So in the few days or so, the extent of the corruption of Anime Matsuri has finally been exposed. I have always had issues with this convention but for the sake of not writing too many depressing things in this blog, I have for the most part kept these things in my head.
In all honesty, with the exception of seeing my NOLA dears each year, Anime Matsuri has to be the biggest disorganized unprofessional clusterfuck I have ever had to deal with both as a regular attendee and a member of the press. My experience being a member of press last year for the con to cover the Nightmare events was just that, a nightmare! Between a rather embarrassing convo with John Leigh, the co-chair of the con right before the concert, and major logistical issues with the concert proper, it was just too much to deal with and it is no wonder that my boss did not get me press for this year to cover Disacode.
From rude and or inept staff members to 2-3+ hour waits for big events, not getting merch that I had PAID for in advanced and sketchy mixed messages regarding tea party tickets in 2014 and other things that me saying would probably breech my confidentiality agreement with VKH, I never really enjoyed AM much besides the company of my lovely NOLA friends and getting to meet certain Japanese fashion guests I sadly probably would not have been able to meet otherwise (like Minori). Also, the cliquishness of the other lolita’s I’ve met at AM and always being denied a spot in the fashion show (and probably having my submission laughed at, based on recent info that has come to light) has done nothing but damage to my self esteem. I also had my own ideas/speculations about the dubiousness going on behind the scenes but for the most part it was only talk. But late last week this amazing account was posted from a former AM staffer and HLC member.
I really really REALLY commend buttcape for writing this because since then other former models and such are now coming out with their own stories and from all accounts it’s a lot worse than I could have imagined, sexual harassment and dubious methods for selecting Jfashion models and just this most recently THREE of the Kawaii Ambassadors have now LEFT the JLA and their posts as Kawaii Ambassadors because of this. What has been probably most sickening to read is how they have treated Misako, Midori, Akira and the other Japanese guests, not feeding them for hours on end, not giving them translators or handlers and not even informing them about the things they would be doing!
At the present, it appears that the JLA is investigating Anime Matsuri.
This is all so appalling, the lolita community as a whole already has a lot of elitism, cliquish hierarchies and bullshit as it is without Anime Matsuri soiling it all the more. This is why, among many other reasons, I am a lone lolita. Please everyone, if you have not already; please kindly sign this petition for the JLA to revoke John and Deniece Leigh’s positions as honorary Kawaii Ambassadors. As long as they have any hold in this community, things can’t get better.
Sadly though, I feel like even with all this incredible effort to end their corruption, many lolitas and Jfashionistas will still attend AM and their associated events. Simply because despite their obvious bullshit, they are still probably the biggest anime convention for Jfashion programming; with all the brands they bring along as well as models, it’s a very tempting event. I fully admit the main reason I went to AM this year was for an opportunity to meet Akira. Not only that but rumor now has it that they will be bringing a whopping SEVEN brands next year and based on pictures they have recently released and my own intuition (which is quite accurate 99% of the time), one of those brands may very well be Triple Fortune and I really REALLY want to met Kaie and Babi since I missed them at Rufflecon last year. But even so, despite the strong temptation, I will be staying far away from Anime Matsuri next year and every year from now on. I won’t even be attending the Grand Tea Party this November. It’s the principle of the matter.
I acknowledge that Anime Matsuri is a very tempting event for those who love lolita fashion and may want to meet these guests or take part in brand tea parties, fashion shows and the like. But I can no longer support an event that harbors sexual predators and allows such disorganization that it would make a small student run event like Tigercon far superior by comparison! I know that not every lolita (or most for that matter) can have the good fortune to be able to make multiple trips across the country to other conventions and events like I do. But in my last 7 years of con-hopping, I have taken note of the conventions that can be counted on to have the best programming Jfashion wise.
So for this post, I will be giving my top 5 conventions that usually have good Jfashion programming. Hopefully you will consider these conventions as alternatives to AM.
Pacific Media Expo ~
Usually this event is in early November, around Veterans Day, but this year it’s Labor Day weekend. PMX is an interesting case because even though it is technically an anime con, they really go out of their way to have all kinds of Japanese Pop Culture programming and even some Kpop too; from Jrock to dramas and of course, Jfashion. They even have a separate website specifically for their fashion department. It was at PMX 2008 that I first saw Kaya perform live and it was wonderful! In 2009 they had AP designers Maki and Asuka (AP was also there at PMX 2007) as well as Gashicon from Hangry and Angry. The last year I went Masumi Kano from BTSSB was there and in the last few years they have had the designers of Innocent World and Juliette et Justine and many events from craft and tea parties to fashion swap meets. I have always enjoyed PMX and with their recent move to a bigger venue, I am confident that it will continue to be a great con, I highly recommend it!
Anime Expo ~
Anime Expo is the largest anime/Japanese culture convention in the country and since 2006 has had always had some kind of Jfashion programming or guest, probably even before that and I don’t know. In the past they have had iconic figures like Mana and Misako Aoki as guests and have even had gyaru brands in their dealer’s hall and as a part of their fashion show broadening the horizon for how Jfashion is manifested at conventions. Both this year and last year Kimura U was a guest and Naoto Hirooka of h.Naoto will be a guest for this year also.
Anime Weekend Atlanta ~
(http://awa-con.com/) Atlanta, Georgia
AWA has had the benefit of not only being able to host many brand events and guests, but they have a very strong lolita following as well. Before it disbanded, the
lolita event FRILL would often host events at AWA and even had a full boutique
rented out in the Cobb Galleria in 2012 which was awesome for shopping. In the
last few years the con itself has hosted many notable brands such as Putumayo, BABY and a few KINCS designers too. Misako Aoki
modeled with Putumayo in 2013 and they hosted
a tea party that year also. The local lolitas that I have met at AWA are also
very sweet! I already mentioned this but I will be at AWA again this year for
my birthday. I’m not sure yet what Jfashion goodness they have planned this
year as I have not yet checked their guest list extensively (I’m mainly going
for Eir Aoi and Reika XD) but I’m sure whatever they have planned, it will be
Anime Next ~ Early June in
New Jersey (http://www.animenext.org/)
Anime Next has only recently come upon my interest in the last few years. I only went to Anime Next once two years ago but was very impressed with it Jfashion wise. Last year they had Kimura U and the brand Galaxxxy and in recent years they have hosted several other notable fashion guests like Sixh, Mint Neko, GRAMM, BABY (Founder and CEO Akinori Isobe was there in 2013 along with designer Masumi) and most recently this year, h.Naoto. Next year they will be moving to a larger space in
Atlantic City so I am certain that Anime Next
will continue to deliver great programming for Jfashionistas.
RuffleCon ~ Early October in
I have not yet had the privilege of attending this conference but from all accounts, it is very nice, fun and well organized. RuffleCon bills itself as a Northeast Alternative Fashion Conference and caters to many different fashions not just Jfashion, also historical fashion general gothic and Victorian fashion, etc. Events include the standard tea party and fashion show but there are also fan panels and workshops specializing in fashion related topics, a masquerade ball and a talent show too! Last year they had Fumiko chan of Enchantilic Enchantilly and Kaie and Babi as guests and I would have gone if Schwarz Stein at AUSA had not taken priority. XD
As lolita and other Jfashions become more popular in the west, most medium to big cons usually have at least one designer come to their con these days. These listed are just my personal favorites/the ones most notable. There are many others too; for winter International Lolita Day this December, I am planning on attending the new lolita convention Dream Fantasy Theatre Presents: A Royal Weekend in
. It will be my last
convention of the year and likely last convention for a while besides Katsucon
next year (staffing again). Since Dream Fantasy Theatre is rather new I can’t
speak yet on wheather or not it’s a good con but I have high hopes. Orlando
In the meantime, I hope you all take these conventions listed above into consideration when planning to go to one if you are interested in Jfashion. And don’t just limit yourself to just these or whatever conventions plan, work with your local lolita communities and talk to the conventions in your area about having Jfashion programming if they don’t already. There is power in numbers; this very year Mechacon, the
convention that a lot of my NOLA dears attend, will be hosting a BABY/AATP
fashion show and tea party. It pains me greatly that I won’t be able to go but
I am very proud and happy for them to be able to do this! If you guys are
reading this, you guys are so awesome!! <3
Also this year back in April, the
Pittsburgh convention Tekko had RinRin Doll
as their very first Jfashion guest in the conventions history. Even now, I am
currently doing all I can to convince my superiors at Katsucon that hosting a
Jfashion guest in the future would be a great thing for the con and I know
others in my local comm. are trying to do the same. Look for me this autumn
wherever Katsucon is promoting where I will, in addition to promoting the
convention itself, will also be raising awareness for my new hashtag
#JfashionatKatsu, something I hope will get more notice as katsu gets closer.