Written By Katie Finn
Published: March 17, 2012
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©Copyright 2009-2012 Out Of The Blue.
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What is alternative fashion?
Alternative fashion has a broad spectrum of different categories, styles and characteristics that alternative fashionistas follow. It could mean certain
styles, colors and shapes to one person and to another it could mean anything that is not mainstream Fashion Week in New York. But lets get down
to the nitty gritty and see what alternative fashion really is and what it means.

When one looks up the term alternative and fashion in the dictionary, or use the Dictionary widget on a Mac, they are greeted by these definitions:

Alternative – available as another possibility

Fashion – a popular trend, especially in dress and ornament or manners or behavior.

Coming away from the definitions it's clear that alternative fashion is another option for fashionistas. No one has to go with what fashion critics and the
top fashion magazine stylists say what is in or out while they watch the latest designs from Ralph Lauren walk down the runway. For the most part it’s
their opinion of what they see and what they think about what they had viewed. But that doesn’t mean that alternative fashion doesn’t have its own
trends and styles that come and go and then come back again and repeat.

There is an array of different style categories for various alternative fashion lovers everywhere. Some have come, gone, and come back again. And a
few are recent coined creations. Each of these examples has their own unique shapes, sub-styles and more.

Goth Fashion: Very dark, sometimes or always morbid dress. Can be on the erotic and fetish side or the Neo-Victorian side. Both men and women
wear dark eyeliner and nail polish, usually in black or dark colors and sometimes red.

Elegant Gothic Aristocrat: A sub-style of the Lolita fashion. This style is more on the mature, Victorian side. There are no bell skirts, bloomers, or
cute Mary Jane’s that makes this a great style choice for the more mature and wise Lolita.

Cyber Fashion: A combination of Goth, rivethead and science fiction novels. Androgyny is common and bright neon colors are contrasted with black.
PVC material is used often in clothing. Cyber lox hairpieces, gasmasks, and goggles are key accessories.

Punk Fashion: There are a few sub-styles that go along with Punk fashion since there are different types of Punk subcultures. Since punk fashion
has been crossed over, inspired other people, and so on there is no specific style set. It’s all mind set for the most part.

Lolita Fashion: A Japanese street style that is a wonderful mix of Victorian and Rococo, think Marie Antoinette, styles. The main characteristics of
this style are bell shaped skirts, bloomers, Mary Jane’s, and cute childish headpieces. This style also has a few sub-styles to it as well.

Mod: A subculture that originated in London during the 1960s. The style was very expensive looking. Men wore expensive suits where they put the
Royal Air Force roundel on their clothes. Women wore mini skirts and styles by Mary Quant’s designs and androgynous hairstyles. This subculture
was very into fashion and would rather buy clothes than anything else.

Ero Kawaii: A Japanese street style where Western sexiness is mixed with the popular cuteness of the kawaii trend. This style is a fairly recent new
Japanese style were “ero” came from “erotic” (seen as negative in Japan) and combined with the term “kawaii” by singer Kumi Koda

Steampunk: Where Victorian fashion and Jules Vern novels meet. The style itself has Victorian tones to it with some sci-fi fantasy accessories to it.
There are no specific guidelines to steampunk fashion. As long as you have Victorian and Victorian sci-fi details you have a steampunk look.

There are also a few alternative fashion styles that are on the borderline between being alternative or commercial. Either they have gained a large
commercial audience or commercial designers or retail companies have taken inspiration from these alternative fashion styles. Most likely so the
commercial companies gain more or new customer appeal.

Pin-up/Rockabilly: Think of Bettie Page or 1950s hotrods when you create a look under this category. Men will wear button down bowling shirts with
tailored trouser pants or a white t-shirt with jeans rolled up at the hem. Women will wear more pin-up like clothing that will have a 1950s inspiration in
shape and colors.

Hipster: This style is very broad and is more focused on individual thought and progressive politics. The hipster style is mostly based on what is
found in thrift stores and vintage shops. Women and men both have an androgynous style to them and thick-rimmed glasses, almost like Buddy   
Holly’s, are seen through out the subculture.

Alternative fashion does encompass a lot when it comes to various subcultures out there. Which is why it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what is
alternative or mainstream and commercial. But once the different styles of alternative fashion are found out it helps break down the stereotype that
alternative fashion is dark, weird, or maybe even a little creepy. Most of alternative fashion is historically based, inspired or created in Japan, and
created by young and thought provoking individuals. Who knows, maybe there is an alternative fashioner with in your inner circle.
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Home > Columns > Fashion Defined

My name is Kat and I’m originally from Ebensburg, PA and moved to Ohio
after getting a job in costuming for theater. I graduated from Moore College of Art &
Design in 2011 with my BFA in fashion design. I have shown some of my fashion
pieces at various art shows in my native state of Pennsylvania. I also created a
dance costume for one of the lead dancers of 180 Dance Company’s production,
A Portrait in White, for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in April 2011.
Before graduating college I created a collection of five completed looks that walked
down the runway of the annual Moore College Fashion Show. I have my own
independent fashion label, Cheshire Couture, in the works when I’m not at work
on the costumes for the next production.


Websites

DeviantART:
http://kat-bubbles.deviantart.com