Thursday, 19 June 2014

Alternative subcultures and the glamorisation of sadness

Another post??? Yeah, so as a quick update, I've got three jobs, which essentially means I'm working full time. It's tiring, but I'm enjoying it so far. Yes, I know I missed World Goth Day, Friday the 13th + full moon AND Red and Black Week, but I'll try to post whenever I can. If I have time, I'll even write several posts and queue them for future publication.

During one of my ever decreasing free moments, I stumbled across this post: Soft Grunge, Mental Illness is Not a Style.

I would highly recommend you read through it, but in case you don't, here's the basics: the author explains her concerns about the popularity of 'soft grunge' and its glamourisation of sadness, depression, etc.

Here she defines soft grunge as essentially a way of finding beauty in tragedy, but not necessarily in a good way. Soft grunge has also been used interchangeably with pastel goth and nu goth, although it is more of an ideology than a style. Hard to tell though, as they all seem to blur into one on the internet.

Emo is another one of those subcultures that really okayed the mopey, depressed  mindset. The more scars on your arms the better.

The author makes an interesting argument - "Soft grunge is okay, but the consequences might not be". It's okay to seek comfort and assurance, but it is important to understand the impact of your actions.

And so here begins my two cents.

I have had mental illness, and you know what, I reckon almost everyone has. research throws around statistics like 1 in 3 adult Australians will experience depression yada yada but I don't believe it for a second. People keep their mouth shut about this kind of thing. People are very good at hiding things.

I wasn't the best at hiding it, but as my friends weren't entirely certain, they'd sort of half-seriously, half-jokingly comment about how 'depressed' I'd seem, and then I'd join in the 'joke' and they'd all feel better. And that was what I wanted.

I know people who have seen depression as this glamorous thing. Scars on your wrist are so cool, you guys.

Okay, maybe that's a bit nasty. Let me rephrase.

The intense desire to be a part of something, to make sense of the world, to be able to deal with pain, can sometimes encourage people to believe that being depressed is a mature and necessary thing. You're struggling with pain and able to hang on. You're an amazing human being.

I'll admit I've been guilty of this kind of thought before, especially when I need affirmation. I'd make a martyr of myself which was completely unnecessary, despite my depression. I held onto this stubborn belief that I would be a much more awesome person if I could struggle on by myself, bothering no-one, writing poetry (legit), crying into my pillow.

There is no doubt I was depressed, but I definitely could have dealt with it better. Rather than glamourise my depression and essentially hang on to it, I should have realised that it didn't make me any better, any more mysterious and amazing, just because I was stuck in this cycle of misery that could be alleviated, just a little, by changing my view.

You might say: yeah, but you were depressed. It's not that easy. And you're right. Partially because of this glamourised view of depression which is becoming increasingly projected.

Now I can look at pictures of Wylona Hayashi, Felice Fawn and all the rest of those depression-chic types and appreciate the beauty of the picture, but not desire those feelings of struggle and martyrdom anymore. If they want to do that, that's fine. I'm over it.

I expect that there will be some controversy over my comments. Go forth. Let's hear your views.

On a final note, please take these words. They are accompanied by cute owls.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Decora

What is this, a POST????? I'm still alive, it's just really hard to juggle three jobs plus have a life.

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Country of Origin


Gender balance
Lots of females but a fair representation of males too


Decora is all about bright colours and fun! This Japanese street fashion encourages loading up on accessories to produce a playful appearance.


Hair tends to be natural, but covered in cute hair clips, headbands and other ornaments. Decora wear many layers of clothes in bright colours, including socks and stockings, scarves and face masks. Badges or toys may be pinned to clothing. Lots of candy jewellery is also popular. Basically, the more stuff, the better!

More recently, decora has inspired other subcultures to form Deco-loli (x Lolita) and Kotoesa (x Visual Kei styles).

Style icons
Singer and actress Tomoe Shinohara is sometimes credited with starting decora. When young, she was well known for wearing bright colours and lots of accessories.


More recently, Haruka Kurebayashi, owner of the brand 90844, is a big icon in the decora scene. She has a series of videos with online fashion magazine Tokyo Fashion which lay out some tutorials for decora style. 

Mahouprince dresses in both feminine and boystyle decora, along with other styles. They tend to have a kind of fairy-kei and pastel vibe at the same time.

Further reading and resources
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