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How to be a goth in the summertime
Ammerman Schlösberg AW15Photography Evan Schreiber

How to survive summer as a goth

NYC’s darkest design duo Ammerman Schlösberg bestow their wisdom – and share their favourite angsty teen tunes

With their designs blending influences like the the noughties-nostalgia of The Simple Life with Lolita culture and broken porcelain dolls, design duo Ammerman Schlösberg (made up of Eric Schlösberg and Elizabeth Ammerman) are the resident goths of NYC fashion. “Regardless of how saccharine sweet and cutesy-pop the theme of the collection Liz and I are working on might be,” explains Schlösberg, “there’s always going to be an underlying element of darkness, something fucked up and scary.” 

But they aren’t just harking haphazardly back to teen days hanging out in Hot Topic – they’ve been in it for the long run. “In fourth grade I went trick-or-treating as Marilyn Manson,” admits Schlösberg. “I was OBSESSED with him. I wore a full face of makeup, big bell-bottoms, and even bigger platforms. I have some very cute photos of myself with green nails, my hair in a bunch of little ponytails, wearing, like, three chokers at a time, at age nine.” Partner-in-crime Elizabeth Ammerman played it a bit more low-key – “My outfits were a bit more cheerful, even though I was not (laughs). In orchestra class, my chair partner was a Wiccan goth. I thought she was weird, but her concept has always stuck with me.”

It’s officially August, meaning that black-clad kids across the world are sweltering in the summer heat (just not in England). Taking pity on their plight, we hit up the duo for their top tips on surviving summer as a goth – plus, got their ultimate goth playlist, featuring Marilyn Manson, Korn and more. 

WEAR RED EYELINER:

Channel Alexander McQueen’s suitably gothic AW98 show by swapping out your favourite black kohl for a swipe of red eyeliner. “It’s way lighter than a face full of powder and you’ll still look super scary,” the duo explains. Bonus: you can pass for your favourite pallid-looking vampire. It’s “the easiest way to look sick during summer.”

PILE ON THE SPF: 

“Real goth to me is dimly-lit room contemplation over illusions in society and reality, to a point where it starts externalising into an air of mourning,” explains Ammerman. Whatever your skin tone, you want to keep it as pale as possible to preserve that “locked inside, lamenting with the curtains drawn” vibe. Not everyone can go full-on Edward Scissorhands, but layer up on the factor 50 to stay ashen and drawn.

RIP YOUR CLOTHES:

This one is a lot more practical than it sounds, although you will have to prepare for a barrage of old people at bus stops enquiring why you haven’t sewn up the gaping holes in your jeans (because they reflect the gaping holes in your heart, obviously). As Ammerman Schlösberg say: “Clothes full of holes allow for great ventilation while still keeping the angst.” The added bonus: “It’s kinda cute to look like you’re falling apart.”

DON’T STOP WEARING THE SERIAL KILLER BOOTS:

“Sorry, guys, we know they’re hot and heavy!” say the designers, but let’s face it – there’s a reason you’ve never seen a goth in flip flops. Whether you go for lace-up Dr Martens or Buffalo-style platforms, there are, as the designers say, “no exceptions here”. The health goths might get away with their Hi-Tec platform trainers and white Nike socks, but if you’re going old-school you have to commit to the boots. 

KEEP IT SAD:

Remember, goth is a state of mind, not just a state of dress. It’s all about maintaining the attitude: “Keep it sad. No smiles.” As Schlösberg says, “Of course there are ways of outwardly expressing your goth self, but really it’s what’s on the inside that counts... ew. I never thought I’d say that.”

Listen to Ammerman Schlösberg’s goth playlist below, and check them out on Instagram here.