Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Gothy Q&As, number 2

I wasn't intending to do a second Q&A post this month, but I've got so many to answer I figured I may as well get on with it! (That's not a complaint, darklings, far from it!)

Bibian Blue
Source: Tumblr
Leontina asked: "I was wondering, isn't buying a whole bunch of clothes in Camden pretty much the same as buying "off-the-rack" gothwear at Hot Topic? Why is it okay to order directly from Lip Service, but buying things from Hot Topic make you a poser?"

I can see Leontina's point here - why is buying brand name stuff at a market, an independent alt shop or online any different than buying it from a chain store like Hot Topic? Well, firstly, buying from market stalls or alt shops (websites or physical stores) means that your money stays 'within the scene' - it goes to the traders and store owners who love the dark alternative scene so much they've opened their own shop, and through them will bring more dark'n'spooky delights to the shelves. Whereas money paid to a chain store like Blue Banana or its US equivalent goes to anonymous corporation fatcats who see Goth as nothing more than a consumer market.

Secondly, Camden is not just full of brand name stuff, if you know where to look. There are independent shops like No:Wear who stock their own unique, handmade goods; and many market stalls and traders who are also selling hand-created one-offs. To avoid the off-the-rack look, avoid buying brand and look for one-of-a-kind DIY-ed stuff made by people who appreciate the scene as much as you do.

Rebecca asked: "Hi Amy, does anyone tell you what to wear? Random people come up to me and say you should have black hair and piercings. This is really annoying. I have strawberry blonde hair and no piercings or tattoos and I'm proud because that's how I feel comfortable. Sorry for ranting but does anyone tell you how you should look?"

Hm. Not really. I suppose being pale, pierced, tattooed and black-haired I am pretty much the image of a stereotypical Goth. The only comments I get are the opposite: 'women shouldn't have tattoos' or 'those piercings have ruined your looks'. If you're comfortable and confident the way you are, then seriously, don't let it get to you. There's no need for you to conform to a stereotypical image unless it's what you like and what suits you.

Eclipse asked: "Thanks for this page. This has helped me a lot come up with some new ideas for clothing and adding a more individual touch too my look. Though I was wondering if you could help me find some example pics. I can't find any good ones online other than yours here and The Gothic Asylum and the various bands I know. Thought maybe you could help with all your gothic know how."

Heheh. I have Gothic know how. ^^

I get my pics from sites like Tumblr, Photobucket and We Heart It, by searching for basic terms like 'goth', 'gothic', 'cyber', 'lolita' and 'steampunk'. You could also try Deviant Art and Flickr. Even Google Images is pretty helpful, although search terms like 'goth festival' come up with more interesting and varied pics than just 'goth'.

Amy asked: "I just wanted to know, Amy are you American?"

British, actually. ^^

Jon asked: "hey amy i wanna ask if i can do pierc in my house cuz in my country they dun make piercing in lips or eye brows so i need help is that k ?!? cuz i can do it with needle but i wanna make sure if its not harmful."

Um... some people do self-pierce but for someone who's not experienced I wouldn't recommend it. If you hit an artery you could bleed to death; hit the wrong nerve and you could paralyse your face. Also, it will REALLY hurt. Don't go there.

Rose asked: "hiya Amy see i like piercings and tattoos but i hate geting them (i only have my ears pierced) but can I still be goth without all my piercings and tattoos??"

Of course you can. Body mods are a personal choice and not a requirement for being part of the scene.

Yvonne asked: "Can you give me a good place to buy goth clothes cheap in England cuz most of my goth stuff that i bought cost a fortune."

The trouble with Goth fashion is that you either have to spend quite a bit of money on custom made or brand name pieces, or be prepared to invest some time and effort in amassing your wardrobe. Rather than looking for no-effort, expensive items from alt stores, try looking in 'mainstream' high street shops such as New Look and Peacocks for simple items such as black skirts and jeans, blazers, shirts and blouses, waistcoats, vest tops in black, red and purple etc. These can be mixed and matched for an easy, everyday Goth wardrobe.

For a more unique look, try browsing charity shops in your area. It may take a few trips to find some nice pieces, but keep checking back because you never know what will have just been donated. You can find second-hand brand name clothing at cheap prices, as well as non-brand-name pieces that will work equally well with the Goth aesthetic, such as lacy dresses, corset tops, slogan T-shirts, velvet skirts etc.

Lastly, getting to grips with some basic DIY will help no end. I get a lot of comments from people who 'suck' at DIY, but anyone can rip a hole in a pair of tights, safety-pin a patch onto a plain T-shirt, fray the hem of a denim skirt, or use a machine dye to change the colour of a flowy cotton dress. Voila, budget Goth.

Bliby182 asked: "What about my hair? My parents have a strict NO dyeing policy - not even temporary! It's just a boring brown and I absolutely can't stand it! What can I do to sneak around it?"

Fake hair is your friend! You can pick up clip-in streaks online or from high street shops like Claire's. These are no-fuss and add instant streaks of rainbow colour. Some sites stock hair falls, which you can clip or tie over a ponytail to give you a whole new head of hair in dozens of colours and styles - everything from neon green plastic tubing to raven curls to pink dreadlocks. Use a wide fabric hairband to cover your natural hair and no one will know that the falls aren't actually your hair. You can also get fake fringes, either on clips or on an elastic hairband, so you can give yourself an instant V-fringe if you want to. Wigs are a more expensive option, but fun if you have the money for it.

Would the dyeing policy cover coloured gel? You can find coloured styling gel in most drugstores. It washes out easily. In a pinch, interesting hair clips and fascinators will make your 'do look more interesting - skulls, bats, feathers and veils can all be added to a simple style to give it (I hate this expression) the 'wow factor'.

Lastly, I found a video in my charity shop today. It was called Addams Groove, and purported to be some sort of dance collaboration between the Addams Family - and MC Hammer. Yes, he of the white harem pants. After recovering from the shock, I came home and researched this terrifying creation further on YouTube. I believe this song was used for the end credits of one of the Addams Family movies - somehow the MC Hammer connection never registered in my mind. You can view this abomination of the natural order here.

Listening to: The Dope Show - Marilyn Manson


Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

This is just me, but No-Dye Girl, my mother had the same policy (hypocritical, she's been grey as a mule and dying her hair since she was 25). I went and cut all my ass-long hair off and dyed it purple without telling her. I also got my ears pierced that day. Did she go ballistic? You bet. Was there anything she could do? No. I know, I know, I'm a terrible influence, but that's always my advice to any of my friends who say that - "Just do it anyway, what are they going to do, shave your head?"

And that's why Heather will soon have blue hair.

PS: Amy, now the captcha is "masters". Is the universe telling me something?

Ashlee said...

^ Not that I'd recommend that, but I like the way you think.

Emily Lynn G. said...

^ I'd hate to hate,but...I also don't recommend that. At all. Let's just spread the "Oh I'm a teen gothhhh imma do wut i want ur not mie boss UGH REBEL THEY NEVR UNDERSTAND11!1!!1!" stereotype some more, it's not like thats the VERY THING keeping most young people from coming out of the subculture closet to their parents in the first place. I wish I could do my hair purple to (no ,really; I've gotten "plum" so far. I feel you guys.)but life's tough. You'll be a adult soon enough; contrary to popular idiot belief, you CAN have brown hair and be Goth. Or be anything. Styled right and with creative hair adornments, it's nice. Anybody who questions your Goth cred for your HAIR COLOR can go shove it up their you know whats, in my opinion. Being unnecessarily rebellious and doing something against your parents wishes shows recklessness and that you don't respect your parents, as well as being untrustworthy. I'm sure that's not the case (I'd hope), but that's the vibe. Its better for your credibility AND the credibility of Goth in general if you try winning more bees over with honey and not vinegar; the quicker we get rid of THAT stereotype of us, the better we will ALL be. There's a reason why Miss Amy and the Lady Of The Manners don't say to do that. Show some self discipline and eventually we'll all have our purple haired day :)

siouxsiel said...

Wow. You were so right about the MC Hammer video. My eyes are burning.

InfiltratorN7 said...

"Just do it anyway, what are they going to do, shave your head?"

^^^ The first thing that popped into my head when I read that was 'Flowers in the Attic'. That's such a reckless attitude and I agree with the others here we shouldn't be promoting the whole 'rebel without a cause' attitude.

While I don't expect many parents to go the extremes of shaving your hair off (like in 'Flowers in the Attic') I wouldn't be surprised if some more conservative/authoritarian type parents make their rebellious teen wear a plain and sensible wig until the 'offending' colour is grown out or washed out. It's like the classic school punishment for students who forget their ties - make them wear a godawful tie from the school cupboard with some crappy pattern on it.

Like some of the others have said, learn some self-discipline and wait until you're 18, then you've got the rest of your life to dress and style yourself how you want (work dresscodes pending). It really isn't that long off when you're a teenager.

In response to the question about being told how to dress - I've experienced that as well, from alternative people not just non-goths. People who tell you you should dress more rebellious, more black etc etc. They're so non-confirmist they want you to conform to their stereotype.

InfiltratorN7 said...

I want to just add that my comment wasn't meant to be a personal attack on anyone, I hope no one interprets it that way. Everyone has their own personal situation, their family and knows what's going to be best for them. Some parents are more accepting than others.

Bleak said...

When I bleached my hair without my mother's permission (eh-hem, at the park of all places), I know for sure she had more than half a mind to dye it right back...or, yes, shave my head. Her exact words were thus, "I am LIVID."
I have learned my mistake of doing things without permission. Though now I am allowed to dye my hair as I please (for various reasons), I wouldn't recommend going out and doing something without parental permission.
I can admit, regardless of my punishment for doing it, it was fun.

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