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Gothic Clothing Hits the Mainstream


Origins of an underground scene

The roots of the modern gothic scene were put down during the 19th century, when gothic literature first became popular. Authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Horace Walpole pioneered this kind of writing, which was some of the first horror fiction. Gothic architecture has been around for centuries too, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that goth became its own subculture.

This occurred first in England and, as was the case for many subcultures, it was brought about by a music scene. Bands such as The Cure and The Cult were in the charts and young men and women flocked to follow these new goth icons. Music was therefore vital in the inception of this scene, but so was fashion.

The alternative world of gothic fashion

Goth fashion often appears as monochrome outfits of black and white, but black is the overriding tone of choice for this subculture. You will see a lot of goths with black hair, eyeliner and fingernails. The clothes themselves are often modern twists on period pieces. Victoriana is big in the goth scene, but perhaps given a sexy twist with the addition of some PVC or black leather.

Accessories are all the rage too, and the creepier the better. This means skull rings, spider pendants, black veils, hats and canes. It is this kind of fashion that has inevitably filtered from a very niche scene to high street shops and the fashion mainstream.

Goth fashion in the mainstream

I am a serious goth but I don’t mind a little high street shopping, or scouring the odd fashion mag for inspiration like everyone else does. That’s how I noticed the prodigious amount of gothic apparel in high street shops this season.

Chokers for instance seem to be very popular. They are a goth staple and I saw a number of pretty sexy ones in shops such as Topshop, as well as loads to choose from on ebay. Similarly, black lace is everywhere at the moment!

Stacked shoes are also to be found in a huge number of branded clothing shops at the moment. That includes girlier heels as well as the brothel creepers and huge stacked, studded boots that we sell at Gothic Angel Clothing.

I couldn’t believe the amount of leather on sale at the moment either! I know leather jackets are always popular, but strolling through town I saw a stack of leather tops, trousers and various other items that would usually be the preserve of more specialist shops.

The range of veiled woolly hats in shops like Selfridges and Liberty really illustrated the popularity of goth fashion to me. These items are pure goth and I’m very tempted to pick one up for myself!

But what all this shows is that, right now anyway, gothic fashion is much less a niche thing that I thought it was. Are consumers being led by the shops into what they should wear? Perhaps they are now buying gothic pieces because it’s the first time they have been accessible to them. People may have thought in the past that you had to wear tonnes of eyeliner and long black coats to embrace goth fashion. But fashion is all about wearing whatever the hell you want, and taking bits from various scenes to create your own look.

So gothic clothing has become more popular and it is no longer seen as inaccessible by many people. I think that’s great, and not just because I’m a retailer of goth clothing!


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