Gothic Style

People usually expect a stereotypical visual idea of what goths wear or how they look, for example black clothing, black hair, black lips, lots of jewellery etc. Some of these could be consistent within the goth style although they could be modernised and additions to these motifs. “to outsiders, it appears fairly consistent with a predilection for black clothing in a combination of faux-period, punk and fetish styles, elaborate jewellery, „vamp‟ make- up for both sexes and dyed hair, also frequently black” (Spooner, 2006, p96)  ‘Vamp’ make-up challenges how it is meant to connote femininity and help make someone look even more beautiful. Goths whiten they’re face, this highlights the undead but also how in the victorian times it was seemed to be more beautiful if you were pale.

The gothic style and sub cultures of goths originally came from the traditional victorian style. This is evident in the corsets and lace that they wear, the shape of the dresses often worn by goth has a similar style to the victoria dresses. “elements of Victorian fashion, such as mourning dress and corsets, became incorporated into Goth style, precisely because (from a modern perspective) they seemed desirably „dark‟ „romantic‟, „mysterious‟, and „macabre‟” (Steele, 2008, p105) Goths drew on the Victorian style although they modify some bits and discarded some of the look.

The gothic style isn’t just based on the victorian styles but also influenced by the gothic literary and cinematic tradition. This suggests the horror behind the gothic style, for example could be influenced by Frankenstein, Count Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. “ a subculture that derives its visual style and preoccupations from Gothic literary and cinematic tradition which first emerged in Britain in the late 70s” (Spooner, 2006, p94)  This represents the horror side of the gothic style, this can be seen in the stitching in the clothes representing the way that frankenstein put together body parts, the undead and corps etc. This is also seen in the jewlerry that they wear and motifs that they wear. The use of jewllery worn represents the victorian style, although has been modernised by the way that they wear crucifix, spiders, cob webs etc. this also highlights the idea of undead and insects that eat away at a corps. Lots of the materials and fabrics used in the dresses are torn and teared, this could suggest the bodily decay after deaths.

There are a range of different sub cultures of the gothic style these could be distinguished by punk, techno goths, fetish goth steam punk, piercings, brightly coloured hair etc. These sub culture have all emerged from the traditional victorian look. Other materials that goths wear is pvc, this challenges the victorian materials that they use which suggests the way that the goths have modernised and the pvc connotes the fetish sub cultures well as studded jewellery and collars usually worn by the fetish sub culture. “important influence has been the fetish scene. PVC and rubber skirts, tops, corsets and collars for example have all been among the most popular styles of clothing for Goths of both genders” (Hodkinson, 2007, p262) 

This session relates to my practice by the way that you can look at traditional and existing designers/styles and how you can incorporate this with new ideas by looking into the past and putting a modern and innovative twist on your own work eg in posters, adverts, type, illustrations etc. I like the way that the gothic style has challenged the traditional victorian gothic style, this has shown me how you can look at traditional design aspect and ‘break rules’ and modify traditional pieces in my own way. Also by looking at a varied of case studies as a source of inspiration to create meaning in our work, not taking anything from the past but having it as influences and modifying it to create new meanings. By looking as the gothic literary and cinematic tradition it has shown me how influences can come from anywhere, not just a existing designer but looking at literature, sources of inspirations, many disciplines, looking at movies, historical styles, stereotypes, novels, articles.


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