Monday, April 22, 2013

On the Subject of Alternative Fashion Frauds

I was reading a comment on another blog that sort of struck me. I won't quote exactly what the commenter said, but the thrust of it was this: "I really have a problem with people 'playing' with alternative fashion."

She was talking about faux-hawks and spray-in hair dye, but obviously this could be expanded to accomodate any kind of "mainstream" assimilation of alternative style: fake plugs and nose piercings, Katy Perry, cheap flash tattoos with no meaning, Katy Perry, "goth" Halloween costumes, or whatever your personal pet peeve is. Katy Perry.

Personally, though, unless said faker is making a ton of money by donning the most superficial aspects of alt...I can't really care. In fact, I wish I could encourage it more. I don't think it cheapens the subculture or exposes us to a bunch of poseurs. I think that faking it in some ways--mini mohawk-ish thing or otherwise--lets people have a little taste of just how flat-out FUN alternative culture is.

I call myself goth because it identifies me as a member of a community of people I like. I like those people primarily for one reason: they have a great sense of play. Or whimsy, or imagination, or whatever else you'd like to call it. I get up every day, reach for another black skirt, and smile, because   goth fashion engages my head, not just my mirror or my wallet.

What sort of fabulous fictional heroine do I feel like channeling today? Something quiet and gray and scholarly, very governess, very Jane Eyre? Or is today a day for the imagine-myself-stomping-down-a-spaceship's-metal-corridors, cyber-street-samurai BIG boots?

And I cherish the notion that, by constantly playing with my appearance, I'm not only brightening my own day, but maybe somebody else's, too. Sometimes I picture myself as a Happy Goth Fairy sprinkling Whimsy dust over everyone I meet. All right, now I've completely lost the thread.

My point: being alternative is fun, and if all you can manage is to (metaphorically speaking) dip your big toe into the water with a faux-hawk or some colored hair gel, then be my guest. Because I'm having a blast, and I want you to have a blast, too. And maybe, when you've gotten out of high school or left that shitty job or whatever else was holding you back, you'll come join me and many others in the ranks of the Full-Time Alternative. Or maybe you won't. Either way, it's certainly no skin off my nose.


  1. I think you are onto something with this idea of fashion (sorry, not just goth fashion) as whimsical and imaginative... I love the idea of channeling your inner heroine - and, even more, I love the idea that the heroine changes from day to day... I know mine does!

    1. I try to change up my heroine, but let's be honest...I wear the big boots every day. :p

  2. Trying to prove any sort of "alternative authenticity" is hopeless once someone has made up their mind to become a fashion dictator :). At my age, I could give a shit less whether some young punk wants to yank my goth card because I'm wearing blue jeans.