Thursday, 23 August 2012

Pastel Goth

I had a reader request, back in the mists of time, to discuss the latest 'hawt trend' that is being alternately bitched about and lauded all over the interbutts. In the wake of the much-debated 'nu-Goth' and 'hipster Goth' trends, we have pastel Goth.

For those of you who, like me, could easily get all these trends confuzzled with each other, have a quick browse of LittleGothCat's at-a-glance guide to the three styles. It's OK, I'll wait right here.

These trends are currently sweeping the high street, in the UK at least. It's almost impossible to walk into any mainstream store and not be confronted with tartan, upside-down crosses, creepers (I'm going to go ahead here and say that IT GRATES on me that New Look is now selling a style of shoe that has been a popular staple of alternative styles for years and everyone thinks it's soooo new and trendy... gah!), studded shorts and lots and lots of skulls. Black on everything.

This is both good and bad. Good, because I can stock up on loads of skully things and fuzzy black jumpers and store them in my wardrobe until the winds of fashion change again. I'm guessing that'll happen around spring/summer as there's usually at least a hint of Goth in the autumn/winter trends (I preferred the velvet and lace that popped up in the last Goth-inspired fashion wave, but I'll take what I can get).

Bad, because as much as one might hope that, hey, since they're selling purple lipstick and creepers in all the shops now, maybe we might be a touch more accepted and people might be less arsey to us since they're now (temporarily) adopting styles that have been staples of a spooky wardrobe for, oh, THIRTY YEARS. But, um, no. Apparently young trend-hopping fashionistas do not see the irony inherent in calling the passing Goth type a 'weirdo' whilst wearing creepers and leggings patterned with bleeding skulls. You know, the kind of stuff that, a year or so ago, THEY would have been called a weirdo for wearing. *facepalm*

There was a lot of backlash (heh, I typed 'blacklash' and then 'backlace') from within the dark alternative communities when nu-Goth/hipster Goth went viral. Whilst on the whole, Gothy types tend to appreciate the newest take on their beloved aesthetic (hence this post) and have been known themselves to adopt or be inspired by the style, they seem to be less keen on their lifestyle and culture being reduced to little more than a fashion fad. Especially when many of those who wear nu-Goth/hipster Goth styles because fashion told them to do so tend to retain a sniffy attitude towards the actual Goth subculture. Hence THIS post.

Much of this knee-jerk reaction has died down since it became more evident that, despite tagging 'goth' onto the name, most of the non-Goths dressing in nu-Goth/hipster Goth style actually don't consider themselves affiliated with the Goth scene 'proper' and tend to think of their genre as something separate, albeit with a few shared influences. Since Goths haven't actually yet managed to get copyright on the 'moody kid with black nail polish' stereotype and associated fashions, on the whole there seems to be much less irritation with the nu-Goth style and its followers. (Darling Violetta has a slightly angry post about why it's pointless to hate on such people simply because they ALSO like black clothes, ripped tights and dark make-up.)

Pastel Goth, as you may have gathered, is the latest development to have evolved from the muddy waters of Goth-inspired fashion. It also evidently owes something to 'kawaii' style, with the hint of high fashion influence also visible in nu-Goth/hipster Goth. Pastel Goth looks something like this. I have to say it's the kind of aesthetic that I can enjoy, what with my much-professed love for pink, but personally I would prefer to see a Victorian or Neo-Victorian ensemble with pastels complimenting the black. That would be MY pastel Goth. (I also enjoy the creepy/cute juxtaposition a la PastelBat.)

Whilst I love a lot of the imagery involved in pastel Goth (never gonna stop squee-ing at baby pink bat necklaces), the upside-down crosses tend to give me pause for thought. When questioned about any upside-down crosses I may be wearing, I can rattle off a brief disclaimer that it's not evil or Satanic, in fact the Pope has an upside-down cross on the back of his chair and it came about because a saint asked to be crucifed upside-down because he didn't believe he was worthy to be crucified in the exact same way as Jesus Christ. I'm sure pastel Goths are quite capable of developing a similar pat answer and perhaps it's judgemental of me to think they go around believing that their crosses are sooo edgy and spooky, but, well, there it is.

However, that is probably the only real reservation I have about pastel Goth fashion, because just a few minutes of glancing through the pastel Goth tag on Tumblr assures me that, in general, people are NOT going to think that pastel Goth is a) an accurate representation of Goth culture or b) the be-all and end-all of Goth. Whether you personally appreciate the style or not, I don't think there's much chance that strangers will come up to you in the street and say, "If you were a REAL Goff, you'd be wearing pastel this season."

I'm sure there are people within the realms of dark alternative culture who will enjoy and possibly dabble in pastel Goth style; probably the same people who like bubblegoth (as popularised by singer Kerli) and just as there are those who like nu-Goth and hipster Goth. But it's important to remember that just adding 'Goth' to the name, or the list of influences, does not make a person, musician or style Goth (or Lady GaGa would be a Goth...), and that most people, pastel Goths included, are quite aware of that. I highly doubt that most pastel Goths actually consider themselves Goths... and if in future they do find themselves branching out and exploring more of dark culture, i.e. what lurks underneath the popular versions distilled for the masses and sold in New Look, I really don't think there could be anything wrong with that.


Shannon Rutherford said...

I agree with you in pretty much everything you said.
Especially for the "cons" regarding the pastel goth fashion; there was a kid in high school who used to look down on me because I was wearing black clothes and had some skulls on my t-shirts or some studded bracelets. Well, now that Alexander McQueen has made all that stuff a trend, she proudly shows purses with skulls, bracelets with studs and all-black outfits. But hey, in a classy way, she's not one of those goths. She doesn't realize that what she wears, we have worn it for decades, just in a less bon ton way.
On the other hand, yes, it's good to find stuff you can wear everyday, but still a little spooky, in stores, I'm buying as much as I can now because I don't know how much it's going to last, but I still don't really like it when my mum, who used to sigh every time I came home with a skull on my t-shirt, now points at every skull she spots on a shop window and says "ooh, that's so nice, isn't it <3?"

Alexandriaweb said...

I very much celebrate Nu and Pastel Goth being things, just like four years ago when tartan was a summer trend I am running around high street shops buying cheap pretties!

The other great thing is that while, yes there are some people into it just because it's "trendy" and they'll move on pretty quickly, it is also bringing some people who will stay with Goth for the long haul, and given that we're essentially a dying scene (no pun intended) we need some new blood now and then.

Nebel Finsternis Violet said...

I understand what you mean, and I also like the way you express your opinion Amy. yes, nu Goth and it's pastel twin may bring the nerve out for people within the gothic community. But frankly, people can dress how they want. They can wear super cool designer clothes attempting to be goth and whatever, but the important thing, in my opinion, is what's inside. i mean, if to look at it from a different direction- what important is that you know for yourself what is Goth and the history, the bands etc etc, and this will determine you, no matter how you dress.
Sure, those Nu Goths may dress however they want, but the turning point is what is inside their head? What are they listening to? Lady Gaga? Perfect. They'll drop the scene when it won't be cool anymore.

Kaitlyn said...

Honestly, I like the idea of pastel goth. More or less like Pastel Bat. Or maybe just plain old goth with pastel accent colors? That's what I usually mean when I'm talking about getting into pastel goth(I mean I have a little inspiration from the 'real' style) mostly the same stuff I've been wearing, but more pastel colors in it.

Maybe I should call it something else? :/

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you,Amy.On the positive side we won't be faced as some freaks or something(at least till this fashion trend is gone)...But I get the impression that goths arent so alternative any more...This morning I went to a mainstream store and they sell leather gloves covered with lace , black torn leggings,dark red dress with fishnet details and much more...It was a heaven for a goth.And I can tell for sure that seeing my girlfriends buing all that cross bracelets and black tutus was pretty weird...

Nightwind said...

I don't care very much for the mainstreaming of Goth culture as it tends to alter the aesthetic almost beyond recognition--and I'm no traditionalist. I've seen other examples of Pastel Goth and no matter how much I look at it, I just don't see the Goth in it; even if there are skulls and such as part of the design.

Of the three styles featured on Little Goth Cat's Guide, I like Hipster Goth the most. It just looks darker; I can easily recognize the Goth elements. Also, it's much closer to how alternative people dress and look around here.

I'm not knocking the other styles; and as I always say, to each his/her own. They just don't seem as Gothic to me.

Daniel_8964 said...

in my opinion that fashion (optional), music (optional to individual tastes) and knowledge is what defines you as a part of the Goth community, not fashion alone. On the other hand, I don't have anything to say much about the Pastel Goth trend. After all there will always be people and a mainstream shop who attempts to copy a subculture as a trend for the masses and hopefully less harsh remarks in street.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as "Pastel Goth", or any other "(insert adjective here) Goth". Period. It irritates me to no end when people start to water down the goth scene. Where I live, "goths" are adopting the pastels, and have been for some years, and I find it insulting. It seems they're trying to be "cool" by jumping on the goth bandwagon, and as soon as they find something else that excites them, they move on, and "grow up", as many state. While it's not for me, I do enjoy the occasional ironic pastel/bright article of clothing or accessory, but not as a regular thing.

Kuroloki Roku said...

I remember maybe 10 years or so ago, "goth" stuff hit a sudden boom in popularity in accessory and department stores. I remember a lot of black chokers, crucifixes, skulls, and "edgy" screen-printed shirts lol. Back then I was partly upset that goth was becoming "cool" and partly excited because it was so readily available. It's kind of funny to see people now going "Goth is becoming trendy" lol, I guess it could be described as part of the mainstream's subconscious. Their fascination with the dark side fades in and out with time. Since goth started several decades ago, I wonder how many times this has happened? I'm in the US though, so maybe our trends are different.

To make an already wordy comment longer, when you said "pastel goth" I was like "I wonder if that has something to do with Lolita influence?" Haha, it seems a little bit true. I "grew up" in the Lolita community so it's very fascinating to see how that fashion has influenced other fashions when I wasn't looking. I think in the end, I'm more aligned with the Goth community, or maybe I fall somewhere in between. I've only recently converted, so I'm still pretty new to the subculture.

TeamEdwardJace said...

i like the pastel goth(though I'd stay wear from the inverted crosses). I'm not gothic but maybe on the inise i am. I do love the various styles, the beauty, the music(new and old)( i also like non-gothic music like Garabage and i like everything even country). I also like the art,lyrics poetry and fiction. If I were to become gothic on the outside,i would mix styles. one day i might be romantic goth or victorian goth but another day i might do the same with other elements or mix different stlyes together(goth-victorian punk, gothic liota with victorian)romantic-goth, babydoll goth with steamgoth or steampunk)) or mix the ones I together in an outfi and possiblt with other sublctures. the possiblies are endless. i might use preppy styles too. i might incoporate elements of pastel goth but away from the inverted cross.

i do have some gothic items in my wardrobw(a lacey victorian top from guess, yes i know it's mainstream but it's nice and neo-victorain i think.i got in 08) and lacey black gloves that's very nice and looks awfully simliar to that pic of sixoushie you posted in in your blog in july.

i agree with you for the most part on this post as well

Anonymous said...

"despite tagging 'goth' onto the name, most of the non-Goths dressing in nu-Goth/hipster Goth style actually don't consider themselves affiliated with the Goth scene 'proper' and tend to think of their genre as something separate, albeit with a few shared influences."

Even if they did consider themselves goths what would it matter? In a subculture as heavily debated as Goth I don't think it wouldn't change anything for pastel goth and nu goth to be tacked on next to rivethead, cyber goth, and victorian. Those styles I just listed are all very different. And, at some point you will find someone who will debate with you until the cows come home on how those styles are not "true goth" and have no connection to the "real" goth scene.

Even in terms of music people like to nitpick at each other. Many of us know how it feels for another black clad person to tear you apart for maybe listening to Trivium more than Ausgang or preferring Crystal Castles to And Also the Trees. So in view of this, I say if someone wearing Nu Goth or Pastel Goth fashion feels they are apart of the goth subculture they EVERY right to do so.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the cons and how when people used to wear this stuff we used to be teased to no end. I don't mind people dabbling in the alternative scene I mean everyone is welcome. But when it comes to the point that people are only wearing creepers ad up side down crosses because Jessie J or Rhianna are wearing it kind of hurts. Wear this stuff because you want to not because a celebrity told you so because I find that very insulting.

Anonymous said...

You know, according to Wikipedia, the inverted cross actually used to be a Christian symbol, but then it got changed into a symbol of opposition against Christianity. Therefore, the inverted cross's new meaning is blasphemy against Jesus Christ and Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you!I consider myself a goth of many different types of subculture, mainly steampunk, neo-victorian and bohemian :)I became really interested in the name in a tumblr post a few days ago, only to find that it's everything i love, just under a different name, well, two names: creepy cute i.e pastel goth!! There are soo many types of goths out there and trends are being invented all the time. If you like something, wear it. If it's not hurting anyone physically and it's not deeply offensive to anyone, then I honestly don't see the problem why you can't wear it. However, if you start getting into the trend because someone famous is wearing it, or you want to rebel, stop right there. You don't know the reason for that person to be wearing it. And no, it's not a fad, it's not some 'teen phase' that some of us all go through. Although maybe for some,yes. But this world has too many things going on without people worrying about what the next trend/style is. Be yourself will be too cliche in this situation, but honestly, it is the essence of everything.

Delilah Fisher said...

okay so i am a 'baby goth' as i like to call myself because i kind of find babybat offensive but i am a new goth and i wear black lipstick and my eye makeup is Gothic yes but i do like to add some white or pastel purple in there. I am not sure if black tutu like skirts are considered goth but i sometimes wear them but I mostly just wear black jeans or black shorts with black and white striped tights or black tights. I dont really have much goth clothes yet and I want to stay as far from the mainstream as I can but not get in trouble at school for 'disrupting' the class with my Victorian dress. I kind of put a modern twist on Gothic style and I would love some help with this!! thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hiya,just stumbled across this and even though its from.a while back, just thought Id leave A comment anyway ;) Up until recently, I was Emo, but about a month back I decided that after six plus months of it, I had had enough. I found the way people react on the internet and the streets annoyed me.It got even worse when a girl said some nasty things regarding self harm about it.Since the start of this year I have been struggling with mental health problems and have had several self harming episodes before,and her remarks really upset me.I become quite nervous when I was going out,and eventually just decided it was time for a change.While on a website i stumbled across a picture of a pastel Goth.I was fascinated and searched for it.I loved it from first site,it was just right for me,i nice mix of creepy and cute. So i decided to become pastel Goth, I've not really got much stuff yet but i will soon hopefully.Almost instantly i noticed that a lot of goths got angry about the style..I figured this was possibly because they didn't consider them real goths, and because some probably hadn't even really bothered doing they're research first.So i would just like to say,that while some or a lot or whatever might not count themselves Goths or even really look into it,bI did.I know a fair bit about all the alternative styles,and about how they cane to be.Im not a poser or whatever when i go for stuff i do my research first.So, just because some are jumping on the bandwagon,I can assure you that some like me are not just posers, know about the style,did their research and love it! Sorry for rambling :)

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