Many thanks to Laurel at The Butterfly in the Belljar for inspiring this post, many moons ago when the Goth Guide still lived on Piczo. (Note: much preferring Blogspot so far. Posting is quicker and easier, there are many less errors to cope with, and readers can comment on every post without having to locate the nearest shoutbox. Plus, how much nicer does this blog look?)
Laurel sent me a message with a link to an article, from which I quote the following: "Three kittens were removed from a home in Pennsylvania by humane officers after it was discovered they were being sold on eBay as Gothic Kittens, complete with ear, neck and tail piercings.
"The Gothic Kittens were first spotted by an eBay user, who arranged to view the cats and couldn't believe what he was seeing, later tipping off authorities. Authorities obtained a search warrant for the home and with the assistance of state police raided the home and saved the Gothic Kittens. According to reports, the seller thought the Gothic Kittens were a great idea and couldn't understand what the issue was.
"Just for a double bonus round, a dog inside the house was also found with pierced ears, and the Gothic Kitten seller runs a pet grooming business."
Hands up, everyone that thinks stabbing a needle into an animal for a non-medical reason is a nice, fun thing to do. Now, if you put your hand up, get the hell off my internets and don't come back.
Laurel suggested that I make a post about how being Goth does not mean that one needs to lack a conscience, nor does it mean cruelty to animals (or other humans, come to that), up to and including the sacrifice of goats or chickens. Since on the whole, members of the Goth subculture have a strong sense of what is right and wrong - many are animal rights activists, eco warriors or anti-war protesters; many more have a strong interest in ethical and organic fashion and cosmetics - I thought I'd take this one step further and offer advice on FairTrade, sweatshop-and-animal-cruelty-free products and alternative brands, for those who want to live their chosen ooky-spooky lifestyle with as clear a conscience as possible.
Lesson one: Auntie A says, don't pierce your pets. Seriously, what was that person thinking...?! SICK in the HEAD. I'd be willing to bet that the Gothic Kitten seller had no involvement with the Goth scene themselves, and just thought that we 'weirdos' would be attracted to their mutilated 'merchandise'. By the way, the kittens (cats, by now) and dog are now healthy and happy, sans piercings.
Cruelty-free list of cosmetics companies (visit the website to find out which supermarkets and shops also operate a FCOD):
- Avalon Natural Products
- Jason Natural Cosmetics
- Barry M Cosmetics (I LOVE Barry M!)
- Beauty Without Cruelty
- Liz Earle
- Daniel Field
- Neal's Yard Remedies
- Faith In Nature
- Green People
- Honesty Cosmetics
Many animal rights activists, vegans etc., both inside and outside the Goth scene, do not wear leather clothing or footwear. So can you still get the Gothy leather look without involving any actual leather? As I'm sure you know, the 'Goth boots' market today is pretty much swamped by the infamous brand New Rock. New Rock pride themselves on using only real leather for their incredible footwear, so they are unfortunately off-limits for the vegan-friendly darkling.
Second most famous footwear brand in the scene is probably Demonia - many of their boots and shoes, luckily, are vegan-friendly.
You may or may not have heard of the Mad Fish brand - Mad Fish boots are gorgeously stompy, and are made using no animal products or by-products whatsoever, and offer "consumer choice and infinite style". Available from Gothic Boots Direct and Attitude Clothing.
If you're into leather-look clothing, you could opt for pleather instead. Pangea makes great pleather belts and gauntlets. It also makes pleather guitar straps, which are apparently very hard to find, although I can't say I've ever looked.
Sweatshop-free Goth clothing? It was difficult to find out which, if any, big-name Goth brands use sweatshop labour, but a tad easier to find brands (usually smaller labels) which DON'T. Fullbleed sells cool emo-ish graphic T-shirts, Dispair Inc sells great T-shirts with depressing and sarcastic messages (I'm all over it) and Paint the Stars makes some pretty cool stuff too, albeit more tailored to the emo/scene styles.
Of course, it would be a crime not to mention the fairly-traded Nomads (who unfortunately seem to do less stuff tailored to the darker alternative scenes these days), Uttam London, Gringo, and other vaguely hippie/ethnic brands who send the occasional bit of Gothy goodness our way. Of course not forgetting the fantastic Jordash/Dark Star brands!
You can buy beautiful FairTrade Gothic clothing at Dragonesque - they stock stunning Dark Star witchy, pagan, medieval and romantic Gothic clothing and cloaks, as well as Green Man Eco Warrior T-shirts, in case pleather guitar straps and vegan boots hadn't got the point across to the crowd at your local Goth Night yet.
Listening to: Doctor Online - Zeromancer