Gothic culture, celebrated through World Goth Day every May 22, goes much deeper than a certain music genre or fashion style. For World Goth Day, Dre Ronayne, a twenty-three-year-old makeup artist and influencer from LA has some valuable insight into gothic culture:
“The term ‘goth’ started with the Visigoths hundreds of years ago, which lead to the gothic architecture we know today.”
The Visigoth were a tribe of Germanic peoples who conquered lands and kingdoms. When they finally settled into their own kingdom, they did so with a different, beautifully dark aesthetic. We see this in their architecture, jewels, and clothing. Since the world had never previously experienced this look, the masses looked down on this different aesthetic.
According to Ronayne, people coined the term “gothic literature” when novels like Dracula and Edgar Allen Poe’s work gained popularity. However, this rich history has little to do with the goth (or dark wave) music movement that started in the 1970s.
It’s important to understand the history of goth culture before making assumptions about today’s gothic culture. This history laid the foundation for architecture, music, fashion, and much more.
Goth individuals find beauty in what others find too dark to be pleasing. Going against the mainstream often causes people to feel outcast in some way. Ronayne says, “The term goth has always meant dark or outcast in some sense, so that’s what I equate it with.”
According to Ronayne, modern gothic culture allows people to embrace their dark side through music, makeup, fashion, or any other form of self expression. This even applies to people who break barriers within the culture.
“I think boxing yourself in with any ‘rules’ to goth fashion goes against what the whole movement stands for. With that being said, I do wear black 99.99% of the time.”
On social media, people post photos with some sort of goth hashtag, but frequently receive backlash for doing so. What the haters don’t realize is that being dark and different is exactly the point of gothic culture.
Ronayne doesn’t see a problem with young people in all black, donning chokers and labeling themselves as goths. She believes anyone can wear anything they want because it’s a true form of self expression, and expressing yourself doesn’t hurt anything or anyone.
Gothic culture is unique because it allows people to adopt their own sense of belonging through the music they listen to and the clothes they wear, without actually incorrectly or ignorantly posing as part of that culture.
Ronayne does her part to keep goth culture alive through her ever-evolving personal style:
“Like any music or style, it evolves throughout the years. It’s important to remember where [gothic culture] came from, because those are the artists who made it what it is today.”