By Rita Forrest
Is there one place where you truly fit in, where you can dress and act how you want without anyone passing judgment? Many people today join their own style tribes to express how they feel in an outwardly fashion. Style tribes wear clothing and body adornment to express their values and beliefs in a different way from popular culture. Their style choices are a way to stand out from the crowd, identify one another and rebel against mainstream society.
The Goth subculture started as a revolution in Britain against the economic downturn of the 1970s. The group was inspired by Gothic literature and a need to rise against dominant society. Goths are like the angsty teenagers of the world, boldly displaying their dank attitude with black clothing, leather products, and silver chain accessories. Many wear distressed t-shirts and black combat boots in resistance of the cookie-cutter way of life.
An offshoot of the Goth movement is the Gothic Lolita subculture, which started in Japan. The Lolita lifestyle highlights values of femininity and modesty by wearing Victorian-inspired clothing such as ruffled petticoats and lace. Popularity of this subculture rose due to a disagreement with the male-dominated world and women dressed in an overly feminine way to assert their own power. Gothic Lolitas combined the feminine dress of Lolita with the unconventional clothing of the gothic style. This style tribe poses the question “why not be defiant and feminine at the same time”?
Punk also first emerged as a rebellion in 1970s London, but this time the group was a backlash against the hippie culture. British youth identified with urban street culture that dressed outside the box of mainstream fashion. The look consisted of dark, tight jeans and body decorations such as tattoos and piercings. All members usually held a little bit of hate, anger, and sweat to go along with their fashion. The style tribe developed into the distressed punks we know today with ripped jeans, mohawks, and faded The idea of futuristic punk morphed into the tribe of Steampunk, which displays values and beliefs in a dystopian society. Steampunk clothing is usually handmade (also known as “DIY” for do-it-yourself) by the wearer. The clothing is designed to show the invention, creativity, and gadgetry of daily life. This tribe keeps the messiness and attitude of punk rebellion, but adds an element of creativity and futuristic ideology with tailored jackets, motorcycle gloves, and goggles.
Rebellion comes in many forms, and today’s fashion incorporates many of these tribes’ signature styles, such as leather goods, dark makeup, and black lace and boots. We all have a rebellious streak and by putting on some black lipstick or wearing that ripped tee, we are just showing off our carefree attitude to the world. So next time you get ready for a night on the town, or even a trip to the store, be bold and defy social norms by adding a little bit of nonconformity into your outfit.
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