Researching Subcultural Style
During my Constellation study group, Smells Like Teen Spirit, I will be analysing different looks within street style and looking at emerging motifs and themes expressed visually.
I have been looking at the subculture Goth this week.
The research material used for this week:
Hodkinson, P (2007) Gothic Music and Subculture
Spooner, C; McEvoy, E (eds) (2007) The Routledge Companion to Gothic, Routledge, Oxon
Spooner, C (2006) Contemporary Gothic, Reaktion Books, London
Steele, V (2008) Gothic. Dark Glamour, Yale University Press, New Haven.
Image of the Goths
Mourning dress no flesh is shown, borrowed from Victorians. Corsets also a big element to Goth style.
Gloves- in keeping of the Victorian look
Black and purple colours of most of their clothing
Fabric- elements of lace, typical use of lace in the victorian mourning dress
Jewellery- lockets, crucifix, links to the victorian times but also suggests death
Spider/cobweb jewellery insects from ground link to death and being buried underground. This is a new motif
Makeup- this is a contemporary addition. Pale face, often used white makeup to look vampire like, looks like a corpse. Breaks rules of makeup, makeup used to make you look healthy and natural. Black/ blue lipstick, implies death. Red lipstick, vampire inspired for blood
Shredded clothing- This is a new motif. Suggests decay
Stitching- new motif from Dracula. Implies corpses, stitching together dead bodies
Some features are recurring in male goths. For example, they were the same white makeup. They have inputs from the ‘fetish’ scene, such as the chains, studded jewellery, PVC and leather.
The ‘Fetish’ scene (ripped fabric, PVC, leather, piercings, tattoos and coloured hair) have all branched from Gothic style.
The techno goth/ steam punk is a new edition to the gothic scene. However, it still takes aspects of Victorian style such as the corsets but they are made from PVC which is from the ‘fetish’ scene.
How Can the Goth Subculture Relate to My Practice?
- They use recycled materials from the past
- There are combined different meanings
- They draw on historical sources in whatever discipline
- They modify their clothing to create new meanings, something that I could use during my practice
- Cultural context looking at androgynous meaning, breaking rules. Eg- makeup for both males ad females, challenging gender
- The use of symbolism acts as a short hand to convey meanings
- Influences can come from anywhere. Eg- literary context, influenced by movies, the past, other subcultures.