Creativity and expression is part of being alive, with a more stable and peaceful world, countless possibilities to express ourselves and our interests in diverse topics, real or imaginary, and aesthetic ways came with it.
Mods and rockers, hippies and punks were all popular subcultures in the second half of the 20th century. And since those days even more subcultures have sprung up, each with their own fashion, aesthetic, music and purpose.
Ironically, alternative subcultures have given much to mainstream society. Some of these subcultures have crossed over and have some mainstream popularity, for example Steampunk, Goth and Emo. And elements of other subcultures like Kawaii and Harajuku have been accepted into mainstream fashion, music and trends.
But ultimately, alternative subcultures are all about accepting what makes you unique and breaking the rules on what it means to be popular. So here are just a few alternative subcultures that are popular in 2022:
The Goth subculture was started in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s by fans of Gothic Rock, which is a subgenre of the post-punk scene, or so it started like. It takes it's name from the Medieval Architecture styles of Europe that we all already know, and continues to be associated with aesthetically.
Then this culture has come to encompass so much more: other branches of music, literature, movies, the well known style of dressing, and philosophy. Common topics regarded by Goths include: Death, the sadness and pre-nostalgia of knowing that life and everything that is beautiful will end, the inevitability of the pass of time and the destruction it leaves behind, the discontent of being imperfect beings, mental unwellness, existencial dread, loneliness and love.
Some followers of the culture also tend to be deeply interested in "sister" topics such as witchcraft, Satanism, the Horror genre, Punk, fantasy and even Norse mythology. Some literature characters or creatures tend to be regarded as inherentenly "Gothic", due to their nature or personal stories, such as: vampires, werewolves, sentient ghosts and demons, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera, Dorian Grey and many others.
Because of these topics, Goths have a typically dark and even morbid style of dress. They often dye their hair black and wear black vintage style clothing accessorised with silver jewelry. Punk fashion is combined with styles from Victorian and Edwardian clothing and both male and female goths often wear dark nail polish and eyeliner.
There are also subgenres and crossovers between subculture genres such as Punk-Goth, Pastel Goths, White Goth, Gothic Lolita, Cyber-Goth, Steampunk-Goth, Kawaii Goth and Emo Goth, some of these purely aesthetic, some of them full followers of other subcultures or fantasy genres.
Notable Gothic Movies, Series, Books and Music:
• Beetlejuice (1988)
• Edward Scissorhands (1990)
• Addams Family (1991, 1993)
• Sleepy Hollow (1999)
• The Breed (2001)
• The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
• Corpse Bride (2005)
• What we do in the Shadows (2014)
• Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)
• The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
• What we do in the Shadows (2019-present)
• The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
• Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
• Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
• Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
• Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
• Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937)
• Joy Division
• The Cure
• Siouxie & The Banshees
• Sisters of Mercy
• Dead Can Dance
• Rosa Crux
• Mors Syphilitica
• The Frozen Autumn
• The Birthday Massacre
Pastel Goth is a recent subculture from the 2010s that is a softer version of the Goth style. It has grown to become one of the top alternative subcultures of the last decade.
Black clothes, inverted crosses and other symbols of the occult are still popular, but in this subculture they are combined with pastel accessories, flower crowns, bows and dolly shoes. And instead of black, hair is dyed in pastel shades of pink, mint and lavender or ombre gradients.
White Goth, Bloody Goth & Bloody White Goth
Not subcultures per se, but spectacular color schemes for those with perhaps a love for blood and vampirism.
Bloody Goth uses demonic combinations of black and red, while White Goth brings to mind vampire culture and ghostly images, Bloody White Goth is the glorious combination of white and bloody red.
Witch House is a subculture that emerged in the last decade, and has built up a loyal following amongst the fans of Witch House music.
Witch House and other subgenres like seapunk and vaporwave became popular in the 2010s as interest in electronic music grew. It generally centers on dark themes such as the occult, supernatural and horror.
The styling in this subculture mixes skinny jeans with baggy hoodies and oversized tees. Silver jewelry featuring ankhs and pentagrams is also popular along with other Egyptian and occult symbols.
Steampunk is one of the most popular modern subcultures and combines Victorian fashion with modern technological elements and post-apocalyptic influences. It is a subgenre of science fiction that is usually set in the Victorian era and features technological advances that wouldn’t normally fit into this time.
A typical Steampunk outfit features Victorian style coats, cravats, top hats and military inspired garments. Women might wear leather corsets over a high necked white blouse or knee-high lace up boots. Steampunk goggles, high-tech accessories and metallic clockwork details will complete the outfit.
Notable Steampunk Movies, Series, Books and Music:
|• The Time Machine (2002)
• Steamboy (2004)
• The Prestige (2006)
• The Golden Compass (2007)
• City of Ember (2008)
• Sherlock Holmes (2009)
• Hugo (2011)
• Wild Wild West (1999)
|• Avatar: The Legend of Korra (2012)
||• Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve (2001-2006)
• Infernal Devices by K.W Jeter (1987)
• Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (2009)
|• The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera
• Abney Park
• The Cog is Dead
• The Dresden Dolls
Harajuku is one of the older alternative subcultures, beginning in Japan in the 1980s before gaining popularity in the West at the turn of the century.
It mixes well known Japanese style genres like Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolia, Cosplay and Decora. Sometimes Harajuku clothing will combine traditional Japanese clothing with western clothing, and customized, vintage or retro clothes are also popular.
The main message is that those who love Harajuku subculture also love having fun and don’t care about mainstream trends.
One notable movie I'd like to recommend is: Shimotsuma Monogatari: Yankī-chan to Rorīta-chan (English name: Kamikaze Girls) (2002)
All images included in this post are sourced from Pinterest and included as samples, owned by their respective makers, none by Abysm Internal