First of all, what is goth? The subculture of goth arose from dark yet romantic scenes that stem from rich literature, architecture, style and music. Goth has been a very powerful influence on the world, not just on the runway but also on street style, fashion trends, movies and music. It’s an explosion of individuality, and its impact on our culture is simply immeasurable.
Goth subculture is about the love of the dark & mysterious, drawing inspiration from Medieval, Edwardian and Victorian styles, as well as gothic literature and romanticism. While the scene was developed mainly in the 1980s by fans of bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus and other Gothic rock, as a dark aesthetic it is rooted in gothic art & architecture from the mid-12th to 16th centuries. Think about the bewitching architecture of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, or Liptizig’s - there is a reason why Wave Gotik Treffen, the biggest gothic gathering in the world, is taking place in this German city!
Defining the ideology of Gothic is difficult, as it is mostly based on the individual character of those involved, a typical feature of Romanticism and Neo-Romanticism. The tendency of the goths towards the dark, the mystery and the difficult definition is in fact part of the tradition. The expression of individual existentialism is mixed with a consciously theatrical and self-dramatized aesthetic (this is the origin of backcombed hair, black eyes and lips, white skin).
The nature of this movement is apolitical. The Gothic rebellion is drawn almost exclusively by the collective imagination. Unlike the hippies and punks, goth culture never expressed itself in activist warnings. The goth movement is in fact based on individualism, tolerance towards diversity and creativity; in some cases, it tends towards intellectualism and antipathy for social conservatism, but these ideas are not common to all goths. Liberalism to anarchy is understood as a matter of personal conscience.
Goth fashion really came to light in the 1980s. Dark clothing which stemmed from rebellious punk aesthetics then merged with Victorian romanticism, creating the goth fashion styles that are known today. When you look at Victorian beauty standards, you will see that pale skin was once very sought after, hence why a lot of goths use corpse paint, or pale foundation to lighten their skin. This is then combined with long elegant dresses, tightly-laced corsets and plenty of accessories. The punk scene contributed dark make-up, leather and spiky accessories. This fusion of two completely different styles truly helped to make goth fashion everything we know and love today.
Even though goth fashion came to light in the 80s, it was actually the 60s when the term “goth” originated. In the early days, it was used to describe a particular genre of music. Singers from Siouxsie and the Banshees and even the Damned dominated the scene. Goth was also being more represented in cinema, with the arrival of Nosferatu by Werner Herzog in 1979 and David Lynch’s Eraserhead in 1977. This helped to influence the world of goth fashion even more, adding fuel to the fire and igniting the burning creativity of young minds across the world.
Goth fashion in the 1980s is predominantly known for dark eyeliner, velvet cloaks and mourning clothes. Siouxsie's famous gothic look happened to include black clothes combined with cat-eye makeup and very deep lipstick. This shocking, contrasted look took the fashion scene by storm and she soon found herself being a beacon of light for people who were trying to bring the world of gothic fashion into a new age.
The 90s look for goths embraced mini-skirts, with skinny jeans being a major feature. A black dress or a heavy leather jacket could also be worn. The punk scene was in full swing here and the world of fashion saw even more famous faces adopting this look. Keep on reading to find out more in this guide to goth style.
In the ’00s, in terms of fashion, goth meant black and red eyeshadow with either no eyebrows or very thin, styled brows. Although people once focused on having black hair, the scene soon changed, with people sporting dual tones. Dreadlocks made a huge comeback and if you had cut-out gloves then you could pair these with any goth outfit and look the part. During this time, goth models became much more popular, and they started to become more mainstream.
Even though goths are often seen as being the minority, it would seem that more and more people are welcoming this style. In fact, if you look at the fashion world, you will soon see that the fashion trend has been at the forefront of the catwalk. If you look at the Spring collection in 2021 from Rick Owens, Sacai and even Yohji Yamamoto, you will soon see that goth fashion is very predominant. Mainstays such as Noir Kei Ninomiya are also very popular. Now it would seem that goth is making a huge comeback and that things such as spiked colours, mismatched warmers and chains are now more prominent than ever. Plaid is also a major influence in goth style, and it is becoming more popular by the day.
So now you know that goth fashion doesn’t just focus on one influence. It focuses on a lot of different things, from movies to music, fashion and even architecture. Over the years, goth fashion has certainly changed a lot, but that being said, it is also surprising to see that it has become so big that it can be broken down into various subcategories. This is especially the case when it comes to fashion. Take a look below to learn more about the guide to goth style.
Traditional goths tend to be inspired more by music, such as the bands that came out around the 80s. If you look at the fashion style in general, you will see that it normally revolves around fishnets, leather jackets, huge hair, the typical Victorian pale skin and of course, big boots. New Rock boots are incredibly popular in this type of fashion category and have made a huge resurgence in the last decade.
If you classify yourself as a romantic goth, or if you want to explore this realm of fashion then you should know that it is predominantly based on literature. With heavy Victorian influences, you might see more lace than leather with a romantic goth. This sub-category often revolves around those who have a strong connection to poetry as well as literature. Even though it has heavy Victorian influences, it’s important to know that it’s not all about black for romantic goths. Red is a huge colour, adding a splash of vibrancy to the fashion world. It is also seen as a bit more of a creative style, with many choosing to bend the rules to create stunning outfits that have gone on to inspire even more sub-categories.
If you are a pastel goth, or if you relate to this style, then you should know that it does focus a lot on the heavier/darker aspects of the goth style, but it also incorporates softer colours too. If you look at the Kawaii fashion scene, you will see that it is very much a prominent style and even though it is changing all the time, it is still very popular with those who choose to embrace it.
Bandannas, flowing dresses and soft material, hippie goths tend to focus on things like this over the leather and boots ensemble. With hippie goths, you can expect a lot of pagan influences, with a primary focus on the occult, religious beliefs and imagery.
Goths who classify themselves as being vampire goths tend to take heavy influences from movies such as Nosferatu and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You can expect to see pointed teeth, dark make-up and sometimes, pointed blood-red nails. Tattoos are very common, along with piercings.
Cyber goths often have dreads with baggy black pants, chains and neon colours. You can expect to see steampunk influences here too, with a lot of focus on being bright, while contrasting things heavily with black, as stated in this goth guide.
Next, you have the bubble goth. This is a relatively new movement, and it was created by Kerli Koiv. She wants to turn the world of goth on its head, by creating something that takes light and dark before putting them together to create something unique.
Tribal gothic fashion focuses on the themes you would see in belly dancing. You have a blend of traditional goth styles, and this helps to add a whole new dynamic to the style as we know it.
Casual goths wear dark clothing that you would expect with the goth style, but it also embraces colours that are not just limited to the standard black shades. It’s forever changing, and that is what is beautiful about it.
If you want to find out more about goth clothing or if you want to buy something unique, then we have a range of dark style clothing available. We have everything that you see above, in numerous sizes, colours and choices. Why not pay our site a visit today to view more of our gothic clothing? We have a huge range of accessories too!
We hope you enjoyed this guide to goth. Goth might have changed a lot over the years, but at the same time, it has become a beautiful explosion of unique styles that have all come together to create not just a new form of fashion, but a lifestyle.
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