Philosophy of a Dark Fashion

Role Models for a Confident and Happy Mother and Daughter

Role Models for a Confident and Happy Mother and Daughter

 There is a type of philosophy known as ‘Aesthetics’. The term comes from the Greek, αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning “esthetic, sensitive, sentient”), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning “I perceive, feel, sense”).[1] So with this in mind, how many people do you know who are aware of this, or contemplate it on a regular basis or, even more importantly, consciously live their lives according to their sensitive senses?

Well I would argue that every ‘Goth’ you encounter does. Now, we can view the world comfortably from the Sun-kissed surface, seeing the beauty in flowers and meadows and mountains. But most people don’t have the nerve or curiosity to delve deeper, between the petals where the spiders hide, beneath the grasses where the snakes slither, into the mountain caves where the bats roost. There is fear to be found in the depths of beauty. But that is where aestheticism must eventually lead, because the beauty of the light is only half of reality.

Most of humanity judges light as good and dark as bad. We are trained to fear anything deemed dark. Think of all the black-furred, feathered, skinned & scaled animals you can and then rate them good or bad accordingly (and by the way, this fear holds true in most of humanity, regardless of race or creed).

Interesting, eh? Is a black cat any worse than a tabby?

Simply Dandy

Simply Dandy

The Goth aesthetic is one of depth and courage, which reflects itself as an individual’s taste and preference. From a minimalist, form-fitting, vinyl body suit to a vintage Victorian mourning gown, or from a death-metal rocker’s leather to a vogue vampire’s velvet frock coat, these types of attire do not sit comfortably within the psyche of the normal populace.

Why?

They’re just clothes, after all. Or are they? Consider the darkness and the hold it has over mankind. When you see someone attired in Goth fare, what do you do? You stare because you must and you either appreciate, or judge with dread, sometimes masked as contempt. I submit that there is serious power in causing such a reaction and I also submit that beneath that power is a philosophical depth and courage.

In general, the Goth color choice is black. There usually needs to be some black in the outfit somewhere. Who else wears black? Authority figures: priests, ministers, rabbis, mullahs, imams and ayatollahs . . . judges. Police in many countries used to wear black or still do. The ultimate was the uniform of the evil-incarnate, Schutzstaffel, aka SS. (Interestingly, Vodou mambos and houngans wear white).

What the Goth has done is wrest psychological authority from authority—including the fear-inducement of Death! By embracing the color of mourning, the Goth embraces death and steals its authority, just as it does the authority which ordered society tries to hold over the individual. If such cat-burglary isn’t couragous, I don’t know what is.

Alice and Miss Piggy Bond

Alice and Miss Piggy Bond

But the Goth takes it further by bringing out the luminous in that which most find disturbing, frightening or ugly. In fact, the very act of ‘Gothicizing’ something can make the plain, mundane and even ugly shine with a sapphire beauty. For example, Marilyn Manson is not a beautiful man by most people’s criteria. But there are times when, after he has been ‘done-up’, it is impossible to view him as anything other than striking. Same thing happened with Alice Cooper decades previously (but with less polish). Alice was and is not a pretty man without his aesthetic transformation. Perhaps it’s not beauty in the traditional sense, but it is cause for pause!

Both of these artists seek to disturb with their invented personas. Why? Probably because they HAD to. It was in their blood to do so. Goth aesthetic is a revolt against normalcy. It is a rebellion from deep within against the ugliness of mundanity and ordered authority, which is why it is so much more than just a fashion choice. That rebellion is also why it disturbs polite society. The person who moves against the grain jostles us!

Gothic beauty beckons us to follow down into the potentially fetid bowls of hell . . . or so some would believe. What it really does is ask us to think, to feel, to sense—to tap into our aesthetic source and contemplate the truth of reality, of which half is darkness and all the boogeymen it contains. It asks us to have courage and faith. To dive deep between the petals and admire the spider will bring life to an exhilarating level. In the darkness lies the birth of the universe.

Stylish Couple

Stylish Couple

A young girl who dyes her hair some unconventional color and dons a dress she made of her dead Greek great-grandmother’s mourning clothes, is telling the universe, ‘I embrace ALL your ways, I celebrate them, I am unafraid of them—they are the stuff of my creation’. She is empowered to go into the street, beautiful, and unconcerned that the black-suited men who superficially (and badly) govern her world cannot fathom the depths of her mind. She could stroll through a crowd of them, a half-smile on her blood-colored lips and chin high, daring them to judge her as she flouts their convention. She shows that she will bravely face the pain and loss in life and celebrate for all she is worth, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist and shrink before it when it comes to her.

Yes, a dress can say all that and more. And interestingly, is there any other style that can so easily turn any other type of fashion into its own philosophical statement?

Imagine a Goth version of prep, or business, or surfer, or hipster, or western, or street. There is not a style on earth that cannot be turned into a Gothic statement, whether genuinely, humorously or ironically. Very few styles can lay claim to that. The key is in the details and the intent behind them, which makes it arguably the most creative fashion expression. How many styles exist because of the philosophy and symbolism behind them? More and more people are drawn to this style, which is why Goth has reached such a high state of beauty and creativity, with many subgenres. It is the aesthetes dream style, because it can be so uniquely molded to the individual, whether you’re a classic ‘Souxie styler’ or into Victoriana. Just ‘Google’ Goth Fashion and peruse the many images for sheer variety.

Many will define Goth as requiring black hair and talc-whitened skin (In the 80’s, many Goths used baby-powder!). They will tell you that self-respecting Goths wouldn’t be caught dead with a tan. Well the true Goth will cry ‘Don’t define us!’, because Goth is in the eye of the beholder, as long as it pays attractive homage to the mysteries.

Musidora-Les Vampire

Musidora-Les Vampire

In some ways, it is a desire to bring back the romantic beauty of an earlier age, before modernism’s ugly sterility. It is an attempt to reconnect with the mysteries and the organic. It is a self-expression that says, “I reject your societal norms and the hole you’d put me in. I transend into the darkness between the stars and inside the Earth.”

And in case all this Gothica strikes critics as just a little bit campy:    ; }

 

Iucundissima somnia,

Dea



[1] Wikipedia

Speak Your Mind

*