CEBU CITY, Philippines — A 26-year-old digital artist and book illustrator here is changing how people see the concept of fashion.
Ayin “‘Yiyin” Visitacion is an artist, a cosplayer, and a Lolita fashion enthusiast, who sees vibrance and color all over her world. She commits to taking this color everywhere she goes.
Yiyin describes Lolita fashion as an alternative fashion style based on Victorian and Rococo era clothing and styles. It has an aesthetic of cuteness, femininity, and modesty detailed with laces, frills, and ribbons.
Lolita fashion has a distinct silhouette where the skirt has volume achieved with a petticoat. The whole look is coordinated from the headwear to the shoes.
“There’s a whole range of Lolita sub-styles but the main three are classic, gothic, and sweet lolita! I personally love wearing sweet and classic lolita,” she said.
Yiyin’s love for the Lolita fashion begin in middle of the pandemic, halfway 2020 when she felt the desire to slowly shift her wardrobe to reflect a more personal aesthetic.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she began to buy her clothes through online shops and she was most interested in shops selling kawaii and Lolita fashion clothing.
“It kinda snowballed from there. I just kept going since getting and wearing cute outfits makes me happy. Even if I’m stuck at home all the time, I would still dress up to lift my mood. It’s also a good exercise coordinating pieces with a theme in mind like fruits or spring season,” she said.
Although she is a cosplayer herself, Yiyin draws the line between her cosplay and her Lolita fashion.
She said that Lolita fashion is a form of self-expression, but cosplay is the art of donning a costume and taking on someone’s character or a fictional form.
“Lolita is NOT cosplay! I know people think any sort of dressing up equals to being in a costume but it’s simply another fashion style like punk or goth. It’s a way of expressing ourselves through our clothes! Cosplaying is portraying someone’s character while we just want to dress cutely and just be ourselves,” she said.
As an artist, Yiyin also draws from her Lolita fashion to create concepts. She draws herself in her lolita outfits and it helped her draw better in terms of fashion and clothing.
Financially, keeping the Lolita fashion lifestyle can take quite some resources, which is why Yiyin works multiple jobs as a book illustrator and a freelance digital artist as well.
Yet for her, to be able to express herself freely through her fashion is an important priority and aspect of her being.
Yiyin remains to be a rare gem for now as the Lolita fashion community in Cebu is still growing, but she hopes to see more enthusiasts in the future.
“I hope for more meet ups with fellow lolitas and for newbies to freely join in! I’d love to see everyone’s different styles and ways of dressing in lolita. It’s a very small community as of now but it’s fun when we get to do tea parties and hopefully, swap meets. I also would love to see more lolitas in public,” she said.
As for the artists who still struggle with their self-expression, Yiyin urges them to grow at their own pace and never skip the fundamentals.
“Your art style will naturally develop as you draw inspiration from things that are close to your heart and that you are interested in. Also find and be part of artist communities or with artist friends!” she said.