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Monday, 18 June 2012

Some thoughts on experimentation

(of the fashion variety, that is!)

If avante-garde individuals didn't take it upon themselves to experiment with the basic dark fashion aesthetic, the current world of Goth and dark fashion with its myriad offshoots and subgenres would not be even close to what it is today. One of the things about Goth that never ceases to amaze me is the way that each and every person involved in the dark alt scenes can use unique influences from anything and everything - other subcultures, fashions and music genres, art, literature, film, etc. - to create something new and entirely different.

So, never get me wrong, darklings - I'm all for experimentation.

There are, however, a few pitfalls for those who wish to think outside the box when it comes to dark fashion. The first I can think of is one I fell prey to myself more often than not in recent years and probably will do again. Note to self: Yes, experimentation is a fun and wonderful thing, but for heaven's sake, before you go all creative and daring, get the flippin' basics right.

For example, when I was eighteen-ish, I loved introducing 'ironic' pastel colours to my spooky outfits, such as a pink My Little Pony T-shirt. Which I still have, still love, and still wear. Great. The problem was, such a T-shirt paired with baggy bondage pants didn't so much scream, "Turning the Goth look on its head with individual flair!" but "Clueless mallgoth!". Which, sadly, I didn't realise until much later. Bless.

So the first piece of advice I would pass onto my babybat self, if only I could time-travel, would be, "Before you try experimenting, why don't you wait until you know what you are actually doing?"

Of COURSE, part of experimentation is making such embarrassing mistakes. What else are you going to look back on with nostalgia in decades past? Unfortunately, possible pitfall number two is that thanks to the rise of the internet, bloggers such as myself, and those on Tumblr, Facebook, Livejournal and almost any other social networking site will not be able to privately cringe at painful sartorial extravaganzas past. Oh, no... our every embarrassing outfit (which seemed like SUCH a good idea at the time) and laughable eyeliner scrawl will be online for everyone to see. Because - and this is a key point - at the time, you never, ever realise that it's going to be embarrassing.

D'oh.

The third potential pitfall is that no matter how hard I try, I am not one of these amazing ladies that gets photographed at festivals for their effortless, iconic style. Oh, no. We see them all over the internet, always looking exquisite and somehow carrying off the most eclectic and extraordinary outfits. Y'know, the ones we all go look at when seeking inspiration. HOW DO THEY DO IT?!

Believe me, Gothlings, if I ever figure it out I will share the secret with you. In the meantime, I'll struggle along not looking at all like Vecona or Ophelia Overdose but wishing very, very hard.

(Incidentally, one of the very best things about experimentation is that we know all this... and yet we do it anyway. Have fun. ;-) )

P.S. For this post, I wanted to share some of my early experiments with you, but most of them were too painful to ever again see the light of day. But just to prove a point...

And yes, it seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time. :-S

10 comments:

SkeleDuck said...

I am 100% for putting back the fun of cock-ups, cringes and catastrophes to the fashion sphere of the Newbie Goth.

So I won't be alone! XD

ZeroNovember said...

I wore some terrible things in my experimentation period ('99 - 2001, just out of my first real goth phase and Southampton's shopping scene was worse than it is now)

Sure, they make me cringe now and some photo evidence exists somewhere >>
I may have looked a bit off in hindsight but I'm glad I had the balls to do it. I don't regret a single second!

xxxx little darkling xxxx said...

Yeah... I have a pale pink t shirt... But it has a skeleton bat and I pair with black cords and lace shirt. Not much stompy mall goth in that (she says) Famous last words! Generally my style is neo Victorian, a tad of gothic Lolita and vampirey goth. I went thorough my main babybat stage 4 years ago aged 7. Mainly skulls only then, not any bondage pants! My splint has finally come off after fracturing my little finger!

Lady Lovescraft said...

Not gonna lie...you look so cute in your pink wig I want to cuddle your babybat self :D

As for experimentation, I currently have a wardrobe divide- Side One: Victorian/Romanticgoth, Side Two: Vintage and vintage repro...I never would have considered pink polka dot kitten heels if it wasn't for your various posts on being Goff not meaning being super hardcore Goffic every day all the time and that it's okay to incorporate other styles...and to occasionally indulge in something totally non-spookeh :3

Nightwind said...

Amy, you look just fine and I truly enjoy the photos of you in your various outfits. And don't cut yourself short. My opinion is that you really are one of those amazing ladies.

gin said...

Advice for becoming one of those people photographed, as being one and knowing many; the first part is confidence. When you are confident you carry yourself a certain way and in doing so draw attention, as it's one of those things that everyone wants.

The second part is understanding fashion. You'll find a lot of those people photographed didn't buy most of their clothes, they made them. They took the time to come up with a concept, plan it out and make it a reality. To do this, you have to understand key fashion elements, not only of design and construction but also the aesthetic concepts and what types of things work for you, not against you. Learning those few basics can also help you really discover your own style in many ways. I suggest to anyone who really enjoys fashion to take a basic fashion design class, not only to learn basic sewing skills but to see the world it can open up to you when it comes to getting dressed.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with both the confidence & the understanding of fashion, I can speak from experience that sewing is not necessary. All of my clothes are store-bought, and I get photographed all the time. My 6-year-old gets photographed, too-and all of her "gothy" outfits come from Target! It's all a matter of how you put things together. I can barely sew on a button, let alone sew an entire outfit, but I can put together one hell of an outfit with thrift shop clothes any day.

Lily Page said...

I am not against dark fashion. People who is into it, it's their way of being peculiar, being different from the crowd. But I must admit dark fashion kinda scares me a bit.

wings unharnessed said...

I agree with pretty much everything (post and comments), well, not Lily's since I'm involved with the scene but anywhoo.... as for the pic, maybe lose the headband and fix the eyeliner a bit. (Is it just me, or is it on your nose?) (Note: I clicked on the pic to see it full size.) Loving the pink hair. :)

Amy Asphodel said...

That pic was taken about four years ago. Yes it was on my nose, and the hair was a cheap Halloween wig, hence why I had the bandanna on >.<

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