter.com/amu_amyur
Terachin Twitter : https://twitter.com/terakoyaya

Restaurant info
翠鳳 Suihou
Address: 3-18-7, Higashi Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
東京都台東区東上野3-18-7

TEL : 03-3832-8181
Website : http://suihou.com/

Photos by kobadog
Translated by Jamie Koide

Author
Ayaya
Ayaya

Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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