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Being a goth is hard. That is, because we make it that way.

It’s a subculture plump with aesthetes: the more your nails resemble Nosferatu’s, the more precarious your winklepicker heels, and the sharper your cat eye, the better. If we had to choose, we’d take form over function any day. Why else would we spend hours in front of the mirror to get dressed, all to perch in the foggy recesses of the club, or to sway on the dimly lit dance floor?

Extravagance is of the utmost importance to us. As a wise old bat band once proclaimed, “We love our audience!”

Visually, goth is a jumble of textures: PVC and vinyl, velvet and fishnet, leather and latex. The look and the feel of those fetishistic materials enhance the goth experience. Way before the mainstream indulged in rubber outfits (looking at you, Kim K.), goths, at the dawn of the subculture around the early 1980s, were priming and powdering their bodies after a latex catsuit bubble bath. Goth Mom Siouxsie Sioux paraded in her fetishistic ensembles that were both tough and tantalizing; many followed in her funereal steed, and, let’s just face it, we all want to be like her deep down inside.

Why else would we spend hours in front of the mirror to get dressed, all to perch in the foggy recesses of the club, or to sway on the dimly lit dance floor?

Latex and its sister materials have utility—it’s not only a visual thing when it’s all shiny, lubed up and raring to go. It protects the body from substances, like that tasty snakebite currant drink, red wine, or other secretions, and provides an instant source of strength to the wearer. No, not in a superhero kind of way, but a master and servant type deal. (Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore knew what was up.) Sub and dom, vampire and victim: either way, the power scale is a formidable force in our scene.

They say goths are a horny folk, and we are; there’s a reason why the vampire is our mascot! When our music isn’t depressing as hell, it’s sexy. Sex dwarves, incendiary lovers, leather nuns… for us, everything is intertwined with death, and sex pairs quite nicely with it. So why wouldn’t fetish gear be a consistent item in our closets? We’ve supplied you with a sample playlist of “getting ready for the goth club” tracks so you can slither on (or painfully inch into) your outfits, ready to self-flagellate with your cat o'nine tails, or stomp on someone with those pointy-ass shoes. Enjoy.

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CREEM #01 featuring a cover with original artwork by Raymond Pettibon

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