r/Creepy: Reddit group celebrates growing Lolita subculture

© Gonzalo Fuente
A 'sweet and innocent' Japanese subculture with a controversial name is spreading across the globe thanks to websites like Reddit, linking together young women who wear old-fashioned, child-like clothing.

The style claims to draw inspiration from Victorian fashion, with "lolitas" often wearing petticoats, lace, and bows in their hair.

As the trend spreads to other countries, more lolitas are arranging meet ups, where they commonly drink tea and hopefully don’t get hit on by nearby creepers.

Here is a video from one in Scotland that took place in a Victorian school.

The lolita fashion trend started as a street style in the ‘80s in Tokyo, when young people would gather in in Yoyogi Park and dress in distinctive clothing, evolving into a number of different looks known as lolita, gyaru, decora, and ganguro.

Lolita fashion has a number of different varieties, the most common of which is the Victorian style.

Lolitas dress in child-like clothing from the era and the style takes elements from other fashion trends throughout history.

Followers often carry teddy bears or dolls. The aristocrat, or elegant lolita, is a more mature look, with longer skirts and corsets.

Gothic lolitas, or gosurori, wear black over the more common pastel shades, and incorporate traditional gothic elements like crosses.

Sweet lolitas amp up the pastel and lace elements. Punk lolitas embrace traditional punk trends alongside the Victorian aspects to the look.

Then there are the cyber-lolitas, and even Harry Potter-inspired variations of the trend.

The name lolita comes from the famous Vladimir Nabokov novel about a man who becomes infatuated by a 12-year-old girl, but followers of the style insist there isn’t a sexual element to the look.

They say their style focuses on ‘cuteness’ and youth rather than sexuality.