Todays Constellation session was based around the subculture ‘Goth’, we were mainly looking at the first generation of Goths in the late 70’s early 80’s and what the subculture meant to them, and what it meant in general at that time. We also discussed the fundamentals of what makes a subculture, such as ‘anti-fashion’, ‘statements’, ‘anti-establishment’, ‘anti-highstreat fashion’, and ‘anti-mainstream, which are key words academics use when describing any subculture.
Subcultures are known for having an ‘Us and Them’ mentality, because of the way they make themselves difference from the rest of society, and refuse to conform. Subcultures also have specific ideology and beliefs that they express visually through Hair, Clothes, Objects, Posters, Album Covers, Music, Tattoos, and general ‘Stylistic Pattern’. Subcultures tend to based around generation and desensitisation, how the the statements they’re making are representative of the values of the society in which the subculture evolved in. Is there such a thing as a subculture anymore? Generally fashion in general is a fusion of looks from all different kinds of subcultures, by borrowing signature features from the different existing subcultures. A brilliant example of this are different modern celebrity styles, such as ‘The Pretty Reckless’ who combines gothic features, such as platform boots, lots of black, and pale skin with dark eye makeup, but she combines this with high end couture, and rocker inspired clothing, such as graphic t-shirts.
How do you spot a subculture in a room? How can you tell the difference between the Punk and the Goth? Can you anymore? When we were analysing the subculture Goth, we talked about in order to determine where your example conforms to a subculture, you have to determine the rules that make the original version of the subculture (i.e. whether the image conforms to the traditional 1980’s view of the goth, or whether they’re a modern interpretation of the goth, which has taken influences from other subcultures). We then looked at the different elements that made the goth subculture, and you could and couldn’t wear that would make you identifiable as a goth. The original generation of Goths, took their main inspiration from 19th Century Gothic Literacy, architecture and Horror films based on these such as Frankenstein and Dracula. Gothic Literacy made a lot of references to Death and Decay, which the idea to look as if they were the undead. They Drew selectively upon a variety of distinct styles, so gothic dress took huge influence from traditional mourning wear and corsets of the victorians, but with references to the death and decay, through the makeup, jewellery etc. Goths were fairly authentic and historically accurate in their dress, but had made modifications.
They used the traditional high neckline, bodes, hat, lace dress, floor length, with no skin showing and wearing crucifixes to ward of evil from the mourning look, but then they paired it with the excessive which face of makeup with extremely dark over the top eyes(referencing the undead of the gothic literacy). Other than the traditional, they are selective with colours, and the original goths were also selective with materials, as silk, velvet and lace, were accepted, and the Leather/PVP wear didn’t come in until later generations of Goths.
With the strong connection to death and decay in Goth style, they often tried to reference it where ever it was possible, for example they often used Spiders, and worms in jewellery, and wore lots of clothes that is well worn, old, unravelling, reflecting the bodies process after death, where the body decomposes decays and disintegrates. As I said, there are many new generations of Goths, like most subcultures, and in the case of Goth Style, the Japanese revived it by the fusion with other styles, with various components of each, creating different versions of the Goth, e.g the Gothic Punk(Piercings, Tattoos, Coloured Hair, Combat Trousers, Large Heavy Buckled Boots); Gothic Lolita; Techno Goth (Inspired by the Matrix, Dreads, Corsets, Traditional Goth makeup, Fishnet, Bondage, but much brighter, with lots of colours); Fetish Wear(Inspired by Punk, taking Fetish and Bondage wear to the street, which was hugely controversial); and Stream Punk (Recreating the Victorian Style in the 2000’s).
(Style References; Siouxsie Sioux-80’s Goth Public Figure, wore Studded Belts, Cuffs, Bondage wear, Fishnet body/Leotard ripped. John Richmond. McQueen Fashion) Questions for thought *What aspects of different ‘looks’ resurface beyond the street? -Something created for controversial street style recreated for high street fashion. What have modern designed such as McQueen kept, and what factors have they dropped. *What connotations are reinforced? *What are the implications of this? e.g. Stereotyping/influencing new style. Below are examples of 80’s Goth Fashion;
Below are two examples of Modern Goth Fashion;
Personally I believe that defined subcultures are a thing of the past, made as a result of the period in time, and I believe that because fashion wise, most clothing choices are completely accepted in everyday society, so making statements and a movement through your clothing is a hard feat to achieve, and the same goes for Music taste. The only things that resemble subcultures now are based around going against mainstream fashion, but not about making a statement, which the original subcultures of the 70’s/80’s were all about.