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Gothic Culture: History and Main Features

Gothic culture is a subculture or urban tribe that adopts dark elements of fashion such as black clothes, black hair, dark eyeliner, black nails and old clothes. It is also related to the musical genre of gothic rock and a range of artistic genres.

The Gothic sub culture has tastes associated with music, aesthetics, and fashion. Gothic sub culture music involves a different number of styles, including Gothic rock, industrial rock, post punk and neoclassical.

Gothic girl

The clothing styles within this subculture vary from Victorian, punk and deathrock styles, or even combinations of these branches.

The aesthetics of this subculture is associated with dark (often black) outfits, pale facial makeup and black hair.

The Gothic subculture began in England in the mid-1980s, where it developed from the Gothic rock scene, in turn a variation of the genre and post punk movement.

This subculture has survived for much longer than others of the same era and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world.

His images and cultural trends indicate an influence of nineteenth-century gothic literature and gothic horror films.


Gothic sub culture, especially previous generations, were quite influenced by Romanticism, or a style of art and literature that emerged in the late 1700s until the early 1800s.

This style of art and literature emphasized the expression of emotions, feelings and imagination. Romanticism also took an affinity for unhappiness and the use of ancient poetry verses to express this melancholy.

The Gothic cub culture also took an affinity for architecture, literature, music and medieval, Edwardian, Victorian and Gothic art.

First songs

The first inspirational song for the Gothic movement could be ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, released in August 1979 by the English band Bauhaus.

This song has cryptic sounds and ominous piano notes; a song that would be appropriate music for a horror movie or a Halloween party.

However, the first person to use the term ‘Gothic’ was Siouxsie Sioux, lead singer of the band Siouxsie and the Banshees. She used this term in reference to the direction her band was taking in relation to their musical genre.

The genre of gothic rock, a variant of punk rock, gained a lot of traction from 1.979 and during the beginning of the 80s; It started in England and spread to other countries. A second generation of Gothic bands originated in the late 80s.

Some researchers have proposed that the Gothic movement can be seen as a rebel response to the polished fashion of the disco era of the 70s.

He suggests that it began as a proposal against the colorful pastel colors and extravagance of the 80s.

Icons and examples of this movement

Notable examples of gothic musical icons include Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith (leader of The Cure), Peter Murhpy (leader of Bashaus), Ian Curtis (leader of Joy Division), Nick Cave, Marilyn Manson and Nico.

In literature, the influence of Mary Shelley's work is remarkable in this sub culture. His book Frankestein is one of the most popular and well-known novels classified as Gothic literature.

Another Gothic writer with great influence was Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote about dark and dreary subjects such as being buried alive, death, murder and torture.

As for architecture, windows with large arches, grouped columns, pointed towers and statues with many details are characteristic of this movement.


Gothic fashion is often dark, mysterious, complex and exotic, being able to be recognized for its totally black clothes.

Typical Gothic fashion includes black-dyed hair, black eyeliner, black-painted nails and old-style black clothes; Goths can have piercings too. Silver jewelry is also popularly used.

The styles are influenced by the medieval, Elizabethan and Victorian period; They often express pagan images, the occult and other religious imagery.

Gothic fashion can be described as a combination of black velvet, lace, fishnet stockings, gloves, heels and jewelry that symbolizes religious and hidden themes.

Black hair, dark clothes and pale complexion provide the basic look of a follower of this culture.

It can be said that he tries a deliberate exaggeration with emphasis on dark layers and frilly cuffs; Pale facial makeup and dark hair demonstrate a modern version of the excess of the late Victorian period.

Gothic Cinematography

Many of the early Gothic artists adapted traditional horror movie images and were inspired by the musical soundtracks of horror movies to be inspired.

The use of standard horror movie articles such as smoke, plastic bats and cobwebs are characterized and used in this sub culture. Supernatural and hidden themes are quite serious for this movement.

These influences can be observed in the 1983 movie ‘The Hunger’; Tim Burton's films ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ are also examples of this movement.