"[Norman Parkinson] taught me to always keep your eyes open. You know? Never go to sleep in the car, or anything like that. Keep watching because whatever you see out the window or wherever, it can inspire you."
- Grace Coddington, The September Issue (2009)
It is one of my most firm beliefs that the key to being a good lolita, and perhaps the key to being successful in fashion of any kind, is to be constantly inspired by the world around you. Inspiration lies at the heart of all arts, and fashion is no different. One can easily leave the inspiration, the dreaming, and the whimsy up to the designers and models and photographers who feed us beautiful images in the pages of our favorite magazines every month. It is even easier to leave the inspiration behind an excellent outfit to the visual merchandisers in our favorite stores who go to great lengths to make each piece appealing to us in hopes of returning a profit. To be inspired is to be touched and to be affected. Truly great dressing and therefore truly great style is about taking the moments which have affected us the most and translating them visually to the world. I think that in lolita fashion today we are working more and more towards becoming a group of individuals who bring their own personalities and aesthetic sensibilities into the style which we collectively love so much.
Dare to dream, lolitas! Take the decadence of the Rococo and meld it with the boldness of mod 60s color blocking. Have a viewpoint. The iconic are not those who follow the same trends, but those who take risks and make mistakes, but refuse to be told that their point of view is incomprehensible to the rest of the world. Lolita fashion itself may at times seem incomprehensible to the modern street's average Joe, but do not lose faith in your own ability to inspire, to be inspired. Fashion is one of the most personal forms of self-expression as it relies on the individual to cover herself in her own identity. Use that platform to scream to the world that you do find beauty in this flawed existence that we all share. There is nothing more inspiring than being an inspiration to others and presenting the world with a viewpoint it has not yet explored. Keep your eyes open to the world and it will look back at you just as openly.