High-End Goth Revival: Could the Trend Kill the Culture?

A few days ago, my friend went to Barney’s in Beverly Hills and spotted this delightful number. Clock the price tag.

barney's, joy division, goth, shirt, sale,  band

Note the brand is R13

Cue the rage. 

“$225 dollars for a shirt!” Now, any fashionista who has bought in heavily to the life of high-end fashion will probably respond to this with “Then it’s not for you peasant.” The outrage goths display toward these expensive versions of their style isn’t from a place of envy and inaccessibility. If anything, they look at it as designers betraying the entire spirit of goth to play along with consumerism. Remember goth was born out of punk, in a time where basic pieces of clothing were altered to incredible detailed, personal levels that still carry influence today in the fashion world. To goths in my young age group, we find band shirts in thrift stores and it’s a big deal for us and not just for the price range. It’s the experience of finding something and wearing it long after the hashtag is relevant.

madeworn, barneys, goth, the cure, band, shirt

the brand here is MADEWORN

But this is business and honestly? It’s fine. This is exactly what is supposed to happen in the fashion world. Most people have this perception that the big fancy designers decide what the trends are and sometimes they do. But it can also go the other way, like a conversation if you will, where businesses with clientele who have $225 to spend on a shirt have probably been watching the goth trend for a while now. They see demand and how they aren’t answering that demand to their own demographics. A few years ago, it was only a handful independent designers producing strange, alternative-esque fashion for department stores for very limited releases and certainly nothing that boldly displayed icons of goth. If you saw it in a store, it was in…a mall, at Hot Topic or Forever 21.

Never mind, that even the most die hard of fans will sometimes use a familiar design or logo to draw attention to the other things they make (and they do make other things) but to take exact designs will always bother me…

So annoyance isn’t the emotion we need to feel here. It’s actually excitement. 

Best case scenario (borderline fantasy): you have these youngish, wealthy/fashion hungry people with large followings wear these shirts, more specifically be seen in these shirts. I’m not so optimistic to think they’ll magically become goth and care about it the way we do, but that’s not the point. A lot of these Instafamous people have big audiences with young people (not even in their 20s yet), who can’t afford those exact things. So they’ll improvise, they’ll try to emmulate that style in some way…maybe, I don’t know, actually google something for the first time in their lives. They’ll see the culture beneath the trend, and maybe even join in.

Or not, because worst case scenario (another borderline fantasy), “actual goths” will unleash the beast yet again. If enough of them do it and that gets seen (it’s already been mentioned in several think pieces from larger publications) more than influential people in the shirt, it could very well kill the trend (before we figure out what to do with it) and maybe the future of the culture.

That’s heavy handed, it’s never happened before. 

True, but if you say or do something enough it becomes a part of your reputation either for you or your group…and that has happened before. At the end of the day, if you mention it, it’s publicity. So keep in mind how much easier it has been to find cute things at Ross (I mean ROSS of all places) for under $25 and quality black lipstick because the demand is so high (among other things but that’s a story for a different day).

I’m not saying worship Barney’s for giving us a side eye, but if they want to dance, I’ll show them the steps. Publically, so the shy kid in the corner can learn something too.

If you’re looking for shirts and want that dollar to go a long way (to charities), pay our friends a visit:Shirts for A Cure (designed by punk rock photographer, donates all proceeds to fighting breast cancer) and Yellow Bird Project (donates to children with cancer, designed by indie artists). To discover the new generation of sound, follow Glitch Witch (dark indie) and visit the Belfry (old and new school varities of goth).

For more ways to side step bullshit and thoroughly live the strange life, follow this blog by “Joining the Strange Collective” at the top of the page. To see a real life demonstrate, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

One thought on “High-End Goth Revival: Could the Trend Kill the Culture?

  1. Aytakk

    I hope the artists are getting a huge cut of the profits from these. I can imagine revenue discussion something like this… “Oh so you want to use our copyrighted image on a shirt that costs a couple of dollars to make yet sells for a couple of hundred? We want a 50% cut of that profit!”

    As is band tees from the merch stand at gigs aren’t cheap. Here they range from $20-60AU depending on the band. Even more if its a mainstream band playing a big venue.

    I think it will end like all other mainstream goth style trends do. They have their fun and it goes out of style. Then we reap the rewards in the bargain bins and thrift shops!

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