Believe me when I say this. Young, old or in between… YOU CAN AFFORD TO BE GOTH!
Don’t worry about what other people are doing, or becoming goth as fast as you can. If you grow into it and make it you, then you will end up sticking with it longer than if you rush it to impress the cool kids. Trust me, people are more impressed with you being yourself and developing who you are. In truth, you never stop learning, never stop developing yourself. The journey is the fun.
If you can afford to buy brand stuff then more power to you. But remember you don’t have to have the brands to be goth. As I said in my last article, there is a general feeling from new people seeing social media influencers thinking that you need the new expensive stuff to be goth. You see it, you see people talk about it, you want it, you buy it if you can.
There is nothing wrong with buying things you like. But you do not need expensive things to be goth. Buying these things will not make you more goth. You can not buy a “goth card”, if anything it has to be earned.
Want to earn your goth card? Participate in the goth subculture. Listen to goth music. Do something with other goths. Develop yourself as a goth. You can do this online and/or in real life. Build experience and people will question your “goth cred” less (your goth cred gets questioned no matter how experienced or old you are) because you build confidence, you know what you are doing and it will show. We were all new once, we all had to start at ground zero. People don’t start looking amazing or knowing a lot of goth music out of nowhere.
DIY vs Brands… there is another way
There is a big emphasis in fashion with DIY vs branded stuff. So much people forget the other option. Goth style can be as simple as black basics from a cheap store like Target with cheap accessories from flea markets or websites like ebay, amazon, wish or aliexpress. It is a base to work from and if you decide to DIY or buy brands later you can add to it. There is no pressure to replace it and you won’t rock up to the club looking exactly the same every week because you only have one expensive thing to wear. I find it is better to buy pieces than complete outfits anyway as you can mix and match to create new outfits and combinations. It makes even a small amount look like a lot more. And you’ll hone your creativity.
I should add that in theory you generally get what you pay for. Cheap stuff won’t always last but there are complaints about branded stuff not always lasting anyway. In which case all you are really paying for is the brand name on it. Shop around, compare prices and find the quality and bargain that works for you. It doesn’t take long to pick up when something looks under-priced and is likely crap or when something is clearly overpriced.
As for hair and make up, they aren’t my strong points and there are loads of tutorial videos on youtube. Find something you like, copy it, practice it, learn it, learn new variations. Notice a pattern here? It is all about getting confident and experienced.
Okay, now we have that out the way, the other reason for this article relating to goth’s affordability…
What is #gothisnotkillstar?
A hashtag that started on Instagram but has spread to other social media either being used as a hashtag or being talked about by people with an opinion about it. Why am I qualified to talk about it and what it really means? I created it! It is my fault, you can direct your rage at me. But it was created for a reason and I shall explain where it came from, why it was created and try to explore why some people get the meaning wrong.
Where did #gothisnotkillstar come from?
It all started on Valentine’s day (14th February 2019 my time so that would be a day early for you Americans, possibly Europeans too) in a discussion in Gothy Discord. It started with me posting a screen-cap from a r/goth Reddit discussion. This screen-cap :
You can see the Reddit r/goth thread here in all its glory. Note how Killstar-oriented it is :
On Gothy Discord the conversation moved on to big companies stealing art, low quality for high price, social media sponsorship/marketing, talk about the r/goth thread in general. Discussions meander from point to new point and this is what makes Gothy Discord great. We can have these discussions and they aren’t drowned out by a flood of selfies, memes and pictures of random black things. I’m looking at you, Reddit r/goth.
Posts like that in r/goth are why we get so critical of people posting stuff like the thread in question. It seems they are only doing it to get karma and do not contribute to any meaningful discussion outside their “look at me” thread. It happens all the time - people come in, post a picture, reap masses of karma and we never see them again. There are plenty of places online where that is welcome already.
Anyway, eventually someone looks at the original poster’s Instagram as she had it listed. It is Killstar everywhere. With all that we ponder that she might be bucking for a Killstar sponsorship if she isn’t already sponsored. Then this happens after someone sees her using #wearekillstar on a photo …
That is when #gothisnotkillstar was born.
And then people started using the #gothisnotkillstar on Instagram. Small numbers but being used by people who have a lot of followers. At the time of writing this, #gothisnotkillstar is on 45 posts on Instagram. Yet it is gathering a lot of attention, much more than it probably should..
Why are so many people mad about #gothisnotkillstar?
As people started to see it, they either strongly agreed or disagreed. A couple of people using the hashtag tried to explain it outside of Instagram, cross promoting into other platforms like youtube and groups/personal pages in Facebook too
They both reference me which I found quite the honour to be asked. It is lovely to be appreciated. I may have come up with the idea of this hashtag but others have taken the ball and run with it. I think that is great. I don’t own it, the goth community does. And it is speaking!
Since then even more people have started talking about it or are making content addressing it. Not bad for a hashtag we chalked up as a joke like #toiletgoth at the time as opposition to #wearekillstar and to address the “I can’t afford to be goth” problem in a fun way. And it is meant to be fun. A lot of photos with the tag have people wearing Killstar items as part of the joke. It has got quite a few people talking and it didn’t take many people to do that.
Why gothisnotkillstar and killstarisnotgoth do not mean the same thing
I think people are reading it backwards because they assume it is an attack on Killstar being goth and they define part of their gothiness with Killstar. It is clear in their replies as people jump in to defend the brand. They see Killstar, not and goth and assume the worst.
If it were written as killstarisnotgoth (the mistaken reading) it would be a statement saying Killstar is not goth. Like not goth ever. I deliberately didn’t word it like this because that is an attack and a closed statement. While I’m sure there are some people who would agree, the aim was never to alienate anyone but to educate new people that they don’t need Killstar to be goth.
Gothisnotkillstar however is saying goth is not Killstar. Meaning Killstar does not represent all of goth. Some goths may like Killstar but that doesn’t mean you have to have Killstar stuff to be goth. Thinking you need Killstar to be goth is like thinking you must like a specific band to be goth. There are so many goth bands you can like and dislike the ones you want.
Why are you picking on Killstar?
I am not going to go into the good and bad of brands, been there before and others are discussing that too. Killstar is one brand of many. However, Killstar happens to be the biggest and most effective of the social media influencer sponsors right now. It is the brand people see in goth related social media being pushed the most.
Plus there is that #wearekillstar thing. Individuals may be “Killstar” but as a whole the goth subculture is not. We are more than brands and a market to tap into. More than selfies, clothing hauls and outfits of the day. Fashion and style are a small part of goth and not the most important part. To reduce goth to a mere fashion or costume degrades us all.
But what about Lip Service and Tripp in the 90s/00s?
Yes, these brands existed and they were well known. But they had nowhere near the stranglehold from the direct marketing power Killstar has today thanks to their social media marketing tactics. Even Hot Topic (or similar stores across the world) had, and have for those still around, less direct market power. Different times, different eras, different stages of the internet, different emphasis and influence via social media.
You do not need lots of money to be goth. You do not need brands to be goth. You do not need Killstar to be goth. This is what #gothisnotkillstar is about.
No one should think more or less of you for buying Killstar or any other brand. Like what you like. Do goth how you can afford it with your available money.
If you want to benefit from brand sponsorship there is nothing wrong with that, I’m not here to crap on people who get sponsored. But they do have some responsibility to make it clear they are sponsored for full disclosure as it does place a bias on reviews. No one is going to give a crappy review and risk losing a sponsorship deal, especially if they are trying to make a living doing it. But sponsored social media influencers do have some responsibility in making new kids feel they can’t afford to be goth and it could potentially turn them away from the subculture, maybe even cost them subscribers and followers. Something to keep in mind.