What Is Gothic Style ?
Gothic style is a style marked by conspicuously dark, mysterious, antiquated and homogenous features. It is worn by members of the Goth subculture.
People have made an effort to answer that very question. However, for one reason or another, they have had no success doing so. Even though Goth is something that is fairly new to me, I believe I’m the first one who will have success answering the question that has mystified and baffled just about everyone else. So here goes…
I believe in order to unlock the mystery that is Goth, we have to go back to the early 1980s and travel to the United Kingdom. That is where the Goth scene got its true beginnings, in the Gothic rock scene (an offshoot of the post-punk genre). It really exploded in 1983 when myriad Goth groups emerged – Flesh for Lulu, Play Dead, Rubella Ballet, Gene Loves Jezebel, Blood and Roses, and Ausgang.
The Goth subculture of the 1980s drew inspiration from many sources: horror movies , literature, Vampire cults, mythologies (Celtic, Christian, Egyptian), and various traditions of Paganism. Friedrich Nietzsche, Salvador Dali, and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the ancestors of the Goth movement. Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Anne Rice, and William Gibson are some of the writers who also had a tremendous influence on the movement.
This brings me back to the question I asked at the start of this article: what is the Goth style? Well, in order to answer that, I need to explore the different facets of Goth, starting with:
Gothic Style Fashion –
Since Goths are people who find beauty in things others consider dark, black is the definite go-to color, even though it may surprise some that Goths don’t always wear black. Your typical Gothic fashion consists of dyed black hair, dark eyeliner, black fingernails, black period-style clothing. Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, and John Galliano have brought Goth elements to the runway; they’re the innovators of “Haute Goth”.
One of the first movies to make an interconnection between horror and Goth was “The Hunger”, a vampire-themed film released by MGM in 1983, starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Catherine Deneuve. Director Tim Burton created an atmosphere filled with darkness and shadow in some of his films, most notably “BeetleJuice”, “Batman”, and “Edward Scissorhands”. Also drawing directly on the Goth style are the films “The Crow” and “Underworld”.
The Goth scene is as strong today as it was when it first came into being in the early 1980s. The two countries in which the Goth scene is especially strong are Germany and Japan. Most of the annual festivals for Goth take place in Germany , including Wave-Gotik-Treffen (Leipzig) and M’era Luna (Hildesheim); both festivals attract tens of thousands of attendees.
Gothic Identity –
Who are truly members of the Goth subculture? Well, we have on one end of the spectrum the “Uber-Goth”, someone who seeks a pallor so much that he or she applies a lot (and I mean a lot) of white foundation and white powder. And on the other side of the spectrum we have “Poseurs”, wannabes who are young kids going through the Goth phase who don’t necessarily hold to Goth sensibilities but want to be part of the Goth crowd. One well-known performer, Marilyn Manson, has been rejected by a number of Goths as a poseur who undermines the true meaning of Goth.
So, in conclusion, what is the Goth style? It is a style of being different from the crowd. It is a style of being unique. And finally, it is a style that isn’t in danger of going away any time soon.