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The goth girls of The Craft
The Craft (1996)

Goths on film: 18 of the best-dressed doomers in pop culture

As Wednesday gets its big release on Netflix, and life crosses into the dark side, we pay respects to all the hot goths that came before us

Despite what the Addams family might attest, nobody is born wearing alabaster face paint and black gowns. Think of the classic case of the teen-turned-goth, which is one of the most enduring tropes in contemporary culture. The girl who grows weary of seeing her classmates parrot each other’s style and speech, and so sends out a distress signal – thick eyeliner, all-black outfits, buckle-strewn boots – in an attempt to separate herself from the lamestream. She starts to listen to The Damned and Siouxsie Sioux, thinking herself an undiscovered member of Evanescence

Often, we realise who we are and what we’re about by assuming the identities of other people. The shape-shifting power of clothing is one of the most fundamental pleasures in getting dressed each morning, and is perhaps the simplest way of experimenting with newfound allegiances. Film, music, and television all play an essential role in facilitating this process of self-discovery – how many people saw themselves, for the first time, in Nancy Downs’ character in The Craft and decided to steal, copy, and shamelessly rip off her bloodied lipstick and studded choker? What might start out as a performance of subculture eventually brings us closer in line to our real selves. 

“It’s about everyone who has been outcast in their life coming together,” as one attendee at Whitby’s most recent Goth Weekend told us. Much to the dismay of “real” goths, the reemergence of a dark aesthetic has been well documented in pop culture. There’s Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, who now dress almost exclusively in Hot Topic; there’s Demna’s cabal of sullen Balenciaga models in floor-scraping leather coats; Willow Smith and her thigh-high Kiki boots; and Jenna Ortega’s latest role as Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s Wednesday. Below, we travel over some of the hottest goths to have appeared on-screen – from Andrea in Daria and Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice, to Brandon Lee in The Crow.

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