interview - Yumi Fujiwara

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interview - Yumi Fujiwara

Yumi Fujiwara is the founder, president and chief designer of classic Lolita brand Innocent World. Her brand and designs are known the world over and revered by Lolitas everywhere. Please visit Innocent World's web site and our own Innocent World collection page to browse and order products! Below, Fujiwara-shachō answers questions for her and her brand's western fans!

Some of the questions below came from you! If you'd like to be involved in our next Q&A, watch our blog for future announcements!

Q. What is Innocent World's target audience? Who is your ideal customer?

A. Our target audience would be people who love beautiful and/or cute things. The ideal customer, in other words the image of females who wear Innocent World, are the people who enjoy their life and make the best out of it. Also those of you who are kind to others, have self discipline, and work hard everyday for your own dreams, as well as people who like beautiful fashion and interior designs. I would be very grateful if those people are our customers.

Q. When did you first become interested in Lolita fashion personally?

A. I've liked (Lolita fashion) since early childhood, when my mother used to make or buy clothes with lace and frills.

Q. What does Lolita style mean to you?

A. A lovely and elegant, girl style.

Q. When did you realize you wanted to design Lolita professionally? And how did you get your start?

A. I was thinking to become a fashion designer when I was in the 5th grade. I started my dream brand "Innocent World" when I was in my mid 20s. The beginning was very hard since I had to do everything including design, pattern, sales, and office work by myself. It is a good memory though.

Q. What is your all-time favorite piece that you’ve designed?

A. Although there are many favorite pieces, I would say "Victorica Dress" is the one. This dress was the collaboration plan with the animation "GOSICK". The manufacturing part was the hardest in my life. Although I have been working as a fashion designer for about 20 years, this dress contains various techniques and became a masterpiece as a Lolita dress.

Q. What kind of music do you listen to? Is there any recommendation for Lolitas?

A. I like classical music, mainly Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt. Although this might be a little too fanatical, I think Liszt's "Harmonies poétiques et religieuses" (Poetic and Religious Harmonies) is very beautiful.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. Interview with the Vampire
Edward Scissorhands
I like fantasy movies.

Q. Do you wear Lolita every day?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Is there any historical time period that influences your designs?

A. I like the time from 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
If there is a time machine, I would like to go to Paris in 1905 (smile).

Q. Who or what inspires you as a person, and as a designer?

A. My mother. When I was a child, she provided for me many clothes with lace and frills, a room with a chandelier, teddy bears and many stuffed animals, dolls with music boxes and jewel boxes with saying, “a girl needs to be girlish.” Those have become the origins for me as a designer.

Q. What's the process for coming up with a new design? How long does it take from the concept until a completed garment is released?

A. I go to Europe several times per year. I design based on the photographs I take and the things I saw during the trip. It is about 6 months until the period of completion.

Q. Is there a particular item you think all Lolitas shouldn’t leave the house without?

A. I think drawers or bloomers, although you cannot see it. I always wear beautiful and lovely one.

Q. Innocent World is based in Osaka. How do you think Lolita style differs between Osaka and Tokyo? Why do you think Osaka is home to so many Classic Lolita brands?

A. I don't think there is any difference between Tokyo and Osaka. Since Osaka is the place many artists are born, in spite of Lolita fashion, there are many cool artists here.

Q. What do you think of Lolitas in the west?

A. They are lovely!

Q. Was the industry competitive when you started Innocent World? How about now?

A. There was no competition when I started. There were fewer people wearing Lolita than now and it was not a common style.
I am very surprised to know that there are many Lolita brands now.
I've heard there are Lolita brands overseas, so I am looking forward to knowing how it would spread.

Q. Which event did you like to attend the most?

A. The PMX event in Los Angeles. I was very happy to meet so many overseas customers.
The staff members at the event became very good friends so we have been exchanging emails and gifts still now.

Q. Where do you recommend for western Lolitas to visit in Japan?

A. Of course Innocent World Osaka store.
Other than that, I would say Osaka Castle. At Osaka Castle in late March would have the Japanese national flower Sakura (cherry blossoms) in full bloom, so the season definitely makes you experience the feeling of Japan.

Q. What do we have to look forward to from Innocent World in the next year? Anything coming up that you’d like to tell us about?

A. Watch for the clothes of the Antique Doll series. I love French antique bisque dolls and I will design with their image. Although the products would be announced about twice in the year, I will present classic dresses. Please look forward to seeing them!

Q. Do you have any message for western Lolitas?

A. 自分らしく、美しく生きてください。

In your own way, please live beautifully.
I am looking forward to seeing you again in the future.