Thursday, 31 August 2017

Dream Masquerade Carnival ๐ŸŽ  Part 1: A Dream Come True

I've been pretty absent from this blog as of late, and for good reason. I was faced with the unexpected task of preparing for an event I thought I was no longer in the running to vend at... on top of a full time "normie" job. To say it was a test of my resolve is an understatement. I never knew I had it in me to get home from a day at work and go straight to my sewing machine, to drawing up plans for outfits, to ironing out design flaws and figuring out things I thought I would need much longer to do. It was a challenge, but honestly, it was incredibly rewarding. This is going to be a long post so please settle down with a refreshment of your choice! I hope you will enjoy reading about what was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire life.

๐Ÿญ     ๐Ÿฌ     ๐ŸŽ€

I was up until very late on Friday 25th August, finishing off bloomers, trying to make accessories for myself to wear, and packing everything I would need for my stall. Seemingly all of a sudden, Saturday 26th August was upon me: the day of Dream Masquerade Carnival, the tenth anniversary of the Tea Party Club, and the first ever UK Angelic Pretty event!

After a restless 5 or so hours, I had to be up again to catch my 7:51 train. And wouldn't you know it... I missed the damn train by about 30 seconds, due to not being able to make it over the train bridge with my heavy suitcase quickly enough. I watched it zoom off into the distance and tried not to cry or panic. This was OK, I told myself. There will be another train.

The next train wasn't for another half hour, and after bumping into a few other lolitas on the way to the event at the connecting service, I began dressing fully, putting on my petticoat, my beret and hair bow, and finding my wristcuffs. Not long to go.

Someone mentioned it would be easier to take the bus, so trusting in their judgement, I got the number 23 from Paddington, and off we whizzed down to Charing Cross. As it was so early, there was barely any traffic, and we got there in good time, all things considered.

At 116 Pall Mall, a lovely member of staff showed me to the lifts and took my right up to St James 1, where my table was situated. I was the last vendor to arrive and there were only 15 minutes to go until the gold ticket members would be allowed into the venue. 

My neighbours were Summer Tales Boutique, who kindly helped me to set up my clothing rail after seeing me basically staring at all the pieces in confusion. About twenty minutes later, my table was more or less ready and I finally felt myself relaxing. It was going to be OK!

I stood back and admired the finished product. 

It looked better than I could have hoped for, and it was then I felt truly ready for the event to begin!

It was getting to around half ten before the attendees began streaming in to have a look at the stalls, and it wasn't long before I started to make some sales! Unlike my experience at Hyper Japan last year, my bestselling items weren't the small accessories, but the bloomers and the berets! One girl walked past and flashed me her mint bloomers, excitedly telling me she'd purchased them from me in the past! Moments like that truly are the best thing; knowing that people are wearing and appreciating your work is unbelievably motivating. I spent a lot of the day feeling the fuzzies, to be honest.

My friends Sammi and Nicola came to help me, taking over so I could rush off to use the toilet, and do the many other duties that cropped up during the day. I had a quick chance that morning to have a wander around the event, and I bumped into my fellow blogging friend Miriam! She looked super cute, and we decided to get some pictures at the gorgeous backdrop in the photo area. I'm so happy that she got such a fabulous picture of me!

My coordinate matched the backdrop perfectly! It was my first time wearing a proper, full coordinate with Miracle Candy, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out, from the candy cane hold-ups that were a lucky find on eBay, to the candy patched I attached to my beret the night before (also from eBay!) I think this is the best coordinate I've ever done, so I was feeling super content!

Miriam's coordinate was so pretty! I always love her cute AP look that have the perfect balance of wearability and fanciness! We've now met in Paris and London! I wonder which city we'll get to hang out in next!? We'll have to see where future events take us!

Soon it was time to get my models ready for the fashion show. Goodness, what an experience that was. We entered the crowded, narrow changing room. The scent of stale sweat was in the air, and it felt hot and cramped. There were people undressing, casually pulling off shirts and changing into elaborate dresses. It was absolute chaos, and I loved the feeling of anticipation, and the energy that emanated from the space. Bizarrely, I felt totally in my element. I managed to find a little alcove for my models and one of their friends, and together we managed to get everybody looking just right Seemingly all of a sudden, it was time for everyone to file out, and get ready to walk. I wished my models the best of luck, and rushed off to get my camera so I could film them in the show. 

Maddie joined me for the show, we ended up in the last row but one. At first I thought we had the worst seats, and then I realised this meant we would be able to see very clearly the entirety of all the models' walks. The fashion show began.

I knew my girls were further down the list, so I waited patiently as the other indie designer's pieces were presented. There were some really interesting pieces, and familiar faces wearing them. 

Somehow, I managed to get a very lucky snap of none other than my blogging buddy Cupcake Kamisama, who was an absolute sass queen during her walk. I am so pleased I got to meet her and have a chat with her, though it's a shame we didn't get a chance to get a photo together as planned. Still, I'm sure we are bound to cross paths again!

Finally, it was my three models' turn. You can see how they did here in this video, and again here (be prepared for the cuteness). So, let me just say how unbelievably proud I felt watching them. When it was all over, I teared up and it took every ounce of self restraint for me not to let it spill over and ruin my makeup. To have models wearing my designs in a fashion show is something I could only dream of this time four years ago, when I attended my first big lolita event, Frock On! On that day, I had a handful of handmade ribbon bows to put in the bring and buy, and the fact a few of them sold motivated me to do more, to learn more, to let Sugar Trampoline take shape. To be a vendor with a whole booth's worth of items this past weekend, and people who recognised my brand... really, it was a dream come true and I will never forget it. 

Here's me with my models, Rachel, Sophie, and Queenie! I love how they each brought their own individual style and vibe to their pieces.

I feel so privileged to have been able to work with such lovely people, and I hope I will see them again at future meets or events!

After the fashion show was over, and had been such a success, is when I felt I could really relax! Sales continued over the afternoon, and I got to chat to so many different people. It was great to have so many of my friends all in one place, coming to see how things were going for me, and stopping by for a quick chat in the busyness and chaos of the day. I even got filmed! You never really feel like you got to say everything you wanted to say to certain people, or as though you took all the pictures you wanted to take, but that's OK I guess. Rather than be disappointed, I can only be proud of how far I've come-- at previous events I felt isolated, anxious and out of place, often feeling too awkward to talk to people as much as I would have liked. I have so much more confidence than I ever have, and even though I still have a long way to go, I'm pleased with where I am right now, and I 100% made the most of my time at this event!

I finally got to meet Rosalynn, who I've been following since the very start of her Lolita Wonderland blog! It was great to chat to her, and especially to meet her in a super sweet AP coordinate!

With Emmy and Taylor! It was lovely to see my local old comm pals, and I loved how they twinned!

Reina and Wing stopped by my stall for a quick chat and for this lovely snap! It's always great to hang out with these two gorgeous people, who are two of my oldest friends through lolita fashion!

Maddie hung around for a bit and I was pleased I got to see her awesome ringmaster style coordinate! She also patiently took photos of me at my stall. I'm always grateful for people who are OK with helping me get the picture I want, haha! She was remote vending some of her beautiful brooch series.

Your fave kawaii shopkeeper.

With Sammi, who helped me out so much that day (as did Nicola, who gave me some very needed onigiri later in the afternoon. Too kind!) I loved the stack of pancakes she made to match her dress! This is a very civilised photo compared to our photobooth snap, where I thought it would be a great idea to carry her on my back for one of the frames!

After getting a very short, and interrupted sleep the night before (I actually had some nightmares... I guess it was the stress of the pending event!) and rushing around all day being here, there, and everywhere, I was absolutely cream-crackered by the time the evening rolled around, to the extent I didn't have the energy to stay for the ending raffle. At 7pm, I packed up my stall, toned down my coord to make public transport easier, and headed home. 

If it wasn't already clear, I had an absolutely incredible time at Dream Masquerade Carnival! It was a huge push outside my comfort zone and I loved every minute of it. It was a confidence boost seeing people admiring my brand's offerings, and having several people stop by my stall after the fashion show to ask when my cherry print series would be available (soon. Just let me have a couple weeks off from sewing first, haha!), and to sell a lot of pieces of the course of the day. I did better in a single day at DMC with only a few hundred attendees than I did over three days at Hyper Japan, with tens of thousands of attendees. It's clear what my niche is, much as I might try to run away from it.

Surprisingly, and somewhat annoyingly depending on how you look at it, this past weekend really re-ignited my love for lolita. I don't think I have ever felt so good in any outfit ever, and I don't particularly want to give up on that feeling, or the strong sense of community I felt surrounded by people who have grown to become good friends over time. 

So, Saturday of Dream Masquerade Carnival? An absolute banger where I made memories I will cherish for years to come. 

10 comments:

  1. Your coordinate was beautiful, I love all the little detail and the background only accentuates how great of a coord it is. It really should be reinvigorating your love of Lolita fashion, I don't blame you for feeling that way, not a single bit. I do so, so regret that we didn't get a photo, should've stopped there and then. :( It's a massive shame that there won't be more TPC events for you to be a vendor at, especially since you did so much better there than at Hyper Japan. But I know that the Midland Lolitas were talking about doing another swap/bring and buy meet, as did the Sheffield Lolitas, so maybe you could attend one of them to sell your gorgeous things (I often changed at Doncaster to get to Oxford and from Doncaster Sheffield is just a hop - and Birmingham is just as accessible)? Although I think at some point I'll get another pair of bloomers anyway, just to have as cute pj's because high street women's pyjama shorts absolutely suck!
    Can't wait to see you next and spend a bit more time with you!

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    1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful compliment!

      Gosh, I know. Well, at least I've learnt not to assume there will be time to do things later on-- if the moment is there, just go for it and make it happen! I loved what you were wearing and your petticoat poof was so impressive! I really enjoyed your bendy straw prop-- such a cute and funny idea!

      Yeah, I'm quite sad about that as it's so difficult to find events where the attendees would have any real interest in what I do. The bring and buy meet sounds like an interesting idea I will definitely consider where the Midlands meets are concerned, though. It's a bit of a trek and quite expensive from Reading, but I think it would be nice to do a bit more travel, and the TPC ending is definitely a good incentive.

      You're so sweet! I find bloomers great for lounging around the house in on hot days ^_^

      Me too! Again, it was so lovely finally seeing you in person, and I really hope we can meet and talk properly in a chilled out environment soon! <3

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    2. I've learnt the same, especially in the wake of the announcement that it was the last TPC event. Assuming that there will be a next time or a next chance only made me miss out on stuff so far, so no more! And thank you! I do wonder what happened to that prop after I gave it to another girl in my comm for Sunday... I think she might've left it in her hotel, so I'd be very interested to see what the hotel cleaning staff's reaction was :P

      My knowledge of ticket prices is slightly outdated here, but Reading was only the next stop from Oxford and I usually went past Birmingham, so it can't be that much. And if it is, maybe National Express will come to the rescue with some cheap and not-too-slow coach? Midlands is definitely accessible!

      I've already had my fill of hot days - in London. After that heat coming back to Yorkshire was pretty chilly and it's only gone downhill since. Very tempted to wear a big petticoat to work because: a) pettis = warmth; and b) extra warmth in the form of bloomers doesn't stick out awkwardly from under pettis. :P

      I'm sure we will, no doubts about that. It's only a matter of finding a good time (and good deals on travelling). :)

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    3. Oh, I knew it would be the last TPC event. I could sense the end coming for a while now (though it didn't hit me in the feels any less for that foresight!) It was more that I assumed I'd have a bit more time in the day than I really did! But like you said, no more! We shouldn't put off the things we can achieve right now because the "perfect time" generally doesn't exist.

      I've definitely not written it off by any means, and would be more than willing to go on a field trip ^_^

      The weather has been consistently warm for months here down south to the extent it now feels chilly to me if it goes below 20°C! I need to come up north sometime. Really excited when I saw my invite to a northern tea party! I really hope I can come to that as it would be my very first trip to that part of the country, and would be a potential way for us to hang out <3

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  2. Congratulations on successful vending and fashion show! Your coordinate is also super cute!

    I also have to say I love your pictures and reading your post really made me feel like I was there ^__^

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    1. Thank you so much! The day went better than I could have imagined! I'm glad you like it ^_^

      Ahh that makes me so happy to hear! I'm pleased you were able to get a sense of what the event was like <3

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  3. I am happy for you that this event was such a success and gave you more confidence in your business! I have several friends who have indie lables and it always seems so fulfilling to sell your own items, earning money being less important than seeing people appreciating and wearing your work.

    And thank you very much for mentioning me, I was very happy to meet you again <333 (even if we didn't talked much, but sometimes I have a hard time finding things to talk about ^^'''). That is what I love about our Lolita community and Lolita events, that people from complete different countries can meet in places they don't even live!

    And your outfit looks sooo cute, at every picture I am thinking "cuuute" :D

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    1. Thank you! It was such a good experience for me ^_^ Yeah, that's such a huge part of it-- knowing that your work is going to different people in different places to be loved is the best.

      Aw, don't worry! I'm very much the same, especially in busy environments where there's so many people and things going on. The fact we got to talk at all made me really happy! Hopefully we can have a proper talk again somewhere quieter ^_^

      Ahh thank you so much! I really loved wearing it <3

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  4. You did so well, your stall and models looked incredible!! You should be really proud of yourself for pulling it all together at such short notice, I was very impressed. I loved your coord too, it worked so well with your brand and the tights were a really creative touch. I would have hung out more but my friend didn't know anyone there and I didn't want to leave her alone too much, it would be lovely to catch up properly soon though! I think the future will have lolita events in store. There are already two London meets happening, and there is still Europe events and remote vending, but I know it's not the same.

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    1. Thank you so much! It was a lot of hard work and weeks of very restless sleep, but it was absolutely worth it to see it all come together in the end! I feel pretty burnt out now, though!

      I was so happy with those candy cane socks and I'm glad you liked them, too! They are super long and actually stayed up the entire day. I wish I could find that exact kind of stocking in other patterns/designs because I'd probably not bother wearing any other legwear anymore, haha.

      That's ok! It was such a hectic day I felt like I didn't get to have a proper conversation with anyone and probably unintentionally came off as being rather aloof. Really looking forward to our next catch up!

      Oh, I'm sure there are more events to come, even if it's not the same sort of thing as the TPC anniversary events were. I like the way things ended, though, and even if this event had some hiccups due to its sheer size etc, I will remember it fondly-- especially as it essentially got me feeling positive about lolita again! ^_^

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