Interview with Lolita & Tattoo Artist Imani K. Brown

As you now know from our Geek Girl Brunch Goes Lolita post, we’re pretty new to Lolita. Since we’re celebrating the insanely kawaii and creative fashion this month, we wanted to interview an OG Lolita who’s been in the game for a while, and that Lolita is none other than Imani K. Brown!

Imani isn’t just into Lolita fashion, but Japanese fashion and culture as well. She’s also a talented illustrator and tattoo artist (she even did co-founder Jamila’s Sandman tattoo!) In her interview with Geek Girl Brunch, Imani shares her Lolita story for those who are interested in making that first (very cute) step into Lolita or just curious about the fashion.

GGB: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

geekgirlbrunch_lolita_ikb8Imani: My name is Imani K. Brown. I’m an artist- tattoo artist & illustrator from the DC area. I am also a Lolita (as often as time permits, these days LOL) and specifically lean towards a (bitter)sweet style in the fashion, most times. In Lolita, I am an admin for one of DMV’s local comms, Metro Lolitas, which is specific to DC and the Metro public transportation lines.

How did you get into Lolita fashion?

I’ve always been into Japanese culture and American clothing bored me to pieces. I started researching and came up on J-fashion sub-culture styles, but Lolita stood out the most. Probably because of my love for the period it’s derived from, Rococo & late Baroque were my favorite periods to study in art history. I enjoyed the idea of it so much I’d stared blogging before I was even able to wear Lolita on my own accord.

Do you have any favorite styles and brands?

I say I don’t have any particular brand of choice, but as far as things to wear, I am severely harsh on clothes, so I am a Bodyline enthusiast. However, I enjoy pieces by Emily Temple Cute, Innocent World, Metamorphose, and Juliet & Justine. I have to become more responsible, still, before I invest in pieces by these brands though. haha

What do you like most about Lolita fashion? 

Aside from the “ruffles & bows” themselves, I enjoy the natural ladylike-ness (if that’s even a word) it evokes. The lifestyle that is to be upheld as a Lolita reaches far beyond the fashion itself. It’s ideas I can reinforce in my daily life and I’ve come to like that more than the fashion itself.

I’ve seen photos of the Lolita meetups you’ve attended. How did you find these groups? What do you usually do on a typical meetup? 

For a long time I was a loner, then my (now) Lolita sister spotted me and we became really good friends. She found Charm City and encouraged me to join the community with her. Both comms are filled with extremely lovely people and I’m happy she encouraged me to be more active.

A meet-up can consist of anything, but since people don’t always get to indulge in the lifestyle on a daily basis, picnics, teas, and  museum visits are extremely popular for Lolita.

Any tips for novice Lolitas?

Regardless of what you do, be you, OWN it, and have fun!

Follow Imani on Website Blog | Facebook | Tumblr | Twitter!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I am just so bummer right now. Finally I find an awesome tattoo artist who is a nerd and a female of color. I have been looking for an artist who doesn’t judge on my skin (and I have before). So I looked at her site and was excited that she works in DC and NYC (I have friends and family there). But then I looked at her FAQs section and I was mad bummed, while reading her “etiquette” section.

    “Stop getting money related tattoos and begging for discounts. Once we figure out how to accept welfare checks, we’ll do your “Big Baller” tattoo.”

    I mean first of all, shaming poor people is horrible. There is huge stigma for people to seek help already. Working class families are struggling while you are taking trips to Japan and yet you are willing to shame people for needing a little bit of help. I get that you don’t want to do shitty tattoos but don’t attack poor people that’s just so sickening.

    “Ladies, stop hating on your sexy friend cause her body can support a sexy tattoo and you refuse to workout.”

    That’s some mad body shaming there. No one should hate on anyone for their bodies but you shouldn’t either. There is a lot reasons why people are overweight, to make fast judgement on others is just…sad.

    Sigh…it’s a damn shame I was so thrilled to find an artist who would love to work with my skin; especially considering the fact that I had negative experiences with white (mostly male) tattoo artists who did not find my skin “appealing” because I am not white. And don’t get me started on the body shaming.

    I love getting tattoos, and find it a more spiritual ritual where I feel like I am high. I just for once wish I can get big pieces from an artist who actually makes me feel comfortable not judged.

    so bummed 🙁

  2. Denny Sinnoh says:

    Super fun set of photos!