Goth is a fashion subculture that adapts with the times to maintain its relevance. In fact, what it is today is a result of this constant adaptation over the years. It would interest you to know it didn't start as grim as it seems today.
When the style emerged in the wake of punk in the 1980s, its adherents wore various colors. Even though there wasn't a specific style to characterize this trend, its major identifier was individualistic and centered on the Bat Cave. Another interesting fact is that most of the clothing associated with the goth style today started as stage wear.
Origins of Goth Fashion
Some of the artists set the tone of goth fashion in the late 20th century. David Bowie set its deep-voiced feminine glamour tone, and Iggy Pop inspired its fiery intensity and eclecticism. Its sad and despairing theme is attributed to Joy Division.
Part of goth's development can also be attributed to former punk artists Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, and The Cure in the 1980s. In the early part of that decade, Siouxsie and the Banshees switched their music style and incorporated a sinister tone. Also, Bauhaus placed self-conscious emphasis on funeral and death-related imagery and sounds in its record "Bela Lugosi's Dead." All of these themes are recognizable in the subculture to this day.
By the mid-1980s, The Sisters of Mercy had been established as the model for aspects of the goth subculture. Just as their music style set the tone for goth bands, so did their dressing influence its fashion. The band’s members wore long coats, dark shades, and black clothes, which further advanced its style.
Towards the end of the 1980s, these bands – The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Mission, etc. – enjoyed massive chart successes. However, because their art incorporated the goth subculture, their success resulted in international exposure for it.
How the Subculture Advanced
In the succeeding decade, the subculture was more underground than mainstream. Its moments of public exposure were very rare and were thanks to high-profile artists like Marilyn Manson. In addition, it gained exposure through emerging metal genres and fashion labels that borrowed from it.
Also, in the 1990s, the subculture incorporated new elements, and new trends emerged. For instance, Japanese goths came up with Gothic Lolita: a combination of cute and creepy. There was also the Cyber Goth trend, which integrated the Rave and Goth styles. Their attire included donning gas masks and goggles, alongside goth fashion elements.
The Revival of Goth Fashion
In the 2000s, there was a revival of the goth subculture with bands like the Horrors. Also, classic goth attires began to gain ground again, but with a twist.
Since then, the goth fashion subculture has built a strong niche for itself. Today, it is as valid as any other fashion style.
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