High Fashion meets Mall Goth

Or so Vogue says. Monica Kim recently came out with a “fresh new take” on the influence of goth in fashion, and tonight, I’ll give them a run for their money. Links are underlined, quotes in italics.

Now, if you’re not familiar with fashion, goth, in particular, becomes palatable for the masses every seven or so years. Most trends that can be reimagined and given an updated look sort of following this cycling. That means for the next six to nine months of goth appearing on mainstream fashion’s radar we’re going to hear about “dark, vampy looks” until we can’t stand to see “ox blood” lipstick anymore.(Yeah, it’s a “new” trend that haunts us every goddamn year). If you’re not familiar with goth; it’s not just for pale people (several of these gothic lines featured models of color), there are several strong branches of goth style, and it’s more than black lipstick.

We’ll start with the picture they used. It’s from 2002, of an over the top editorial shoot that couldn’t be further from mall goth. So is this just click bait, and if it is, who is it for?


Honestly, it’s one of my favorite pictures. Photo: Steven Meisel, Vogue, Nov. 2002

“The aughts?” Do you mean the noughties? 2000s? Because the mall goth has been around for um…decades, and even within goth itself, there’s a seperation between mall goth and traditional goth. A simple google search could have told you that.


The Marc Jacobs show in question is for Fall/Winter 2016-2017, and many high end designers will utilize gothic fashion for their lines. In this line, the make up is…sort of goth. I don’t know. Most of the models featured nude lips (though she billed this in a way that sounded like every model had black lipstick), a very soft look in the face overall (no sharp highlighting and contouring) and the only noteworthy goth thing is the big sweeps of black cream across the eyelids and/or fine eyeliner detail. More a ready to wear line although the exaggerated silhouettes dance on the edge of haute couture, for a Fall/Winter show, I wouldn’t call it revolutionary, just standard reminiscing of the style.

vogue 2

All the photo credit said was “Getty”, but this is from Harper’s Bazaar, Marc Jacobs’ FW 16/17

It’s at the mention of Louis Vuitton, she loses me. Both this line and the Marc Jacobs line are gorgeous in their clothing, and the make up is minimal, so why is she focusing on the smaller part of the picture? And when her coup de grâce comes out, it’s active wear with Puma written all over it? Not that I don’t like what Rihanna did, but I wouldn’t say those clothes as the epitome of goth for fashion week. Every major fashion outlet has been trying desperately to convince the world Rihanna is the queen of goth. “...primed for a comeback“? No, we just had dark fashion overload in every price range of clothing. It’s springtime in Normie land, they’re not going to be wearing head-to-toe black in the ever increasing heat of summer. Why did she write this at the end of MARCH?

Near-flawless skin is the key to balancing intense gothic makeup—without it, I find, the color contrast highlights every flaw—” She got that part right though. Diligent skincare is the base of all good makeup. Mmm, wait, spoke to soon. “Starting from scratch the next day, I opt for matte black and swatch it onto my lips to sheer horror. Despite my clean complexion, I look instantly sallow; a coworker declares I look dead, while my less-than-perfect lip shape is spotlit for the world to see.” So, pointers. One, applying darker lipstick is a fine art, the tiniest mistake can be seen as people approach you. Start small, whether in a full black lip, or by blending black into another lipstick. Two, go big or go home. This make up style is all about sharp contrast, exaggerated features, or, my obvious personal favorite, looking very painted. She mentions changing matte black, for dewy lips, and jet black talons for soft pastel manicure and I’m fully put off now.

It’s those playful touches that make it all work (work, work, work, work), and singlehandedly make the case for the return of the mall goth. This time, with less LiveJournal.” This last line is what makes me feel like either she, or Vogue, or both is trying to be relevant. I get it, you mentioned Rihanna twice already, and whipping her hair back and forth. Were the multiple “work”s, as much as I’m sure you are feeling your modified goth look, really necessary?

Final feelings: I’m sure mainstream fashion still doesn’t know how to receive or incorporate darker styles into an every day wardrobe. It’s an all or nothing gamble, because if done poorly, it can look lazy. There’s no real reason this article should have been written now, because it would have been better timed at the end of summer, when we would be seeing the influence of these looks trickle down into an actual mall goth budget. But there is the problem, because mall goth is associated with baby bat at times, and something not every goth uses to identify themselves (and even then, it’s jokingly). So it won’t even catch the attention of the goth crowd. Vogue missed the mark with this one and I don’t know why no one bothered to steer her back on track.

To find out how to get the most out of the looks on the runway, take moment to follow this blog by “Joining the Strange Collective” at the top of this page. For other strange perspectives, follow me on Instagram,Facebook, YouTube, and now Twitter.. Coffin notebooks coming soon to  The Dream Lounge, so get ready darlings.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

3 thoughts on “High Fashion meets Mall Goth

  1. Eva P.

    Bravo! Great job!! Who the hell wants to be a “mall goth” anyway? I buy stuff from hot topic but pair them with so much other designers. I agree no fashion junkie is going to go goth and no goth kid is going to be reading vogue

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