BY ELENA VALDEZ
Black clothing and chains don’t make a person goth; it simply makes them trendy nowadays. The rise of internet trends and hopping on the latest bandwagon has left people labeling themselves as one thing without knowing exactly what that entails. Goth culture has existed for years and has slowly gained popularity with classically alternative interests being deemed “mainstream.”
Goth-esque culture dates all the way back to ancient architecture and literature. During the late Middle Ages and Renaissance period in eastern and western Europe, buildings often showcased large stone structures, flying buttresses, intricate details and large arches. These characteristics created a macabre, elusive setting, which earned it the title of “Gothic.”
Although it has increased drastically in popularity, it is important to remember where the subculture comes from and respect the roots of true goth trends.
Gothically designed churches were oftentimes the centerpieces of large cities, drawing attention to the aesthetic being presented. These heavily detailed cathedrals inspired creatives all the way into the early 1700s, when gothic literature began to emerge.
This new form of fiction was a mix of horror and romance, fixated on themes such as death, mutants, demons and madmen. Most notably are the works of Mary Shelley with her infamous tale of the “Modern Prometheus,” aka Frankenstein, and Bram Stoker’s cult classic “Dracula.”
As time progressed, people shifted their focus from reading to listening. Goth music as we know it began in the late 1970s and flourished in the early 1980s. Stemming from punk rock’s underground, far-from-mainstream sound, goth music created a new,somber sound. Whereas punk was angry and pleaded for revolt alongside distorted guitars, goth music was more melancholic and focused on feelings of irrevocable sadness and the misery found within oneself.
With this peculiar sound came a peculiar look. Popular bands kick-started fashion trends and the world followed. Clothing became darker and more distinct for the goth subculture. Previously “punk” accessories, such as fishnets and heavy eyeliner, became staples in gothic wardrobes. Self-proclaimed “goths” adorned themselves in cross necklaces, black skirts and big hair to express themselves amid this newfound trend.
Many claim the first “goth” to grace the music world was Siouxsie Sioux of “Siouxsie and the Banshees.” Both her sense of fashion and style of music aided in defining modern goth. Bands such as “The Cure,” “Joy Division” and “Bauhaus” also rose to fame with their similar sounds and looks.
It is not limited to a specific race or gender, despite the racial and gender-based supremacy still prevalent within the community today.
Goth music advanced from the dark wave minor keys to a more industrial and, influenced by the trends of the 90s, grunge sound. Bands such as “Type O Negative,” “Nine Inch Nails,” “Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids” and “HIM” rose to fame. The visuals of the goth scene shifted as well to a more macabre, nearly grotesque aesthetic to correlate with the influence of industrial music. Grim visuals and distorted sound moved the subculture forward to where it is today.
Music is exactly what the goth subculture is curated around. The distinct fashion and general interest in the morbid and melancholy characterize “goth.” It is not limited to a specific race or gender, despite the racial and gender-based supremacy still prevalent within the community today. Although it has increased drastically in popularity, it is important to remember where the subculture comes from and respect the roots of true goth trends.
Photo by Kayla Florenco