Pacific Media Expo can be considered one of the largest Lolita events in Southern California, though the convention itself is shared with with the anime and Japanese music fandoms as well. I attended Friday and Saturday.
This year the convention was a bit smaller than previous years, but I actually really liked the hotel it was at. The Pasadena Hilton was small, but it only felt crowded when people were lined up in the hallways waiting for an event. My fiancee and I shared a room at the hotel with another Lolita, her husband, and their baby. The rooms were typical hotel fare, not much to say about them really.
I was not able to attend the designer panels on Friday since I had work and classes. We arrived at the convention center around 11:00 PM on Friday night, so we missed all the important Friday events. On Saturday, I got up bright and early to hit the Fashion Boutique.
I was actually a little disappointed in the items that BABY brought. I was told that they had more stuff, but they had sold a lot on Friday when I wasn’t there. Still, all I saw was sale items, though they did have very nice little lucky packs for $35 that had a pair of socks, a bonnet, and some stationary. They did have a selection of jumperskirts and dresses, but no separates, and very few accessories. I managed to walk away with a lucky pack and a red headbow.
Innocent World brought a wonderful collection with them, and restocked frequently. Unfortunately, I’m not really into classic, so I didn’t buy anything, but I did have a great time wandering through their racks of beautiful dresses. All the shopgirls were very sweet, and handled the high volume of people beautifully.
The Artist Alley had a selection of Lolita artists, mostly people who made jewelry. Mugi Bunny, Cat Nap Caps, and a few others had booths, and appeared to be doing good business. I tried to get a little bit from everyone, since I know how hard it is for artists to do what they do. The main dealer hall was disappointing, though they did have a large booth for h.Naoto items. The other highlight of the dealer hall was the Lolita Wigs booth. The owners are fantastic people, and helped me try on a wig to see how I liked the style, and were incredibly helpful and sweet to everyone.
The Fashion Festival was the main event, and started at 6:00 Saturday night. They had a fairly large room to work with, and decorated with balloons. They had game stations set up, and you had to buy tickets to play the games before the event. There were several guessing games (Jelly Bean jar, and lolipops, as well as a raffle, and then typical carnival games like a ball toss, a beanbag toss, ring toss, and an odd little game where you had to pick up a glass Coke bottle with a ring on a string. The raffle was probably the most popular (My friends and I put nearly half our tickets in).
My biggest problem with the Fashion Festival was the length. They had allotted four hours for the event, and we probably only spent an hour there. Almost everyone wandered out after about an hour, and I felt really bad for the organizers who had to sit around for three or more hours, waiting for the raffle, which wasn’t going to happen until close to ten. Everyone came back for the raffle, but I feel like the whole thing would have been better suited to happening for only two hours or so. Plus, the dance next door was very loud after 9:00, and interfered with the raffle.
Sunday at 1:00 PM was the fashion show, and probably my favorite event, though it did have several major flaws. One, it was standing room only unless you had bought a priority seating ticket. This wasn’t a huge problem, except that they wanted everyone to crowd against the wall so that they wouldn’t interfere with the spotlight. That just didn’t work, because there were far too many people squished into a fairly small room. Second, it was incredibly short! It started exactly on time, and couldn’t have lasted more than fifteen minutes. I was told later that the abrupt length was because the panel after the fashion show was for a very famous Korean actor, and security told the fashion show coordinators that if they weren’t out by 1:30, they couldn’t have the show.
That said, the outfits shown were beautiful. Innocent World and BABY showed some of their winter collections. My favorites were the Alice and the Pirates boystyle coordinates.
We left shortly after the fashion show. Overall, I think the weekend was a success, though I felt like it would have been more effective if all the Lolita events had occurred in one day. I understand that as a convention, they felt like they needed to spread things out, but there were so few events I felt like I was just standing around for most of the weekend.