Goth Subculture

At the start I was dreading the whole essay writing as I haven’t had much experience with referencing, however, we were introduced to ‘Cath’s columns’ and I feel that this format will help me group my information and reference correctly without forgetting ‘theory’ to back my argument. This will enable me to create a better flowing essay ready for hand in which is in December. The first subculture we looked at was Goth, (one of my favourites), which began in Britain in the early 1980’s.

We analysed a particular image of Goth and used the column to describe the image, analyse and then look through the case studies to prove our thoughts. Goth subculture is interesting to me as I find myself with similar taste. I’m always in black and my wardrobe consists of the colour. I’ve always said ‘I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour…’  What subcultures do is make you realise where you’ve taken your interests from.

How to identify a Goth?

  • The use of extreme black clothing, pale white foundation, extreme black eyeliner, body piercing, unusual hair style.
  • Fascination with Victorian style.
  • Wearing symbols, such as the cross and the pentacle, and satanic pentacle.
  • Fascination with death, the undead.

The Goths changed the Victorian style, clearly identifying they weren’t from that era but chose to modify it and turn it into  ‘Victoriana’. The paleness of the makeup could closely be associated with a vampire. The goths broke a lot of rules, as makeup was known to enhance a woman’s features and make her look attractive, yet they had white faces with thick black makeup. Again, breaking the rules. Making themselves look undead, like a corpse, hence why their clothing has the use of spider webs, coffins, and crosses.  Not only that, but their clothing was ripped, demonstrating the motif of decay. Even the lace trims at the bottle of the dress were torn and various lengths. I find it fascinating how the textiles appeals to various meanings within clothing. Designers who have used gothic style – Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Thierry Mugler and Alexander McQueen.

How can this session relate to my practise?

  • Themes expressed visually
  • Taking something from the past and making it new – modification
  • Different themes
  •  Cultural context
  • Gender
  • Symbolism to convey meanings
  • Literary context – style influenced by the past.



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