Samhain/Halloween is here, and you may be feeling a little vampy. If there’s ever a time to put aside your colourful garb and go for something dark and sultry, it’s this week. It’s the season of witches and wandering spirits, after all – weird and wonderful dressing is expected!
This is a great time to borrow a few ideas from gothic folk. But who are goths and what are they all about?
The goth sub-culture evolved in the 1980s as Punk declined, and today goths come in too many varieties to mention. Gothic clothing borrows from Punk, Victorian and Romantic styles, to name just a few. Like hippies, goths are individuals, with many influences that take them away from the mainstream – including music, film, literature and art.
Being a goth is not just about eccentric clothes, makeup and hair. There are no rules – goth isn’t a cult! They can be religious or non-religious. Goths are not negative or down. Mostly, they accept that life has both light and dark aspects. According to What Is Goth, they ‘find beauty in what others consider dark’ and most admit to having a dark sense of humour.
Goths are inspired and engaged by history and mythology, which is perhaps why corsets and black lace are so readily associated with the Gothic movement. In fact, the Victorians went through their own goth ‘phase’, when they became influenced by medieval architecture and historical folklore and mysticism (it’s worth pointing out that today’s goths aren’t ‘going through a phase’ though, any more than hippies are going to ‘grow out’ of being who they are!) The Victorians were obsessed with the supernatural and the uncanny. Gothic fiction, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, explored the murkier depths of the collective psyche – sexuality, questions of gender, duality, and the Other. Seriously spooky stuff!
So, history’s influence lends another layer to the modern goth movement. Steampunk, for example, is one branch of goth culture that favours artistry and craft over mass-produced, throwaway gear – which is a much more modern preoccupation.
But why do non-goths love borrowing from macabre and occult styles at this time of year? Maybe it goes back to those light and dark aspects of life. Non-goths get to acknowledge other parts of themselves at Halloween more than perhaps any other time of year. If hippies can learn anything from goths, it’s that life isn’t just about the bright and beautiful – sometimes things get dark. But, depending on your perspective, there is wonder in everything.
In the spirit of Gothic glam, here are our top Hippy Clothing picks for your All Hallows’ festivities:
- Black hippy festival shrug – this will pair perfectly with your favourite dress
- Peacock feather corset with frill – Victorian goth at its finest
- Cotton Thai hippy skirt with crochet detail – wear with chunky black boots
- Multicoloured tie dye leggings – who says goths don’t like colour?
- Ragged hem pixie hooded top – dark pixies need this top!
Still need inspiration? Watch this great videofor a history of gothic looks, from punk to pastel. See you on the dark side!