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!


  1. I agree with you 100%! Surface seems to be the most important thing to a lot of people these days, even within the subculture. My guess is that social media is making it very easy to reach out to a bigger audience and feed into the idea of wearing the trendy brands everything, especially when it comes to (obviously) sponsored influencers on youtube and instagram.

    I used to love going on the internet to look for inspiration for clothes and DIY but nowadays it's just everyone wearing the same stuff trying to look sexy...

    I wish there was better thrift stores for clothes where I live. It's basically just stuff from H&M end the regular chains there too -_-

  2. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.. Rebranding


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