01 May 2012

A Pretty Angelic Weekend



© Sarah Babcock
(photo (c) Sarah Babcock)


Over the past couple months or so, I have been guarding a secret that today I would like to share with you. (hence the divergence yet again from my scheduled posting~) Some of you may already know a little bit, but this past weekend, I assisted Angelic Pretty in implementing their frilly domination over Anime Central in Rosemont, IL! In general, if AP had a need I was able to fulfil, I fulfilled it! 



"Work" started last Tuesday (until 6 a.m. Wednesday!) when I helped to price garments for the booth. I also created a “beta version” (beta because it was incomplete due to stock I wasn’t able to enter at the time,) of a database via an iPhone application that made product searchable by colour, type, price, and other traits. Maki, Asuka, RinRin, and the staff I showed it to seemed to think it was great which totally thrilled me. I thought it may be something useful for this kind of business, and others, to use. Instead of an employee having to go to a computer and potentially interrupting the staff-customer experience, one could simply reach for an iPhone.
Envision the following situation: You work for XYZ Lolita Clothing Company, Inc. Someone walks into your store looking for everything you have in a certain series. All you have to do is type the name of that series into the database and it pulls a list of all of the products in the series you have including their skew numbers, wholesale prices, retail prices, item type, location in the store, and even photos for reference. Now, you can easily preview them to the customer and give them complete information without having to consult another source of technology or staff member. 
This application also has the ability to mark items as “for sale”, “sold”, or “returned” and the date on which those transactions occurred. It would make inventory a breeze! There are some minor difficulties I experienced with it, but I assume that’s from a lack of time to explore it more thoroughly. I would like to share the name of it, but I will wait until I have a better handle using it. 
Wednesday, everyone arrived from their respective areas and we got to know each other. Work was delayed slightly, so we decided to acclimate ourselves to the convention environment and begin other planning. I was happy I did the work I had done the day before; otherwise, we might have been very set back. Thursday, my local crew arrived, (Brienna, Victoria Suzanne, Dalin, Sarah Ruth, and Alice,) a group of people that I trust and talk to the most with knowledge of the industry. They were introduced to the Angelic Pretty crew, and the cooperative effort began!



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Also on Thursday was the fitting for the Angelic Pretty Fashion Show. A few of us had to pause our work with set-up since we were modelling. The activities were pleasantly intense! We tried on our outfits, were taught the sequence of the show, and learned how we should portray ourselves on the runway. 
On Friday, my crew and I arrived early to help with final preparations at the booth, and when the convention opened, we got to work! We welcomed people, made sure the booth was in order, assisted in selections, and promoted the upcoming events like the show, the Q&A session with Maki, Asuka, and RinRin, and the autograph session. It was tiring but mostly fun! I loved being able to call acting frilly, bouncy, and enthusiastic “labour”. I wish it could be my real job!


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Saturday felt about a week long. A few girls stayed at my house over the weekend, and we all had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to leave at 6:00 a.m. for the final rehearsal an hour later. Upon arrival, we discovered that the fitting room had been broken into the night before and relics of quite a night were left behind. There were...questionable objects and fluids littered around, but thanks to the amazing staff at ACEN, it was all taken care of in no time. 
After the de-party-ization occurred, we hurried about to have our hair and make-up done as well as iron out our poses, get ready for any outfit changes, and run through the progression a few times. At around 11:00, it was time for us to begin! Walking for Angelic Pretty was the most dreamy runway experience of my life! I hope I can have the opportunity again someday, but even if I don’t, I will be forever pleased. I still can’t believe it happened!

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That night there was also an indie fashion show for local designers that I modelled in. It was much more well attended than I expected it to be---so many people were in line and the room was packed! Right as it ended, a fire alarm sounded and the whole hotel had to be evacuated! It was absolute pandemonium. After an anxious yet successful search for loved ones, a group of seven of us piled into my Nissan Cube which only seats five including the driver and went out for dinner. The entire night was henceforth filled with hilarity. 


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Since I was able to snag a Tea Party ticket, I both worked and played on Sunday. It was a particularly emotional day. The event itself was adorable with a mini tea service, prizes, and lots of friend-making. Right before the end, the Chicago community as a whole presented Maki, Asuka, and RinRin with a scrapbook we made. My friends Vanessa, Mina, Heather and I put a particular amount of frill-power into it. One Monday, Vanessa and I (and Heather for good portion of it) spent 7 to 8 hours straight scrapbooking. I am in no way a scrapbooker by trade; thank goodness Vanessa and Mina are crafty geniuses! 

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Let me tell you, I have never happy-cried before in my life. If I hadn’t held back the slightest bit, I would have been a mess. I was crying, the staff was crying, the designers were crying---we all were crying. In retrospect, it was quite funny. I think why it meant so much to me that they loved the gift was because the action of giving it felt like a culmination of all my and everyone else’s work. I could tell all present appreciated the things we had done beyond description; it was completely cathartic.

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(Three above photos (c) Abby Woodham)

After the party, I rested for a bit, and then I did some shopping! It was fantastic to visit the booth as a customer. I had made one purchase before this, the Milky Pony bag in blue and pink, but I was coveting the Decoration Dreams JSK in sax and the heart macaron necklace. I bought both and the matching DD half-bonnet as well! What’s neat about the bonnet is that there is a detachable bow which I have been using to pin onto a band in my hair. I changed into my new outfit promptly and returned to work. At the end of the day, we tore down the booth, packed everything away, and went out to dinner one final time.



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On Monday morning, Victoria had to return home. (le sad, le tear, le cry...) Dalin did not have to leave until the evening, however, so we got to spend some super awesome time together. My one minor regret about ACEN was that there just wasn’t enough time! I so wish I could have taken everyone into the city and shown them the sights, however, we happily settled with going to Mituswa Marketplace and Woodfield Mall for shopping, eating, and nerding out over Disney.


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This weekend was life changing in countless ways. Being able to spend quality time with people who are at the heart of one of the main driving forces of a thing so integrated into my everyday life is without assignable value. However, more invaluable were the relationships that developed and deepened. 
I learned who I can count to stand by me and who I cannot. I learned that I am more talented and able than I gave myself credit for. I gained a deeper understanding that the only thing that makes any of this clothing important are the people who design and wear them. 
In life, we create our own little web of families, sisters, brothers, parents, cousins, in which blood is completely irrelevant. I can visualise my own in strands, carefully connected, weaving the fabric of my existence. Have you ever snagged one of your dresses on something? Left behind is the tiniest hole that probably no one else can see, but you know it is there, and it tugs at the back of your mind.  If it is not mended, that thought will always be there, and the damage may worsen. The same thing happens when we fracture relationships. Treasure your family as you treasure your clothing. When you can do that, everything else will begin to fall into place.

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Afterword:
I don’t typically do this, but I would like to address a concern that certain individuals had. Apparently, the question of my influence over the fashion show was raised. Let me be clear; I applied to the open call like everyone else. 
I am unaware who made the decision making in terms of model choices, but it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Everyone applied of their own accord. Many of my friends were chosen as well as people that I had never met before. However, it would seem logical that many people I know (and that everyone else in my community knows) were accepted given that a decent number of Chicagoland Lolitas applied as it was a local convention. Under these conditions, probability dictates that the likelihood of that event is high. However, whether or not those with doubts believe this is also out of my control. I am just happy that Chicago was well represented amongst the models.
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