Forget punk, hipster, or winter whites — the biggest fashion trend around right now is goth. Lorde is loving it, Vogue is loving it, and even Jennifer Lawrence is loving it, according to this recent XO Jane article on Goth being a “thing” again. I can’t find much evidence of Lawrence doing darque magick or listening to Siouxsie, so she’s probably just a Faux Goth or a Mall Goth rather than an OG UberGoth, but I digress — Goth is BIG in fashion.
But you know who’s not digging the Goth trend? Goths. Especially not Goths on Reddit, which is evidently the new Live Journal, who are wringing their rosaries about XO’s lauding of Goth as a fashion trend. Fashion might have been appropriating subcultures since before Sid Vicious was pretending he knew how to play bass, but its annexation of this one has been particularly traumatizing to founding members of the PermaGoth community. The main gripes can be summarized thusly:
1. Nu Goths/Hipster Goths have not experienced the social ostracizing that Classic Goths have been victim to.
2. Goth is not just about dressing in black and listening to sad music.
3. Revlon Colorstay in Black Cherry is not even a good lipstick.
As ladystranger cites from an OG/Classic Goth blog,
“Nu Goth is a fashion style that takes some of the tropes of casual Goth fashion and mixes it up with Hipster fashion staples like high-waisted shorts, crop tops, and oversized sunglasses. These Nu Goths do not listen to Goth music, they simply wear the clothing that they like. Goths often get up in arms about this “misappropriation” of the word Goth (Like it hasn’t been misappropriated before? But I digress.) This inevitably sparks a lot of controversy between the Goths about if you can be a Goth without listening to Goth music and generally makes a lot of people upset.”
As someone who suffered through a short, difficult, yet wholly self-inflicted Baby Bat phase in high school (we didn’t have Hot Topic but I did wear a spiked collar), I am secretly happy that Goth is a trend. It means creepers and bracelets that double as weapons are readily available without me having to place an order through VampireFreaks, which has the worst user interface ever. And though it is increasingly difficult to discern between the OGs, Nus and normals, does this not also mean that kids who choose to grow up as real Goths are less likely to have “Satan 666!’ screamed at them in the schoolyard? Or as Helen Lovejoy put it, “Won’t somebody please think of the children??”
It’s easy to see the Goth culture as up-for-grabs aesthetically, because it’s not (normally) one that you’re born a member of. Unlike sex or race, Goth is a lifestyle of choice. Though if you do not wish to risk besiegement at the hands of your elders for wearing a spiked choker with American Apparel crop top, be on the safe side and go for Pastel Goth — it’s new, and therefore ripe for appropriation. Just don’t waste your money on Revlon Colorstay.
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