The Look: Any colour as long as its black – or maybe scarlet or purple. Retro – Gothics particularly keen on detailed and accurate recreation of Victoriana. Kinky corsets or stilettos juxtaposed with religious jewellery and motifs. Hair should be jet black and backcombed to high heaven. White pancaked face + heavy black eye make-up and black or blood red lipstick. Guys too.
The Time: Starts in 1981 but the undead will always be with us.
The Place: Starts in London and then takes over the galaxy.
Influenced: Next generations of Goths & Gothics; also Goth Metal, Emos and, in Japan, Gothloli (Gothic Lolita). Big high fashion influence in the ‘00s.
But the really mindboggling thing about Goth is the way that it has gone global. With both its mindset and its visual style so rooted in Britain’s Victorian and Romantic past one might have guessed that this is one subculture which wouldn’t travel well. But the opposite has proven to be the case. One of Britain’s great export triumphs, there are now Goths (or ‘Darks’ as they are sometimes known in Europe and South America) from Moscow to Buenos Aires, Tokyo to LA – and every little town or hamlet in-between. Most famously, in the ‘90s and into the ‘00s Japan has given rise to hordes of Goths, Lolitas and Gothloli (Gothic Lolitas) who have time travelled back to the innocent and yet strangely sinister world of Victorian England. (See ‘90s: Gothloli)