We have this so-called “existential malaise” which can be discovered through the style of characters from Netflix shows like Maeve Wiley (Sex Education) and Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale), two grunge and moody characters. And on the other hand, we have the Gen Z, this generation that keeps changing but who shares their views about the way they see the world evolve. Guest author Augustin Bougro analysed the current goth trend for COPYPASTE! Magazine. 

Old fans of Avril Lavigne and Evanescence will be happy to hear that chockers and blackwear are nowadays trendier than ever in the fashion industry. Here's why.

Black distressed jeans, platform leather ankle-boots, chocker around the neck, eyeliner… The early 2000s marked the emergence of gothic style and its dark outfits, as inspired by Tim Burton's aesthetic. And in 2021, this lifestyle is emerging from its grave. Yes, gothic is everywhere: in the fashion, film and music industry. But especially amongst the young generation who put it in the spotlight on social networks.

If Gen Z is crazy about TikTok, it's also because this app is like a teenager's bedroom: a place where young people can be whoever they want, without fear of being judged by adults. So it's no surprise that many TikTokers are coming together via the hashtag #goth, only one year after the beginning of a massive worldwide lockdown.

That’s the case of Sowilo, 18, who’s now been rocking the goth style for five years. With 21.3k followers on TikTok, the teen shares a lot about her own vision of the new gothgeneration. “On social media, we make a lot of friends we can talk to and share what we like”, she explains. But for her, the gothic style is much more than a fashion trend. “It's a plus. Goth is a culture. It can be musical, literary, cinematographic…” A culture in which she also dresses thanks to fast fashion and vintage. For her accessories, Sowilofavors AliExpress. For her clothes, she prefers Vinted.
Same for Louise, 18. From her bedroom, she shares a lot of gothic inspired looks to her 12,000 subscribers on Instagram (@red_doll_ars). And the brands vary: AliExpress, again, but also Asos, H&M or even SkyDance, an online store that specializes in gothic and grunge clothing. And in her personal circle, original outfits are important. “I am in a high school that has its own art-group, so I am often surrounded by original people who express themselves through fashion”.
A universe that is also reminiscent of the Dark Academia, a spooky fashion trend that is very present on social networks since last year. On Depop, popular resale app amongst teens, Twilight's Bella Swann print t-shirts selling through the roof. And again, it's no surprise either that Gothic has been gaining ground on fashion shows for several seasons now. The recent collections by Dior, Anrealage and even Art School are a proof of this phenomenon.


How can we explain the return of this trend that was thought to be buried forever in the abyss of fashion? Two years ago, Antidote magazine tried to give an answer: “Vibrant resistance to neoliberalism, Goth clothing is the receptacle of powerful political affects, notably explored by the German artist Anne Imhof, who also collaborates with Balenciaga”. A way for the young ones, perhaps, to escape from our ultra-connected and too violent society?

For anthropologist and teacher-researcher Magali Prodhomme, it is a circular effect: “We have a generation which is reappropriating cultural references. In this reappropriation, they return cultural effects”, she says. “It is a way of doing politics for these young people. This political existence is marked by codes of revolt: black, make-up, the desire to transgress standards”. A young generation which revolts against society thanks to clothing (or codes). Like that day when, in France, teenage girls wore crop-tops in high school to respond to Jean Castex's “republican outfit”-scandal.


Different industries, same cultural references. The same goes for music. On March 26, 2021, Evanescence, gothic star of early 2000s teens, made her comeback in the music industry with a new album. “I've been through a lot - the high-highs, and the low-lows - and the album is a journey through it”, she told Vogue. This musical atmosphere is also found in the ultra-visual video clips of Billie Eilish, another icon for young people, or Lana Del Rey who pays tribute to witchcraft and vampires in her latest album unveiled in early March: Chemtrails Over The Country Club.

On the small screen, Tim Burton seems ready to share soon his very first Netflix series. It will honor Wednesday Addams, an iconic figure in American pop culture. “Brooding, maudlin, full of woe: Wednesday Addams is an icon for pandemic times. Who better to express our existential malaise with a world gone horribly wrong than the seven-year-old anti-heroine of Charles Addams’s much-loved TV and film franchise?” The Guardian wrote on March 24, 2021.

So, on one hand, we have this so-called “existential malaise”which can, as a matter of fact, also be discovered through the style of characters from successful Netflix shows like Maeve Wiley (Sex Education) and Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale), two grunge and moody characters. And on the other hand, we have the Gen Z, this generation that keeps changing but who shares their views about the way they see the world evolve.