Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My Experiences in Whitby: The Problem With Subcultures

I may have gone on a bit too much about my holiday to Whitby, but I have one more thing to add.

I didn't take any pictures because apparently only old men take pictures of what other people are wearing. I think my brother thinks I'm a little odd some times but he's not exactly normal so it's okay. Anyway, I can easily illustrate what I'm talking about with pictures from the web.

I always go shopping in Whitby. It's one of the only places I can try before I buy when getting goth clothes and, judging by the amount of stalls and shoppers, I don't think I'm the only one. The goth Weekend sometimes feels like a gigantic fashion event because everyone feels comfortable wearing their most unusual finery.

There is a decent variety in the clothing people wear, but it sometimes feels like there isn't as much in the clothing for sale. Maybe it's just a stocking issue? They bring what they know they're going to be able to sell and everyone needs the basics.

(corset source)                            (other corset source)

There is always someone selling corsets, usually several people, with either a few or a whole stall full. Admit it, when you think of goths you usually think of corsets. The problem is, you only need so many. You wear them over clothes or a shift so they're never in the wash, they're expensive so you can't go buying a new one every week, and no one is going to look at you funny or joke about you if you cycle through one or two for all the events you go to.

I am being a bit hypocritical. I bought two while I was there because of my weight loss but I seriously can't see myself buying another two next time. Maybe one in another colour every now and again.

(short skirt source)                        (long skirt source)

The rest of the stuff is a bit more varied but that's only by comparison. The order of the day is lacy or frilly, with a side of generally popular styles in black.

(lace dress source)                             (50s dress source)

The first few times I went it was all new to me. I'd never seen someone wearing a big gothic Victorian or Elizabethan dress walking down the street as casually as I'd walk to the shop down the road for a packet of crisps. I had never seen so much died hair or so many wool falls (hairpieces) and it was all fresh and exciting.

There have always been the other, niche styles like cyberpunk and the more recent steampunk that have made their appearance and followed along to events like a younger me trailed after my brother and uncle, but they can only give so much and what they can is a bit repetitive in itself. Stalls and stalls of mass clockwork graves for people to buy and sew on to anything they want to call steampunk (and possibly sell on etsy). Now instead of saying 'just paint it black' we can sometimes stretch to brown and copper.

I know I'm whining like an old gate, but I miss that feeling of seeing something I haven't seen before. It's so hard to find on overcrowded hangers when you're wedged between a chattering woman and a man with sharp studs all over the arm you're getting jostled with. Maybe I'm just a social misfit who just wants to stay home and look at pictures on the web? Maybe I made a big mistake by waiting till the Saturday to go shopping? I don't know.

Despite my shopping disappointments, the thought that I'm only an online perches or a sewing project away from something I really like cheers me up even on the darkest day. That and the creativity of the individuals around me.

Anyone else out there with an opinion? Are subcultures all destined to get stale and repetitive or are they simply an aesthetic that can be reinvented time and time again? Is my problem one that comes from the restraints of limited room for stock and simple economics? Are there just so many more providers online then can ever fit in a town hall or an events venue? Did I just get over whelmed by the crowds and the chaos?

What's that? I didn't mention guys at all?

Well, there isn't much to say really. T-shirts, frilly shirts, and military theams, whether this century or the ones before.

(ruffle shirt source)                 (T-shirt source)

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