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Friday, 10 January 2014

Fatigue with Goth?


As you've all been well aware, I've been venturing into new territory in terms of fashion. Not only have I been finding new inspiration in the twenties and mainstream trends, but I've been feeling a little tired with gothic fashion (and to a lesser extent with the music), and unable to feel like making an effort beyond a cursory nod to my usual monochrome colour palate. Part of it is due to the horrendous Scottish winter, which makes me want to wrap up in as many layers of knitwear as possible and hibernate, and also feeling too ill for anything more than jeans and a tee, but I've not been inspired by my usual idols in clothes or in music, and I didn't want to force it; it was weird feeling a disconnect from what has been a bit part of my life for a few years now, but it would be worse to stick it out and force myself to stay with a persona for the sake of loyalty.

I'm happy to say that, after a brief holiday, my goth side is back with a vengeance.

When coming back home after a trip away, it refreshes anew everything special about it. After I began to feel more like making an effort with life, I ended up flicking through pinterest photos of Siouxsie Sioux and listening to old Banshees hits. And rather than feeling tired and over-played, my favourite albums were refreshed and captured me again. And just like that, my enthusiasm for gothic and post punk subcultures was revived.

As goths, we often make a big deal about how it's not just a phase, and how this is a lasting passion - which is understandable, giving the amount of slander many of us have received about how we'll be back in blue denim when we get a 'real' job. But one of the things I think is most integral to any alternative lifestyle is accepting that it may well be a phase, and not being afraid to drop everything and chase inspiration or sit down the make up and put something else on the record player. As a result of my period of wandering, I've not only rekindled an old love, but also given myself more ideas and stimuli than ever from areas I didn't expect.

Just as important as not being afraid to step away from well trodden paths, the experience made me think about what goth means to me. Many of my friends don't understand the dichotomy between music and fashion in the subculture, and how integral fashion is to the goth scene. I could relate it to dressing for the occasion, but it's more central than that; it's dressing for how you feel. Gothic music, the beating heart and backbone and soul of the movement, is dark and twisting, and has a wrenching beauty that's almost painful. It takes me up in that and makes me feel dark and mysterious and something more than mundane, as silly as that sounds, and I want to represent that in how I dress. There's a delicate balance between beauty and ugliness in goth fashion which is translated from the music; not only does goth challenge what you consider beauty to be, it forces you to think about whether beauty is even important or not. I rarely get compliments when I'm looking particularly gothic, and often get told I 'look so much nicer with lighter make up'. But I don't mind, even if those comments are a little insensitive, because it's not them I'm dressing for.

I'm glad I stood back from goth and considered it. It's made me far happier in my own skin, and more aware of its importance to me.






Fee

7 comments:

  1. Lies! I compliment you every time you goth up.

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  2. Lovely post. :) Your explanation of gothic fashion was beautiful, and actually helpful--I taught my mom about the subculture the other day and struggled to find the words to explain the relationship between all its aspects. You did it perfectly; congrats!

    I'm happy to hear that you didn't lose your goth side. While it is true that we must accept that some features of our life do change, and that we must pursue our truths, I always feel a little twinge of pain when someone leaves the subculture. Perhaps because it means so much to me, and I like to see others live happy gothy lives.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad it was useful - as I said, the period of reflection did help me too. :P I do find it sad when people lose their connection with goth too, but each to their own! It's better if they don't stick with something that isn't for them.

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  3. I really empathise with the last paragraph on the role of clothes within the subculture. The fashion is very much a visual manifestation of the same aesthetic as the music. I guess in the same way as people still need holidays off from jobs they truly love, a holiday from the subculture can be helpful, and it seems like you have returned with renewed vigour :).

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    1. Yeah, that's my attitude - it was almost a sabbatical, in some ways. Friends of mine don't really understand why the fashion is important, but it's so closely linked to the music in ways I didn't fully notice before.

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    2. Sometimes it's like the music is just part of a grand (rock) opera, where the visual drama is as important as the musical drama, and where the lyrics are as important as the sound.

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    3. Yeah, I think the atmosphere and the visuals make up a large part of the scene, which elitists and those outside don't seem to get (because apparently music is deeper and more worthwhile than silly girlies and their dresses?), but I love that aspect.

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