Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Off-The-Rack Goth Brands

Collar - Black market at WGT                 All jewelry - Darkling Beloved
Lace-up top - H&M                                  Bolero - Thrifted
Shorts - Some normal store                    T-shirt - Monki
Studded belt - Local alternative store     Corset and skirt - Dracula Clothing
Chain - Goth shop in Prague                  Stockings - Some normal store, I think
Fishnets - No idea                                   Boots - Demonia

Today I want to talk about OTR goth brands, meaning big, popular companies that market towards goths, VS DIY, independent designers and ''normal'' stores. The reason being that I STILL see newcomers in the scene thinking they have to own a huge wardrobe from these brands to be allowed to consider themselves a goth. That's awful! That's the complete opposite of how goth started out.

Goth came from punk; lower class teenagers who wore hand-me-downs and thrifted clothes - they DIYed them to suit their own tastes, and voila, goth fashion was born. That's why it's so weird that today, people think they're ''not goth enough'', cause it's ''so expensive to be goth''. Since when were the pricetags of your clothes important? This is a subculture - kind of the point is that it isn't a part of the mainstream. So materialism and looking the same as everyone else isn't a part of that.

But one thing is different now from back in the day; We have basically anything we can dream of easily available to us. Now there's nothing wrong with that, I think that's great! If I really want to I can order things from all over the world and get them in my mailbox here in Norway.
What is the problem I think is that the consumerism and materialism have gone too far. People will now rather throw something away and buy something new rather than fix it when it gets broken. Companies know this, so they don't make products that last. It's very fad-based.
For us, goth isn't a short-lived phase. We're a subculture that never dies! (Or stays undead?)
But we have nevertheless been affected by the consumerism that social media flings at us. Goth influencers being sponsored by tons of different brands, almost everything they post being an ad. That is what I think has contributed to the mindset of the newcomers that I mentioned earlier.

Ankh necklace - Darkling Beloved
Crystal + moon necklace - Thrifted
Blazer - DIY
Siouxsie shirt (altered) - H&M
Ballgown skirt (altered) - Burleska
Fishnets - H&M, I think
Boots - Demonia

From what I've seen from these brands, they're incredibly expensive for what you get. The quality isn't superior (and sometimes bad), and designs can be very simple. What I find super annoying is that the size range isn't very good, I can't even find anything that fits with so-called ''asian sizing'' brands. I think they TRY to make clothes in western sizing, but fail. At least I save money on not being able to buy the clothes, LOL!
Some brands might be good quality, but I would eye the prices carefully. If it's supercheap and looks amazing, it's probably not good. Google reviews of them, don't always trust their own pages (some businesses are so shady that they delete any negative reviews / comments).
Some of the older brands are still good, but they might be more expensive now. Those are the brands I have more experience with, I haven't really shopped with the ones that are popular now.
But in my opinion, one shouldn't buy too much from OTR brands - It's just not original.
Either way, my advice is to think before you buy: Can you recreate this yourself for cheaper than the price of the item (+ shipping + customs)? Is it worth it? Can you get it cheaper somewhere else? Will it go with the rest of your wardrobe? Are you even going to use it? Shop smart!

A better option would be independent designers. These are usually people in the scene who have a talent, so that we who are less talented can buy from them! Then we can support them and the scene! There are tons of them out there, usually on Etsy. But keep an eye out there too, they're not always the best either. Always make sure to read reviews before you buy! When you do get something good from one, you can be sure that you're buying something that's unique, made with love and often custom made to you, which is my favorite part! I hate standard sizing - but some independent designers rely on that too. It doesn't hurt to ask if they would make something custom for you though!

Then we have the goth favorite: thrifting! I visit a thrift store as often as I am near one. You never know when you'll find treasure! Whatever you find, it's unique and super cheap, so there's nothing to lose! I really recommend taking your time to look through everything.
It's also worth to check out local facebook groups (or the facebook marketplace) and other local sites. You can find tons of stuff there too, and you don't have to think about customs and all that. Even Norway has alternative second-hand facebook groups, I've seen tons of big brands in there. Don't be afraid to haggle if the price is a little steep, especially if it has signs of wear. But be courteous! I and friends have experienced how annoying people can be when you're selling stuff.

On saturday H&M had Exorcist and Buffy shirts, tons of velvet dresses, pleather pants and skirts and lace tops - as well as Halloween stuff. Now let's wait for sales!
And of course, normal stores. Essential for basics! It's worth having a look when they have sales, often at the end of the seasons. And as we all know, the mainstream dips their toes into gothic fashion every once in a while, so when that is starting to go out of fashion again, grab stuff at the sales! I've done that tons of times over the years.

One more thing on online shopping: Ebay, Aliexpress and other sites like that. They're great for buying accessories and other small things! Just be careful, some sellers can be kind of shady. But as long as you're just buying cheap stuff, if it turns out to be not that great, you didn't lose much money.

Oh, and nowadays is of course the perfect time to grab stuff, since it's Halloween! When I lived in the US I got striped stockings for a couple of bucks at Walmart - they don't even have holes in them 4 years later! I think it's the same brands of stockings that goth shops and sex shops sell.
I don't know if this happens everywhere, but some places have clearance on Halloween stuff on november 1st, so I'd check that out!

Last, but not least; DIY is king! It's what has made goth fashion what it is today. When you make something yourself you can be sure that no one else has anything like it, and that you can be proud that you have made it! It's a great way to develop skills and express creativity. I wasn't good at it at all, but over the years I've gotten better and better - Which makes it so much more rewarding. I feel way more amazing in my own creations than shit I've bought. Cause what you make is the best way to show off your personal style! I can tell you that I am VERY particular when it comes to shopping. Even the slightest detail can put me off something - and since goth brands are so expensive, that's just money saved for me! When thrifting though I keep an open mind and think of what I can do to the item to make it fit me and my personal style better. You can also of course combine off-the-rack with DIY - So you won't end up looking like a clone. But I wouldn't use super expensive stuff for DIY projects, unless you're super-skilled and know what you're doing. Or if you shit money!

A thrifted blazer I've decorated
So those were my opinions and tips on different things in the goth fashion world. I'm not here to tell anyone what to do, but I will share my experiences and maybe that will provide people with a wider perspective, so they can make better choices for themselves. I tried finding pictures of outfits that include everything that I've talked about in this post, so hopefully I picked stuff that illustrates that well and maybe gives you some ideas. Hope this post will help out some! Happy Halloween / Samhain / Dia De Los Muertos / All Saint's Day / or whatever you celebrate!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

New Babies!

Hey! I managed to spark my own interest for Living Dead Dolls again after showing you my collection not that long ago. I went Ebay hunting and got myself TWO dolls! I'm on to series 3 now. I lost an auction for Lilith, hope to get her soon! She's super cool. But for now, here are Bride of Valentine and Sheena!

I'm a huge Bride of Frankenstein fan, so I've wanted her for ages!
LDD made one similar to the movie version later when they got the rights.
But I like this version better! The other one's too simple.

She died 1000 years after Saint Valentine

And of course, she comes with her heart!

I interrupt my own program to say that Damien Glonek, one of the creators of Living Dead Dolls just liked a post I made with these in a LDD facebook group! :D

Ok, and now on to Sheena!
Kind of me as a doll? xD

I assume she's inspired by Ramone's ''Sheena Is a Punk Rocker''

Love this!

That badass accessory!
I also love all the details on her.
Piercings, suspenders, ripped fishnets..!<3
Oh and the pleather skirt!

So those are my new babies!
What do you think? :D

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The City Smells Like Cat Spit - A Place Both Wonderful And Strange Review

Today I will be reviewing this EP that was sent to me. It's a band and a genre I didn't know about, but ''occult electronic'' seems pretty interesting, so I'm gonna give it a go! Social media links below!

Kristae (The Strawberry Girl)
This song gives a nice eerie atmosphere, and I can immediately say that it fits the genre name. The vocals are really weird, and I guess they're meant to be spooky - I have no idea what is being said, lol. There are some echoing female vocals as well, which I think is a nice touch. A little repetitive despite its short length, but I can totally picture this on a dancefloor. Watch the music video below!

W*tch (Mevius Tour Version)
This song has a completely different vibe, a very calming and flowy one. I really like it! This has female vocals, which sound pretty nice. Pretty cool and different, and it reminds me a little of things like The Birthday Massacre and Switchblade Symphony.

Stone (Version)
This starts off with spoken word, sounds like a quote from a horror movie or something. The music sounds like electronic tribal music. The male and female vocals sounds pretty eerie, and the music gets more industrial-like as it goes on. It also ends with spoken word. Pretty cool mix of elements.

Hex and the City (Resonata Mix)
This also has a calmer vibe, with a very unique electronic sound. Sounds a little eerie, but mostly calm.

This was pretty cool! I have to say I'm not a person who is VERY open to new music genres, but this does share a few elements with industrial and gothic genres, so I guess that's what drew me in. This definitely sounds like what I would imagine occult electronic to sound like! Now I don't know if this is a genre I'm gonna listen a lot to if I find more of it, but it definitely wasn't bad! W*tch was my favorite song from the EP. I would really like to hear more like that from them in the future!
Thanks to New Dark Ages PR for sending me this, and if you want to check out A Place Both Wonderful And Strange for yourselves, click the links below!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith Review

By the same author I have already read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, plus seen the movies for both that and this book. And I loved them! So I was really happy to find this book at a thrift store.

This book is basically the classic that everyone knows - just with a little extra sprinkled though - and that extra being zombies. It's weird, but it's fun and hilarious! The Bennett sisters and other characters are turned into badasses with ninja-like abilities to slay hoardes of the undead. Not the kind of action you'd expect when you think of Pride & Prejudice, but it somehow works!

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:
“Mr. Hurst looked at her with astonishment.
''Do you prefer reading to cards?'' said he; ''that is rather singular.''
''I prefer a great many things to cards, Mr. Hurst,'' said Elisabeth; ''Not the least of which is the sensation of a newly sharpened blade as it punctures the round belly of a man.''
Mr. Hurst was silent for the remainder of the evening.” 

“Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do; for I shall not have my best warrior resigned to the service of a man who is fatter than Buddha and duller than the edge of a learning sword.” 

“Mr. Bingley observed the desserts his poor servants had been attending to at the time of their demise - a delightful array of tarts, exotic fruits and pies, sadly soiled by blood and brains, and thus unusable.” 

You see?! Incredibly funny! There are a few illustrations throughout the book as well.
It stays relatively true to the original, I think (it's been a few years since I read the original though). So if you aren't too fond of romance, but love classics, horror and a healthy dose of black humor, you should definitely check out this book! The language is similar to the original though, so keep that in mind if you have trouble with that. I also recommend Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by the same author, and the movie adaptions!

Get the book here!
Oh, and if anyone can recommend any books similar to these, let me know!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Isadora Moon Goes To School by Harriet Muncaster Review

I already loved this the first time I saw it. It's super cute, and spooky at the same time - just the way I like it! I didn't get it before I saw it on sale though, and I'm really glad I did!
The book looks very tiny, but it's bigger than I expected. It's a nicely sized hardback, with raised glittery parts on the cover.

Since this is the first book, we are introduced to Isadora Moon and her family for the first time. She's half vampire and half fairy - her father is a vampire, and her mother is a fairy. Her baby sister is a halfling too! They live in a half black, half pink house, and she has a stuffed pink rabbit - which her mother put a spell on so it's alive.

I guess Isadora is around 6 years old, since her parents tell her that it's time to start school. But since she's half vampire and half fairy, will she go to vampire school or fairy school? Her parents decide that she attends one day at each school so she can decide.

I'm just gonna give it all away since I already guessed the plot after I read the back of the book, so I assume most adults will too. Just don't tell the children! ;)
Isadora goes to fairy school, which doesn't go too well. Maybe she is a vampire after all?
The next night (after not sleeping all day) she goes to vampire school - and that doesn't go well either.

The next day she sees human children outside. She notices that they are all unique and beautiful. They start talking to her, and get along well. Then Isadora decides that she will go to regular human school! Her parents are appalled at her decision, they think humans are weird. Isadora confronts them with the fact that THEY might be the weird ones. They accept it, aand happy ending.

I wish we could have seen Isadora try normal school too though, but maybe that'll happen in another book. Other than that I loved it! It's an adorable story! And it definitely has a beautiful message, which all children (and even some adults) should learn.
I definitely recommend it to everyone (for their children or themselves, no shame in reading children's books, I love reading them myself)! I will definitely be getting the other books.
I also follow the author on social media, she's as cute as her books!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Music To Die For by Mick Mercer Review

I had no idea that this book was just a massive encyclopedia of band names. So I've only looked at the band names, and not much more than that. They're organized alphabetically, and usually include genre, origin, year formed, members, a short description, discography, and link (usually to Myspace or website that don't even exist anymore). After every letter there are a few pages of black and white photos of random bands mentioned from the previous pages. In the back there are links to magazines, and lots of Cherry Red ads (yeah I think that's where I got the book while CD shopping).

I assumed this would be about goth and similar genres, but it includes lots of other stuff as well. Here's a short list of some bands I don't understand why are in it:
69 Eyes, Abney Park, Alice Cooper, Birthday Massacre, Dresden Dolls, Epica, Evanescence (and a tribute band), HIM (referred to as Goth-Lite LOL), Johnny Cash?!, Lacuna Coil, Leaves' Eyes, Nightwish + tribute bands (I had a feeling they would be in there), Rasputina, Sirenia, Theatre Of Tragedy, Tristania, Voltaire, Wednesday 13, Within Temptation, and probably more.
I do see that the cover states ''ambient, cabaret noir, deathrock, goth, gothic metal, horror punk, melodramatic song, post-punk and psychobilly'' - But I think that's a pretty odd mix.

I did find a bunch of norwegian bands in there, which I'm pretty surprised by. But most of them had broken up by now, so that was disappointing. This probably counts for other bands too.
But I have to say, it's hard to flip through this without stopping to put on a band!

In conclusion: I don't really recommend this. It's just a (600 page!) list of bands you can find anywhere online. (Like Alex Malkavian's ''Every Goth Band Ever'' Part 1 and Part 2 - or my own shorter list here) If you are a music nerd, you WILL do a lot of research anyway - And it's more fun to do it yourself! Plus a lot of the information is outdated, as it was published in 2006. I also don't get why there are links in there, it just doesn't make sense in a printed book. It's a shame, cause I had heard Mick Mercer wrote great books! If anyone has read his other books, please let me know how they are. I don't want to keep this one, so if anyone wants it, hit me up!
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