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.
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.