On January 31, 2018, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright announced that, after three and a half years, they will close their New York, New York location in March 2018. To say that this news from one of the most famous Japanese name brands in Lolita fashion is a shock to me would be an understatement.
A visit to the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright at their New York location is a desire I have had since they opened over three years ago. It was beyond exciting to have a Lolita storefront on the east coast! A fun-filled plan of adorning myself in a full Lolita coordinate and making my way to New York for a bit of boutique shopping and a Broadway production has been in the works for this upcoming October.
As I learn more about the sudden announcement, I am met with many questions. This news is particularly troubling with the sudden closures of Lolita fashion brands and publications that have occurred recently and over the past year. What brought on this decision? What will happen to the San Francisco, California location? What does this mean for the future of Lolita fashion in America?
Recent Closings in Relation to Lolita Fashion
The decision to close this particular location is not unique. Many Lolita publications and Lolita fashion brands in the recent year have closed, plan to close, or have been forced to adapt in order to survive.
What Brought on This Decision by Baby?
There are many possible reasons why Baby could have decided to close this particular store. Perhaps the rent for the location was too high, or perhaps Baby was not able to draw in the desired clientele. Without a defined reason from the brand directly, we are only left to our speculations.
The west coast has always trumped the east coast in regards to Japanese influences. I would love to have access to a Little Tokyo type of scene on my end of America! While there is a strong Lolita community here, it is possible that New York City is not the best location for this niche boutique. It could be that the overhead to maintain the store was too high to be covered by the purchases made.
I wonder if another less expensive part of New York City, or another east coast city entirely, such as Boston, would prove to be a good fit for the Japanese name brand in the future. We'll have to see.
As Lolitas we now have access to an overwhelming number of Lolita clothing brands to shop with. From the well known name brands, to the small indie brands, Lolita fashion is very accessible. We are now able to purchase directly from multiple brands easily or through a shopping service rather inexpensively. There are literally thousands of dresses, skirts and accessories to choose from! Gone are the days when most Lolita could be only purchased from the Japanese brands or handmade.
Since this Japanese street fashion is much easier to obtain, we are able to choose where to shop. This can mean that we support smaller brands and hunt down previous releases by the brand names we love. We do not necessarily have to consume what the name brands release when they release it. The sense of urgency for a brand release has minimized, unless the release is one we particularly wish to add to our wardrobe. For me at least, the item has to be one I have been looking forward to.
In addition to multiple designs, most of us do our Lolita fashion shopping online. While a physical store is a remarkable experience and a great way to see the details of items in person, the ease of an online platform is much more accessible. This is especially true for those of us who do not live near a physical storefront. Aside from a vendor stall at a convention, all of my shopping is primarily online.
Japanese name brands are viewed as the high end of the Lolita fashion world. Due to this, coupled with the quality and the name, the price per item is more expensive than many of the indie brands. These name brand items are viewed as luxury pieces. However, since the brand specific items are not required to wear Lolita fashion, the need to purchase these luxury items is not necessary at all. A main piece, such as a accent item or a particular dress, can be obtained directly through the brand. It is much more economical as a Lolita to purchase a petticoat, shoes and other needs elsewhere.
What will happen to the San Francisco,
This is the account of one young woman and her passion for Lolita Fashion.