Yesterday, we had a look at the personal history and career of the wide-known visual kei legend and founder of the fashion brand Moi-même-Moitié, Mana.
Moitié is a brand well-known among lolitas and aristocrats all over the world. While Mana was and still is and an integral figure in the brand’s creation and continued existence, no brand could function without hard-working and dedicated staff.
We have reached out to a member of Moi-même-Moitié’s international staff, and today, we can present to you a personal interview with them about Moitié and their work.
Are you curious about what the future holds for Moi-même-Moitié, about the state of lolita fashion in Japan, or wondering whether you’ll ever be able to walk into a Moitié store in the US? Keep reading to find answers to all of these questions and more!
It is lovely to meet you, could you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Andrea and I handle everything to do with our Western customers, for example, English customer support, website translation and running several SNS accounts for Moi-même-Moitié and Wunderwelt. I also go overseas for events with Moi-même-Moitié.
Moi-même-Moitié’s history spans over a long period of time, could you briefly tell our readers about it?
Moi-même-Moitié is a Gothic brand founded in 1999 by Mana-sama. The brand consists of two lines, Elegant Gothic Lolita which features mostly feminine dresses, skirts and blouses, and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat which concentrates on items for an androgynous look such as gilets, coats, and wide trousers.
How did you first find out about Mana and Moi-même-Moitié?
I discovered visual kei through X Japan and from there I got to know about MALICE MIZER probably when I was around 12. So I actually found out about Moi-même-Moitié and Lolita fashion in general through Mana-sama. When I finally decided to try wearing Lolita myself, I started with Gothic Lolita (although not Moi-même-Moitié) and for a long time, I only had a vague idea about other styles.
I think this is very typical for Lolitas of a certain generation. Nowadays there are many different ways to get to know about Lolita Fashion and many Lolitas don’t have any interest in visual kei or Japan whatsoever (which is fine of course), but I doubt there were many people back then who knew what Lolita was without also being interested in visual kei.
What do you like about the brand, is there anything that makes it stand out from the rest?
Especially the plainer pieces may not look like much in stock photos, but when you get to hold the real thing in your hands, every single dress is just so beautiful. Like everybody else I also love the various original laces that Moi-même-Moitié has produced over the years, they are very iconic and instantly recognizable and I don’t think any other brand has made use of that to such an extent.
What was it that made you want to work at Moi-même-Moitié?
It was less choosing to work for Moi-même-Moitié but rather a lucky coincidence, as I’d already been working for my company when the change of ownership happened. Since Moi-même-Moitié came with very little staff, to begin with, and has never had any staff that was able to take care of overseas customers, I got to take over or start a number of things such as English social media.
European and American Lolitas often complain that they have trouble fitting into Japanese brands’ dress sizes. Do you foresee a prospect of Moitié producing a wider range of sizes consistently to accommodate more customers?
Honestly, that does not seem economically feasible for the foreseeable future, but we’re taking small steps. For example, our recent Lace Cross JSK comes in two sizes, the bigger of which accommodates busts up to 94 cm—for Moi-même-Moitié that is quite big. Something else we often receive comments about is not giving accurate measurements—in the past, many customers discovered that items actually accommodate larger sizes than stated, which understandably makes buying dresses online quite a gamble. Until now the official measurements were simply those of the Japanese standard size that the garment was tailored for, so we are trying to get better at that. By the way, our Neo Gothic Arch OP (to be released in July/August) fits busts of up to around 100 cm.
Why do you think Moitié has become so popular among Gothic Lolitas overseas?
I would think it is mostly thanks to Mana-sama’s popularity in the West, obviously putting out a lot of beautiful dresses would be another reason. As I mentioned earlier, I think in the past a lot of people got to know about Gothic Lolita via his GLB photoshoots so it’s only natural that Moi-même-Moitié’s aesthetic was what many of those who got interested in the fashion first aspired to. It gave a certain status to the brand and I feel that in a way it has carried over into the present day, although of course, a lot has changed now.
What do you think holds for the future of Moitié? Is there anything specific that you’d like to see Moitié do in the future?
Most of all I hope the brand can grow in popularity again while also staying true to its vision.
Something we definitely want to do is release more items other than clothes and jewelry, things that can be used in daily life without any restrictions in regards to age, gender or size. We get a lot of requests for interior and home goods, so I hope we will be able to release some useful things sometime soon.
Other Japanese lolita brands have opened branches in the USA, do you think there is a possibility that Moitié would open their own branch?
Considering that we don’t even have a physical store in Tokyo right now, unfortunately, there won’t be a chance of opening an overseas branch any time soon. Of course, it would be brilliant if it were to happen one day and I’d love to visit.
Do you personally wear a lot of Moitié, or is your involvement with the brand separate from your private life?
I do wear Moitié, but I like all styles so I wear a lot of different brands. I buy our new releases fairly often for personal use – most recently I got our new card case in the black x black version and the Lace Cross JSK in black x white.
Do you have a favorite Moitié item or print?
For prints, I like monochrome ones such as Silent Moon and Ruins Cathedral best. I also really love a specific headdress, the Velveteen Rose Headdress from 2013, which to me is probably the most beautiful hair accessory ever.
Are you interested in Mana’s musical work? Do you have an opinion on the connection of Gothic Lolita fashion to the Japanese music scene and vice versa?
As I mentioned I’ve loved MALICE MIZER from a young age but I don’t really follow Moi dix Mois–I have been to one of Mana-sama’s recent birthday lives at Mount Rainier Hall in March though.
Of all the Lolita styles, Gothic Lolita is probably the one that still has the most connection to the Japanese music scene, but I don’t really feel that Lolita fashion, in general, is very tied to it nowadays. You’d have to go see very specific bands to spot more than one Lolita in the room.
Have you got any interesting or special stories to share with us featuring any Moitié customers?
Not exactly interesting I’m afraid, but when we went to the US it was nice to finally get to know the faces behind some of the names we often see popping up in our orders. Hopefully, we can meet more of them in the future.
We can see it recently that while in western Japan-loving communities Lolita Fashion is still rather popular, in Harajuku kids, the amount of people wearing Lolita Fashion and similar styles seems to be declining in favor of other styles. Have you noticed this? How do you feel about it?
Yes, we have definitely noticed a decline in Lolitas to be seen on the streets and everywhere else. This is, of course, worrying because brands need a certain number of customers to stay afloat.
However, it is important to remember that just because everybody else stops loving something you don’t have to do that, so on a personal level I don’t actually think about this phenomenon very much. The important thing is to just keep on wearing it – and maybe inspire a few people in the process if you’re lucky.
Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final words for JRN readers?
Please continue to support Mana-sama, Moi-même-Moitié and Lolita Fashion! I hope from now on we will have lots of opportunities to meet all of you in person.
How do you personally feel about lolita fashion? Do you wear it personally? Show us your pictures if you have any!
We are very grateful to Andrea for talking to us about all these interesting things. If you’ve enjoyed reading this interview, join us tomorrow when we will bring you an exclusive take from the great Mana himself on what his most favorite Moi-même-Moitié items are. You don’t want to miss out on that!