FASHION AND HORROR: A love affair through the decades

Halloween brings out the fears, screams and gore, but where can we trace this back to in the history of fashion?

Alexantra Theodosiou
29th October 2021
Image: Pixabay @oliana_gruzdeva

When it comes to horror, what are we most scared of? Is it blood, gore, monsters and death, or is it our own perception, our thoughts which shape our fears?

It is well known that fashion is not only a need as it first appeared, but has developed into an art, and a form of self-expression. We use our outward appearance to project the image in which we want to be seen by the world, but also to express our views, our thoughts, our love and hate and curiosity, our fears. 

Horror has been represented in fashion in so many different ways, from runway designers taking inspirations from stories and places and emotions to paint a canvas of textiles and style trends that would create legacies, to people in their everyday lives choosing to wear their experiences, to show the world their feelings through fabrics and accessories. 

It is well known that fashion is not only a need as it first appeared, but has developed into an art, and a form of self-expression

Though an aspect of horror has always existed in fashion, we can argue that it became more prominent with the origins of ‘Gothic’ fashion, a style distinguished by its dark tones, fabric blends, antique features and overall aura of mystery surrounding the individual who dons it. It can be traced trending as far back as 1200AD, though the Victorian re-emergence of Gothic fashion is what we should thank for its huge success in the 1980s, which has been increasing and will continue increasing in future fashion trends.

The many sub-cultures of Goth fashion that have emerged in recent decades also indicate its success, from Cyber-goth to Gothic Lolita to Haute Goth, it has allowed horror to dominate large parts of the fashion industry.

Overall, Gothic fashion has allowed for a taste of horror to be blended into everyday fashions, giving us a highly intricate and beautiful style to explore and express ourselves through.

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