The phrase “alternative fashion” is often associated with styles that differ from mainstream trends. The phrase itself depicts fashion choices that are not only unique but constantly altered. Alternative fashion is typically linked to teenagers and young adults, although people of any age may participate in this style of dress. In the first decade of the 21st century, gothic and emo fashion are the most popular forms of alternative fashion, though grunge and rockabilly are also modes of alternative fashion. In fact, most any type of style can be considered alternative fashion to other people.
Emo fashion has its roots in a style of rock music. Lyrically emotional and melodically catchy, the songs have been capturing a certain kind of audience since roughly the mid-1980s. While the emo movement enjoyed moderate underground popularity until the 21st century, it has since become more mainstream. Fashion critics often contend that since more and more clothing designers have manufactured styles directed toward this crowd, it’s not as “alternative” as it once was.
“Emo kids” — as they are often called — are generally depicted as wearing tight jeans or pants, band t-shirts, neon colors contrasted with shades of black, and shoes manufactured by skateboard brands. Studded belts, thick-rimmed glasses and shaggy haircuts are also associated with emo fashion. Many emo fashionistas also dye chunks of their hair in various bright, unusual colors. Despite the loud outfit choices, those who dress with an emo flair are often stereotyped as shy, angst-ridden boys and girls.
Goth or gothic fashion is another style of alternative fashion. Considered a type of subculture, people who have “gone goth” are often seen wearing all black, with occasional splashes of white or gray. Black hair is also common, worn in wild or long, straight manners. Heavy black makeup — including black lips — are also associated with this type of alternative fashion. Style choices are often reminiscent of the Victorian ages, as well as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) and punk movements.
Considered androgynous in many ways, goth clothing is worn by both men and women. Like other forms of alternative fashion, there is no age or geographic restrictions associated with the goth subculture. Both men and women in this scene may wear tulle or velvet skirts, black boots and fishnet accessories. Gothic people are also generally pale, as Goths are stereotyped as disliking the sun. Macabre, erotic and morbid accessories are also parts of this fashion trend.