By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The Gothic period was long before the 1800s, but the origins of contemporary Goth style are actually not rooted in that era at all; in fact, the inspiration for this way of dress is found in the Victorian cult of mourning.
Goth fashion is defined by its stark, black, usually quite modest clothing. Ted Polhemus describes it as a “profusion of black velvets, lace, fishnets and leather tinged with scarlet or purple, accessorized with tightly laced corsets, gloves, precarious stilettos and silver jewelry depicting religious or occult themes”. It really became notable on the cultural landscape as part of a backlash to the glittery fashions of the 1970s disco era and as a means of protesting against the preppy pastels and extravagance of the 1980s.
Since then, Goth fashion has made an impact on the world of high fashion. Designers including Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, and Yohji Yamamoto to name a few, have brought elements of Goth to runways, and several eco-friendly designers have also been influenced by this dark style, too.
Here, we present 6 very talented, sustainably-minded designers inspired by Goth fashion.
Like the great architect Le Corbusier, Titania Inglis believes ‘less is more’. This can be clearly seen in her dark, minimalistic designs. Equally minimal is the line’s environmental impact, since every garment is sewn in a small, family-owned factory in New York from high-quality, low-impact fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, Italian vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from the local garment industry.
Barbara i Gongini’s slightly fetishistic garments, which are suitable for both men and women, are made through experimental pattern-making techniques. The design process has a particular focus on sustainability and aims to contribute to local and global responsibility by pushing the boundaries of ethical fashion. Barbara í Gongini’s work has already received a special recognition at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2014 and today the label is represented in over 80 concept boutiques, distributed along 20 markets worldwide.
Iris van Herpen is a sculptress of high tech wearable visions. Using zero waste 3D printing techniques, she creates a modern view of haute couture that combines cutting edge technology with innovative materials. Van Herpen’s work touches on the disciplines of biology and chemistry, so it’s no surprise she often does interdisciplinary research and collaborations with other artists or scientists–for example, she gets inspiration from the architecture of insect exoskeletons and delves into notions of modifying the biosphere of other planets to resemble that of the Earth–in fact, her collection Hacking Infinity explores the possibility of new geographies and our place within them. No matter the theme or collection, van Herpen’s creative aim is always accomplished: abolishing the boundaries between nature and technology.
This newly established clothing brand, founded by Latvian designer Baiba Redere, is entirely made with natural raw materials, principally wool and silks. Each garment is handmade using a Nuno felting technique for wool and plant dyes for silks. Gothic romance emanates from the woman wearing Woocoon, who wants to highlight her femininity, through old archetypes and contemporary natural beauty.
Australian Rachael Cassar’s collections have an innovative approach to couture in the way they incorporate social responsibility and eco-friendliness. Cassar uses around 90% recycled or upcycled materials in her collections, which contributes to creating completely unique and breathtaking clothing. For us, the way she transforms waste fabric into something beautiful and slightly eerie reminds us that while nothing lasts forever, beautiful things could well come in to take their place.
6. Ev Bessar
Ev Bessar’s knitwear is superb for Goth girls. The Russian born, New York based designer uses organic cotton and wool to knit, felt and crochet loose-hanging, raw-looking garments. Her new collection mirrors mystical messengers of light to inspire mankind, surrendering to pure vibrations, dissolving into unity. Their primitive textures imply a freedom of transformation, or a surrender to decay.