February 1, 2009

Community Feature: Designer Megan Amo

I recently had a chance to interview Lolita designer and artist Megan Amo, better known as Megwa online, about her designs, work and original prints!

As a designer, artist and seamstress, you've sold your work at Pacific Media Expo (PMX), shown it on the runway at Anime L.A., and sell your pieces online. How did you get into Lolita and making Lolita clothing?

Birdcage Reverie Print, photo ⓒ John Maidment

Honestly, I can't even remember how I got into Lolita! I think my general interest in Japanese culture somehow led me to to it. As for making Lolita clothing, I have to say that I was initially quite intimidated by the style. I learned a lot through the EGL community and by talking with different vendors at anime conventions. I also got a lot of encouragement from Rene Twaite of The White Peacock, who just opened the first Lolita fashion physical store location in the U.S. last September - she told me not to be intimidated and just do everything with my whole heart.

Do you have any funny or unusual stories to share from your first sewing days or conventions?

Not everyone may know this, but two of my models from the Anime L.A. fashion show were actually male. I was very fortunate to have found them, because they carried the looks perfectly. No one really realized it until they spoke! When someone asked for a photo and heard the deep voice in response, he nervously said, "Uhh...I forgot something...I'll be right back...." After that, we never did see him again.

Who are your favorite designers, Lolita or otherwise?

I really like the designs of Alice and the Pirates and h.NAOTO.

You're one of the few Western Lolita designers out there to make your own prints. Where did you learn to do this and what got you started?

I don't know that I necessarily "learned" it, I just took my artwork to a professional screen printer to do it for me. (laughs) In the beginning, I simply decided that I wanted to make something completely my own, so I went out and had my own fabric printed. Then, my sister who is a lawyer, insisted that she help me get my prints legally protected because they came out so well. In time, my desire to be unique grew into my goal to make garments that would be comparable to brand clothing.

Which is your favorite print out of the ones you've made?

Definitely Clockwork Enchantment, because it's completely different from anything that has been done before.

Clockwork Enchantment Print, photo ⓒ John Maidment

What inspires you as an artist or designer?

I find inspiration in many things...I can't say anything in particular inspires me because sometimes I'll be minding my own business and then "BAM!" it hits me.

What advice would you give to any beginning Lolita seamstress?

Sewing is a gradual learning process, so don't feel bad if your first attempts aren't up to your expectations. Also, don't be afraid to try new techniques! If you ever make a mistake, then you can learn from it for the next time.

Thank you, Megan! To see more of her work and learn more about her, check out her journal here.

Photos ⓒ John Maidment and used with permission.

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