Designer Spotlight: Interview with Automatic Honey


If you've been active in the alt J-fashion world for the last few years, chances are you've heard of Los Angeles based indie brand Automatic Honey. Lead by two incredibly talented and charming individuals, their mission reads: We aim to bring cute culture to the world around us through cute accessories and clothing. Automatic Honey is dedicated to bringing our community closer together and have a ton of fun doing it!

This week I was given the wonderful opportunity of speaking to Alex and David about their brand.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I've been a big fan of Automatic Honey since its inception and I look forward to learning more about the brand. To start off, would you mind sharing a little about yourselves?

Hello, I'm Alex! Please bear with me as I try to explain a little bit about myself (I'm not good at interviews). I'm a dorky guy from Southern California with a passion for cute things. I've worked in the fashion industry for around 7 years now but not necessarily in the things I loved. I think working within that industry really helped me understand things I use on a daily basis at Automatic Honey as well as finding my own voice. I've also been a part of the lolita community since 2008 but I've known about the fashion since around 2002. It's crazy to think how much time has gone by since I first saw pictures in a Gothic Lolita Bible and not to mention how styles have changed drastically. Aside from fashion and all that good stuff I'm really into music, cute animal videos, and traveling when I have the chance.

Hello, I'm David! I'm the other half of Automatic Honey and I love spooky and royal things. For the most part whenever we release something spooky I've had a say in it. As for my fashion style I really love Ouji fashion and alternative Japanese fashion. I have been in the lolita community about the same time as Alex and have had an interest in Japanese fashion for a very long time.

Could you describe what each of your roles are within the brand?

A: I'm the lead designer for Automatic Honey. Even though I generally just call myself the designer I'm also the production manager, customer support, website manager, and coffee provider on those long work filled weekends.

D: I'm also a designer for Automatic Honey. On top of helping create new ideas I do assembly, and shipping as well. I also try to keep Alex calm during release days.

That's a lot of hats to wear! What inspired you to launch an accessory brand?

A: Well to be honest it started off just being a thing I did for my friends. I think I've been making accessories for friends since 2009. Nothing really elaborate just bows, cute necklaces and the like. I tried a lot of different styles back then trying to find something that was truly me. I think one of my biggest influences was definitely Angelic Pretty because their views on cute culture really spoke to me. I think a lot of us wanted to be like AP back then because AP was so new and exciting. Aside from Angelic Pretty I think one of my biggest influences to start something was Sebastian Masuda from 6% Dokidoki. Sebastian held a really interesting Q&A in Los Angeles talking about the decline of Harajuku street fashion and how we (everyone outside of Japan) are the new Harajuku. Needless to say the spark to start something for our community was imminent.

Your designs have certainly become sought-after for the international alt J-fashion community, with even Kimura-U being a big fan! Do you have a favorite line?

A: I think my favorite line has been the Under the Sea of Jewels collection. I really loved the look of the collection as a whole and the pastel colors really made that collection dreamy. It's really hard to pick a piece since every collection we release is sometime I really love. I think each collection really evokes what I'm personally into at the moment or what I see trending in fashion.

D: Personally my favorite collection is Royal Heart. I think I probably wear those pieces once a week since we released it.

Automatic Honey Spring 2015 Release "Royal Heart" modeled by Miss Angela

I have to say I'm a huge fan of both. I was in a plane when Royal Heart was released but that didn't stop me from logging on to snatch something! How do you decide what to create next?

A&D: That is a very good question! For the most part we just make what we love but on the other hand I think a lot of our influences come from what is trending in our community. We pay attention to magazines like KERA, GLB, and high fashion as well. For example, Royal Heart was influenced by Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015 along with all the religious trends we saw in Lolita fashion. Ultimately we wanted to take our own spin on the trend and make something we would like to wear ourselves.

I love how your pieces are always on trend yet genuine to your style. What is your design process?

A&D: We're constantly thinking of new idea for collections but for the most part we settle on one general idea. Once we have an idea Alex takes the concept and creates sketches of possible accessories and we look at them together. After we both agree on a design Alex cleans up the sketches and creates a technical flat. We pick metal finishes, pantone colors, Swarovski crystals, pearls, and etc that correspond to the design we're going for. The pendant or ring is sent out to our manufacturer (US based) who creates the pieces for us. Once the pieces are done we're in charge of assembling everything together. Each necklace and ring is assembled by us and then packaged up. After all the production is done we photograph the product and do all the marketing ourselves. The overall process takes around two~three months from start to finish.

Where do you hope to take Automatic Honey?

A&D: We hope that Automatic Honey can keep growing as a brand, here in the states and abroad. We would love to keep spreading our view of cute culture to everyone around us.

Now here's the big question- are you working on anything at the moment?

A&D: We are! As you know Halloween is almost here so we're very busy putting the last finishing touches on those designs.

Automatic Honey Fall 2015 Release "Witching Hour"

I'm so very excited, you can bet I'll be visiting your store for this! Is there a dream product you'd absolutely love to put out?

A&D: CLOTHING!!!!!!! Real true to life clothing would be amazing to finally do.

That sounds incredibly exciting, it would be a dream to wear Automatic Honey clothing someday. I'm about to wrap up but I have just one last question. What are you doing when you’re not creating?

A: Well outside of Automatic Honey I'm a graphic designer. I've done designs for apparel, advertising, packaging, and home decor. I guess in general my life revolves around creating so it's never a dull moment. Outside of work though I love watching fashion shows, scary movies, cheesy 80s/90s movies, Disneyland, and of course MAGICAL GIRL ANIMES!

D: Does sweets enthusiast count as a job? Just kidding, I'm a hair stylist but I do love desserts. Besides those two things I love Visual Kei music, Donald Duck, and alternative J-fashion.

Preview of the postcard artwork by Yuki Yoshida for the "Witching Hour" release, available to the first 100 orders.

I'd like to thank Alex and David again for sharing about their brand with me. Their Halloween-inspired series "Witching Hour" will be released later today ,September 18th, at 8pm PDT. Follow the links below to look at their shop and get updates. They tend to sell out fast, so keep your eyes peeled!

Summer Looks for Cold Climates


If this time of year has you shivering before you've even touched an ice cream cone it can be hard to imagine wearing a coordinate in line with Summer's themes. But don't fret- it's completely possible to feel inspired by the season while still keeping warm! Today I've whipped up a few looks to show just how this can be done.

lolita summer coordinate

25 Lolita Meetup Ideas for Summer


Ahh, Summer. For some this invokes lazy days with sun-kissed cheeks, while for others it's being unable to sleep without a cold shower and a powerful fan. Whatever your take on the season, there are some really great activities you shouldn't miss out on with your community!

lolita fashion meetup summer

  1. Walk on the boardwalk. You can often find fun little shops near the ocean breeze.
  2. Visit an ice cream bar. Seek out one with unusual flavors like Earl Grey.
  3. Catch a flick at the drive in. These are nearly extinct, so if you have one nearby take advantage!
  4. Roast backyard campfire sm'ores. Or take this tradition to the beach in an approved area.
  5. Go to the aquarium. Its so refreshing watching the fishes swim.
  6. Host a lolita-themed carnival. Have everyone chip in and create games based on the fashion.
  7. Take photos with bubbles. Get a bubble blower and host the ultimate shoujo photoshoot!
  8. Make a seaweed scrapbook. An unusual scrapbook idea but somewhat popular with the Victorians.
  9. Play lawn games. Croquet, cornhole, lawn darts, and ladder toss are great for friendly competition.
  10. Visit a lighthouse. See if they'll let you climb to the top!
  11. Check out the local county fair. Win prizes, eat fried foods, and try all the rides you can handle.
  12. Collect seashells. Then turn them into mermaid-approved accessories.
  13. Reserve a table by the waterfront. Nothing quite like the fresh air and a view of the boats.
  14. Tour historical ships. A great excuse to wear a Sailor or Pirate coord!
  15. Take a summer class. You can learn lots of neat things like baking, knitting, and painting.
  16. Watch a fireworks display. Pack blankets and make it a picnic.
  17. Play tourist. Pick an iconic spot that locals rarely visit- great way to greet newcomers!
  18. Skip stones at a nearby creek. Pack some lemonade and relax to the sounds of the stream.
  19. Celebrate Christmas in July. A great reason to bust out the holiday prints more than once a year.
  20. Visit an arcade. Beat the heat (and each other) at a video game cabinet, skeeball, or air hockey.
  21. Hold a sleepover with close friends. I don't think you're ever too old to do this!
  22. Attend a free concert. There are all kinds of free public events in the Summer.
  23. Take a road trip. Research new magical destinations and explore them for the day.
  24. Split root beer floats at a vintage soda jerk. And throw on an A-line skirt to match the vibe!
  25. Go wine tasting. Vineyards are splendid with plump grapes this time of year.

What does Summer mean to you? Is it the jingle of the ice cream truck pulling onto your street, or never leaving the comforts of an air-conditioned place?

For myself Summer brings back fond memories of living in South Florida under the palm trees with prismatic sunsets, thunderstorms with such heavy rain it would take hours to drain out of the streets, catching little reptiles, pretending to be mermaids in the pool, taking road trips to Disney World, and building sand castles on the hot beach. But of course, the weather was always Summer there. Have a wondrous day and thank you for reading!

On Leaving Lolita


It is a particularly somber moment to realize when the love you once had for a pastime has weakened. For many months I've quietly watched friends wax melancholic about leaving lolita. It is as if every day brings a new post of feeling drained by the community and getting lost in the meaning of dressing this way. While surely I can't stop anyone from selling their wardrobe and finding greener pastures, I do have something I'd like to say.

How This Hoarder Cleared Her Wardrobe (& Her Life!)


With an overstuffed closet and more on the way I was finding myself in an all-too common dilemma: what could I do to make room? My usual response to this- getting creative with storage- was starting to flounder, and the sheer amount of clothing and accessories I'd amassed had begun to overwhelm.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room

When it comes to the things I really enjoy, I tend to collect. You can truly see this manifest in our kitchen cupboard filled to the brim with teas, bookcases stuffed full of plush animals from overseas, and (of course) a lolita wardrobe overflowing in abundance. Unless I ended up with strong second-thoughts, everything I bought was there to stay. I was enthralled by the numbers my collections had grown to until the visual clutter began to suffocate. Instead of criticizing the space housing my wardrobe, it was clearly time to look at my wardrobe instead.

As I'm sure you know, it's no easy task trying to get rid of a collection. When you take into account the rarity of lolita, the often sentimental value, and all the pretty details that go into every piece the task rapidly begins to multiply in difficulty. What if I regret selling this and can't find it again, or it spikes up in price on the secondhand market? This color/cut doesn't suit me quite right, but oh how I love this print so much! I will never get back the full amount I paid for it after service and shipping fees, so won't this be better to keep? But this was my first ever lolita dress, there will be no other first dress! I have told myself every one of these things, and I'm sure they sound familiar to you too. But what is the point of keeping these things if we can't enjoy them?

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room

I was recently enlightened by reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, which I highly recommend. Unlike many approaches to tidying which focus on creative storage methods or arbitrary timeline guides on when to discard, there is just one principle: only keep the items that truly bring you joy, and let go of the rest. This method, dubbed the "KonMari" method, ensures that by the time you are done you will be surrounded by only the things you truly love and everything will find its place within your home. Who could not want such a thing?

It's really quite simple:
  1. Gather everything from one category into a pile
  2. Pick up each individual item and assess if it sparks joy
You will be surprised at how much you own that does not positively affect you.

The KonMari method asks that you follow a specific order in discarding. This is so that you hone your decision making skills before reaching the sentimental items, which are much harder to part with. The first category in this order is clothing, which may not be the best choice for someone who loves clothes. Still, it should surprise you to hear that within one night I had over 100 items from my lolita wardrobe for sale when beforehand it felt incredibly lucky to find myself willing to part with five. I could only sit in disbelief wondering at the large box of items I had been surrounded by that did not bring me complete joy.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room

When you gather every article of clothing and accessories in a pile you really comprehend the sheer amount you own. Handling each item one at a time and facing your emotional response can tell you a lot more than just whether or not an item has outlived its appeal. In the end I discovered nearly all of my sweeter pieces- which I had been holding on to for "that day" I would want to wear a sweet ensemble again- in the for sale box. Even my very first dress. And I didn't feel any regret, rather, I felt a little lighter. I was left with a wardrobe uniquely me at this very moment, free from the clutter of what did not suit me completely.

It is important to be of the mindset that you are choosing what to keep, rather than what to get rid of, and to appreciate what you part with by the lessons it taught you. I was able to let go of about a third of my wardrobe by thanking it for teaching me it wasn't truly my style or color, and had therefore fulfilled its purpose. I thanked the cheaper pieces I'd bought to "pad" my wardrobe for showing me that I should not buy something just because of it's price, as that reason alone will not leave me with pieces I am truly happy for. The hardest to part with- those pieces I really did like but did not spark complete joy- I thanked for showing me what I did and did not like. And pieces I once loved but did not wear anymore I thanked for bringing me happiness when they had.

lolita wardrobe kawaii closet room

Now that I have a wardrobe filled only with the things I truly enjoy I don't have to guess as much about what suits me, and I have more confidence in future purchases because I can make out my aesthetic much more clearly. Of course, there will always be more items that don't end up working out, but when that time comes I know what I need to do. And this isn't limited to just your wardrobe; try applying this technique to the rest of your belongings and you can see what it is you truly want out of life. Without the clutter of unnecessary items it becomes easy to see what is important to you.

Do you think you are up to the challenge, dear reader? I'd love to hear what things you could never part with! Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!

What More Could I Wish For


On April 20ᵗʰ of this year I had the great privilege and honor of marrying my closest friend in the entire world. This blog post will be a little different from the usual as I feel photos will convey the event much better than words ever will; so please, I invite you to take a peek at our big day.

baby the stars shine bright rosa mystica lolita wedding dress

25 Lolita Meetup Ideas for Spring


As a lolita I feel there is a lot to love about Spring. The mild weather is perfect for layers without needing much extra, and the blooming flowers add that extra soft pinch of delicacy to photos. This is one of the perfect times of the year to explore with your community. Here are some of my favorite ideas for enjoying the season.

lolita meetup ideas spring rabbit bunny

  1. Build birdhouses. Put them outside to welcome new feathered friends into their own small cottage.
  2. Catch fireflies. See how many you can capture in a jar before setting them free.
  3. View the cherry blossoms. Take part in a local Hanami or host your own.
  4. Pick wild flowers. String daisy chains, blow wishes through dandelions, or hunt for four leaf clovers.
  5. Watercolor a scenic area. Purchase portable watercolor sets and paint a favorite local spot.
  6. Host a lazy picnic. Lay down and look at the clouds, or perhaps the stars.
  7. Go strawberry picking. Then find delectable recipes to turn them into jams, cakes, or pastries!
  8. Run a wildlife scavenger hunt. Create a list of flora and fauna to take pictures of for a prize.
  9. Visit an amusement park. Enjoy the milder temperatures while beating the Summer crowd.
  10. Race boats down a creek. Create paper boats and watch them drift downstream to the finish line.
  11. Host an outdoor tea party. Invite friends over and show off your new tea set or budding garden.
  12. Decorate flower pots. Then use them to plant bee-friendly flowers, herbs, or aromatic delights.
  13. Volunteer at a senior center. Seeing so many frills will brighten their day!
  14. Visit public gardens. Find out beforehand if it's alright to have a photoshoot there.
  15. Try birdwatching. Get out your binoculars and discover your local species.
  16. Rent row boats. Find a quiet lake and take turns meandering your boat through the water.
  17. Throw a nature themed masquerade. Decorate masks with large feathers and fake flowers.
  18. Read aloud in a park. Prepare your favorite poetry, passage, or fairytale to share- or just listen in!
  19. Play mini golf. Engage in some friendly competition or up the stakes with a 1st place prize.
  20. Have an outdoor movie night. Rent a projector and watch movies over the sounds of crickets.
  21. Stop by the zoo. You might even see a few baby animals as they are typically born in Spring!
  22. Visit a historical site. Take a tour of a castle or Victorian mansion. Some will even have tea service.
  23. Float in a hot air balloon. View your city from a very different perspective.
  24. Watch a play in the park. Local theaters will sometimes have productions outdoors.
  25. Fly kites. Pick a windy location and soar kites in the sky.

Big thank you to our rabbit Mochi for striking such a handsome pose for me. My Spring has been spent in Seattle where I've had the chance to enjoy the April showers I'd otherwise be missing out on in California. On my favorite occasion, I was walking back to our rental under an umbrella through the frames of foliage that dot the neighborhood and had the pleasant thrill of hearing thunder for the first time in ages. I can't tell which I liked more: the walk or the hot shower afterward with the window open breathing in its melody.

What is your favorite part about Spring? Do you have a great idea for a meetup that you'd love to share? I'd love to hear it in the comments. Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!