In this series, we’ve been interviewing some of our favorite fashion bloggers around the world, today our featured blogger is La Carmina.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (who you are/what you do/where you’re from, etc.).
I’m a spooky-cute travel TV host, journalist, and professional fashion blogger at https://www.lacarmina.com.
My focus is on alternative and Gothic style and subcultures, in Japan and all over the world. I’m the author of 3 books — including Cute Yummy Time (Penguin) and Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo (Random House) — and a journalist for CNN, Huffington Post, AOL. My “First Mate” and I started a TV fixing, hosting and coolhunting firm, called ”La Carmina & The Pirates.” (https://www.lacarmina.com)
I also host my own web series for AOL / Huffington Post, and constantly travel for appearances and press trips (including New York Fashion Week, and 6 upcoming cities to be announced soon!). Right now, my
focus is on television presenting; my credits include The Today Show, Travel Channel, NHK Japan, Fuel/Discovery, National Geographic, Food Network, Pepsi, Sony, Norway TV, CNN. All my TV clips are here:
How would you define your style?
I love to mix Gothic, Jrock, Punk, Victorian, Rococo styles. Spiked boots, bell skirts, embroidered corsets, lace pattern tights, asymmetrical leather jacket, layers of silver crucifix bracelets, and long eyelashes. You can see my outfit posts on my La Carmina blog.
How did you find your sense of style?
I frequently traveled around Asia with my family. When we visited Japan in my early teens, I saw Gothloli fashion firsthand – in the streets of Harajuku. From then on, I was enticed by the style’s dark frills and elegance of past centuries.
I began wearing Japanese Gothic Lolita and Punk underground brands, which I always write about on my site, lacarmina.com. My favorites include h.NAOTO, Moi-meme-moitie, Atelier Pierrot, Alice and the Pirates.
What inspired you to start a style blog? What motivates you to keep blogging?
I started La Carmina blog in 2007, when blogging was a relatively new phenomenon. I was in law school and felt hindered creatively, and blogging was a tremendous release. I posted frequently, participated
in social networks and built everything up gradually. My blog is a chronicle of my spooky-cute world: dark-decora outfit posts, flamboyant friends, favorite Gothic stores, alt travel tips, underground clubs, and of course — my adorable Scottish Fold cat, Basil Farrow!
How did you choose the name of your blog?
“La Carmina” is derived from my real name (Carmen), and a tribute to La Camilla (Army of Lovers), La Carlotta (Phantom of the Opera) and LaCasati (eccentric 1920s heiress who wore wild outfits and went to parties with two leashed cheetahs). It’s also a tip of the hat to the dramatic intro music of Carmina Burana. I bought the domain name www.lacarmina.com and it made sense to call my blog “La Carmina” since my interests are so varied; I don’t only blog about fashion.
What was the best comment you ever received from a reader?
Nothing makes me happier than hearing from readers, who say my blog brightened up their day, or inspired them. Often, they come from small towns where Goth/subculture lifestyles are not accepted. It makes me feel good that my blog is a safe space, where they can find like-minded creatures of the night, and realize they’re not alone. Getting messages from readers make me feel my work is worthwhile.
Who/what inspires you?
My plump, earless Scottish Fold cat, Basil Farrow!
What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?
My favorites include my Alice and the Pirates short navy jacket; it has a long pointed collar and silver rows of military buttons. I got my Angelic Pretty glossy red lace-up knee-high boots for a steal. And I love my rare Moi-meme-Moitie Goth aristocrat dress, which looks likeb something you’d wear to a Victorian funeral.
What is your top fashion tip?
Fake eyelashes. I buy them in bucketloads from Japan, especially in the dolly style. They open up your eyes and give a cute look.
What advice do you have for new bloggers or people considering starting a blog?
Don’t do it for the traffic, or the badges of recognition. Blog only if you truly love doing it, and would continue even if you’re speaking to an empty room. If you get frustrated, take a break or try something new. Finally, it helps to learn as much as you can about web design, social networks, SEO and the other technical aspects of blogging. And keep it human. Connect with your readers. Try to make a meaningful contribution, and build something together. If you set your mind to it, you can go very far!
What importance do social networks have for you?
Huge importance. Social networks are a way to extend your voice, and interact one-on-one with readers via different mediums. I share my fashion finds on the apps Pose and Instagram (my username is lacarmina), and post iPhone photos to my Tumblr. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.
Your first thought in the morning?
“Turn on iPhone… and begin to deal with the mountain of emails and notifications that accumulated while I was in dream-land…”
What is your favourite thing to do when not blogging?
Give my Scottish Fold kitten a tummy-rub.
For you, what is the world’s most fashionable city?
I’m mesmerized by Tokyo. In Japan, there are so many electrifying “style tribes”: from Shibuya “gals” to Gothic Lolitas, Jrockers, and girls that look like antique dolls. However, young Harajuku street style has some recurrent themes. Many coordinates are highly Visual: you’ll see colorful anime hair, elaborate nail art, and dramatic fake eyelashes. Harajuku youths often wear heavy layers of accessories (“decora”), such as bon-bon candy hair decorations. Cuteness (“kawaii”) is also a big part of the look.
How would you describe fashion in the city where you live?
Tokyo street fashion is strongly connected to underground music and cultures, such as Goth and Punk. Visual Kei (a genre of Jrock with a glam-visual image and theatrics) — particularly the band Malice Mizer – influenced Elegant Goth Lolita and Aristocrat style. Tokyo street style is often inspired by Western pop culture and given a uniquely Japanese twist. For example, Fairy Kei style is all about 1980s pastel kitsch. Think My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms; tutu skirts and scrunchies.
What message do you hope to send to your readers?
I hope my site captures the essence of Tokyo fashion and subcultures – freedom, experimentation and DIY creativity. I want to reach for the stars, and see how far I can take my journey. I hope La Carmina blog encourages readers to get out the door, find supportive spooky friends, and build a flamboyant Halloween-world together!