Goths are easily one of the most recognizable and diverse subcultures of the world with their black clothing, and makeup. I didn’t realize just how many different sub genres’ there are within the goth subculture.
So, how many different types of goths are there? There are seven different types of goths which have differentiated themselves in fashion. The traditional goth and deathrock goth are the most popular but there is also Haute Goth, Gothic Lolita, Aristocrat, Cybergoth, and Vampire Goth.
There is such a wide range of different gothic fashion styles, unique music, movies and cultural influences that really add a level of darkness and mystery to this culture. I’ll explore the different types of goths, where they came from and how the subculture has been influenced over the years.
So, what kind of goth do you identify with? Are you more of a traditional or deathrock goth, known for their dark macabre style clothing, black hair, dark makeup and variety of piercings and tattoos? Or do you prefer one of the more modern styles of goth?
This original goth style which was worn by the first goths in the late 1970’s and into 1980’s. It’s very similar to punk rock clothing and was worn by popular artists such as Bauhaus, and Siouxsie Sioux.
It featured all black clothing – black jeans or pants, black leather boots paired with either white or black t-shirt and sometimes a band t-shirt.
Their hair was often died black and styled into a mohawk or spiked and spiked bracelets and necklaces were commonly worn. There are very few differences between the traditional gothic and the punk rock look usually come from the different music influences at the time.
Deathrock is a music genre that incorporates gothic literature, as well as horror themes. It began in California in the 1980s. It is similar in style to Stephen King novels but is set in castles, and olden day times. It also includes romance stories throughout.
Deathrock fashion has a shock factor. It often includes heavy black eye makeup. They wear tight leather, fake vampire fangs, and werewolf themes. They wear black boots such as Doc martens, spiked bracelets, and necklaces with crosses and ankhs.
Ankhs are a common accessory because they like how it looks, and it goes with their look.
They often wear white a thin layer of white makeup on their whole face. They also have undead and zombie themes. Deathrock goths are most commonly influenced by Marilyn Manson who popularized different colored contact lenses, and dark lipstick.
Other famous examples are Ozzy Osbourne, and the Addam’s Family tv show.
Haute goth refers to a trend in high end runway fashion. Famous designers were Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, and Rick Owens.
Alexander McQueen won the award for best international fashion designer for four years in a row. One of his dresses is listed as one of the top 100 dresses of all time.
His work included dark red lipstick that was painted around the mouth as well. And wigs made of black feathers. Feathers are used throughout his work as well as victoria themes.
Rick Owens is a fashion designer from California. His work uses a lot of black and leather. Hairstyles range from sticking up all over the place, to straight and long. His current collections feature long and baggy black garments that go well with black Doc Martens boots.
This type of goth is not a goth you would normally see in public. This is because this fashion is more over the top to give emphasis in a runway setting. The designs are then watered down for more mainstream fashion acceptance.
This type of clothing is only seen at fashion shows and only a small number of people actually wear it.
Gothic Lolita is a combination of Lolita fashion and Gothic fashion and influences. Lolita fashion originated in Japan. Lolita fashion has some similarity Victorian style clothing and is based on the Baroque period of history.
What makes Lolita stand out from the Victorian style is its emphasis on outfits appearing cute. Typically using pink and white colors, knee high socks, and knee length puffy dresses.
It began in Japan in the 1990s and was popular until 2010. It is still worn today but is not as popular. A distinguishing feature of this clothing is the thickness of the skirt. It is wide and puffy. They do this by wearing a petticoat or crinoline.
A petticoat is many dresses layered on top of each other. A crinoline is a frame made from cardboard like material that the dress drapes over. The shirt is normally a dress shirt, which can be long or short sleeved.
They usually wear a wig and have bows in their hair. They commonly wear heels, or flat-bottomed leather shoes, or clogs with bows.
These goths are usually fans of more techno style music. Some common hair styles are to shave both sides of their head and leave long hair on the top and back or have dreadlock or plaited hair. It is popular to dye their hair neon green, red, and other bright colors.
They often wear long baggy leather pants with fluorescent colors. Some common clothing and accessories are short skirts, small tight-fitting tops, fishnet stockings, spiky wrist bracelets, necklaces, tattoos and piercings.
They will also wear gas masks, goggles, and neon lights. Their music tastes include the genres of industrial, hard trance, aggrotech, synthwave, and other related styles. They are the most futuristic of the goth genres.
A good example of this genre is found in the music video Kill V. Maim by Grimes you can see the video here:
This style is inspired by what middle and upper class people would wear in the 1850s. They usually wear top hats, waistcoats, pocket watches, corsets, long sleeved dress shirts, and long pants. They usually wear heavy black makeup and lipstick. Some goth styles will blend elements of this style into their clothing.
This style is pretty much just goths that love wear the traditional black and are into vampires. They often wear older style gothic clothing – Victorian style but dark clothing, like seen the classic movies of Vampire.
They often use deep purple, blood red and of course the traditional black in their clothing. It is common to see a classic shirt with ruffles, leather trench coats, and even a black or red rose in their hair. A variety of necklaces and chokers are often worn to complete the look
It is a common misconception that just because these goths are a fan of the vampire look doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually part of the vampire subculture. Although some goth clubs wills actually have vampire nights for their members.
All goths have a link to punk rock which began in the late 1970’s and into the 1980s. The only exception is goths who lived a few thousand years ago.
Goths were first recorded in history in the year 300. They were a key part of the fall of the Roman empire. They lived in what is now modern-day Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova.
During this time some migrated and influenced culture in neighboring Hungary. They are thought to have been part of the Chernyakhov culture which was a mix of Sarmatian, Slavic, Gothic, and Geto-Dacian cultures.
A notable event during this time was the conversion of Gothic people to Arianism, who were the early Christians. This was in large part done through the creation of a gothic alphabet and the translation of the Bible into Gothic language. This was done by a man named Ulfilas or Wulfila (English: Little wolf).
Goths were invaded by the Huns in the late 300’s. As they came under the rule of the Huns most fled west to Rome led by King Alaric the first. They eventually ended up settling in Toledo, Spain and became known as the Visigoths.
Goths who resided in Ravenna Italy, gained independence from the Huns. Their king during the time was Theorodic the Great and they were commonly known as the Ostrogoths.
The last remaining goths were found in the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Their culture eventually became lost, as they adopted the cultures of others in the area.
Goth usually refers to two groups of people:
It began as a subgenre of punk rock music which was popular at the time. The most iconic punk rock band at that time was the Sex Pistols.
Goth took these punk rock themes and further developed them into a variety of styles and subgenres. Goth music and style has remained popular. ‘Gothic rock’ was first used to describe this genre in 1967 after people began listening The Doors.
A film critic and author of the Rolling Stone, after listening to the Velvet Underground used ‘gothic-rock’ to describe the style of some of their songs. Although the goth genre of music began earlier than the 1980s, it wasn’t until then that it became popular enough to be called its own name.
Taking inspiration from popular bands such as the Doors and the Velvet Underground more bands emerged and became widespread. Many critics began using the term Gothic rock to refer to them. This was where famous bands like Bauhaus, and Siouxsie Sioux became the standard for the genre.
Early musical influences before early 1980
Musical Influences after the early 1980’s
In the 1990’s dance music became more popular. Goth music went ‘underground’ meaning it is difficult to find their music. People who are close with these bands spread news and gossip via word of mouth.
This has since changed since the widespread adoption of the internet because any music or artist is now easy to find.
The fashion used by goths has many influences. They drew inspiration from the fashion of music genres such as Glam, New wave, and punk. They also drew influence from:
The main difference between Goth and Emos is that Emos are considered closer to pop culture than a traditional goth. Here is a few of the differences:
Goths usually wear:
Emos usually wear:
Popular musical artists among Emos are My Chemical Romance and Evanescence. Whereas with Goths its music by Marilyn Manson and Slipknot.