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1980s Trad Goths: The Original Anti-Social Social Club

Goth style has gone through a lot of incarnations. What’s known today as “trad goths” were, in the early 1980s, just gloomy punks who were sick of wearing color and being overly enthusiastic at shows. Hardcore punk was booming, and the gentle souls needed a scene of their own, so Deathrock was born. Their uniform was all black everything with silver accents, giant teased hair, and more eyeliner than I’ve ever seen in my life. I was a strange kid in high school and I have the yearbook pics to back that up, so I feel a real kinship with the girls who got all done up for their 1982 school photo. They must have had to run a gauntlet of basics to just express who they were. Not to mention navigating their parents’ disapproval, who were bombarded with the Satanic Panic and the demonization of punks in the media. It’s one of my favorite looks of the 80s, and it’s a shame it’s stayed a niche throwback instead of being revived like camel toe highwaters have been. I’d much rather look at painstakingly done Siouxsie eyes than at painfully ill-fitting pants. If you’re with me on that, check out this rad gallery of trad goths:

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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