So I spent the afternoon at my town carnival, which was great, although I think a lot of people thought I was actually part of the carnival and some old guy wanted to take my picture. (Which brings the 'random people wanting to take pictures of me in my everyday wear' count up to three, which isn't lots and lots, but still, I'm proud/amused/slightly concerned.) Pictures tomorrow, or maybe the day after.
Today's post comes following a slightly plaintive request from a young, anonymous Gothling who wonder what to do if someone is copying your style.
(I once flipped my lid when a slightly younger girl whom I was friends with became briefly interested in Goth; she didn't go out of her way to imitate my style, but we DID cease to be friends when she 'reminded me' casually that I had "said she could choose half of the things in my wardrobe and keep them for herself." I can assure you, I most definitely said nothing of the sort. She also frequently helped herself to my jewellery, and seemed to think I was some sort of cash machine.)
We all have people that we find inspiring, I'm sure, but being inspired and influenced by them is not the same thing as rushing out to try and duplicate their hair, make-up and outfits. That is annoying for the person being copied, and slightly creepy (not in a good way).
But first things first, don't blow a gasket! Before accusing or finger-pointing, be VERY certain that this person really is copying you. If you shop at Hot Topic or a particular local alt store, it's possible they could simply have bought a few of the same items by mistake. All-black clothing is hardly an original look - there's thousands of us doing it! As the Lady of the Manners explains, no one really has an original look. Are they are clearly trying to pull a mini-me (or mini-you, rather)?
Unless this person is a close friend, they may not even be aware that you have noticed them imitating you. Plus, as they say (and you knew I was going to say this) imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Remember that this person obviously looks up to you and admires your style, which is no bad thing. Inspiring someone is great! You just need to encourage them to develop their own style instead of mimicking yours.
The best and most direct way to do this is to speak to the person. No, darklings, please don't go over and yell at them to stop copying you, but you could say something along the lines of, "Hey, I really like your hat. I have a similar one myself," and from there strike up a conversation. Hopefully this will a) alert them to the fact you're aware of their existence so copying every detail of your outfits isn't a great idea or b) subtly make them aware that you've noticed their attempt to mimic your style.
However this is not a perfect world, so all that the above might achieve is c) making contact. So, if they still haven't stopped copying you, where to go from here? Some articles I read online suggest changing your style, but really, why should you stop dressing in a manner you like simply because someone else admires it? That doesn't seem quite fair to me, anyway.
If you feel you can do so (either you are confident enough or know the person well enough), perhaps you could say to them that you've noticed their style is similar to yours and drop some more hints (there are some more good examples in this Gothic Charm School post) - although there's no point out-and-out accusing them of copying you because they are likely to be embarrassed and deny it.
If worse comes to worst, your comments may make no difference; in which case, all you can do is simply ignore it. No copycat will be interested in stealing your style forever and will eventually move on to pastures new. In the meantime, you can make yourself feel better about the situation by making your outfits harder to copy - try DIYing your outfits, obscure band logos and one-of-a-kind or vintage items; these will be hard for the other person to imitate, which may make them lose interest faster.
Remember - this other person isn't trying to be annoying, they're interested in the same things as you are and struggling to express themselves with as much ease as you can. Be kind. If they ask for help or advice when you speak to them, use this as an opportunity to steer them towards developing their own look; stress individuality and creativity.
Do let me know if this was helpful, and let me know how it goes.
Goth gossip: What recently made the comedian John Bishop laugh? The sight of a Goth on roller blades, apparently. ^^