Hot Print on Demand Trend: “Trad Goth”

gothic shirts

Anyone even loosely into pop culture has seen the traditional “goth” (now referred to as “Trad Goth”) look in many forms of media, be it in trying to sell “edgy” trends or being spoofed on the likes of South Park or SNL. Many people have (or had) that one family member who dresses in black all year long and is more interested in the “darker” sides of things than most others.

It’s a fashion style as well as an actual lifestyle for many people dating back to the late 1970’s, and over the decades it has evolved into different forms: more day-glo colors added when disco-style dance themes were added in nightclub tracks, and more a refined crushed-velvet look in the 90’s as opposed to more “punk” attire in the 80’s, etc. The trend was always still “goth”, but one form was unrecognizable from the other after a while.

The band “Specimen”

But today, it seems the youngest adherents to it, or those just finding an interest in it, are longing for the traditional roots of the scene, fueled in no small way by the popularity of the Netflix series Wednesday. They don’t want the bright colors of the club-kids, they don’t want a quasi-vampire look; they want the original thing.

Goth Do’s and Don’ts

As a performing musician and a part of that particular scene in NYC in the 1980’s, your humble writer can understand the desire to go back to those roots. And if this is the case, I personally welcome it back and am here to guide you on what is for real if you are looking to make merch sales based on this emerging new trend.

DO’s: anything with vines or crosses (not crucifixes, but crosses), cemeteries, bats, tribal abstracts. Always dark, preferably black. Bright white trim only in accent and to highlight how dark everything else is. Striped clothing sometimes. Dark purples can also work. Barbed wire designs can work, but be subtle or you’re crossing into Jersey Shore territory.

DON’T: anything with the word “GOTH” emblazoned on it, anything with lyrics from the band Bauhaus (slogans in general, just don’t), gigantic platform shoes or sneakers, flared-bottom pants (such as JNCO style).

So who seems to be doing it right out there at the moment? Here are a few people who are, and they stand to make a killing if this trend remains popular.

Goth Shirt Gothic Shirt Fake Two-Piece

Granted, this could cross-over into “skater punk” or even “grunge” categories, but the design is solid for this. Good for a moody club or an alternative band’s show, it carries an older layered style with newer print design. Cotton/polyester-blend body, machine washable, all one-piece unisex style. This will absolutely work for younger people just learning of this entire scene for the first time. As one actual reviewer put it, “This shirt is one of my favorites. The design is cool, it’s really soft, it fits perfectly, and it just exceeded my expectations quite a bit.”

Harajuku Oversized Stripe Casual Long Sleeves Crewneck T-Shirt for Women

A good example of the “striped” theme I mentioned earlier, this is about as bright as you ever really want to go. Traditionally, baggy clothes are not at all part of the Goth scene, but too much water has passed under that particular bridge and young people today are still going to want to have options. Popular singers like Billie Eilish have reversed the skin-tight trends of many previously popular performers and we are sure there will be a blend into the goth world of this as well. Too big, you look like a pirate. Just big enough, you’re stylish. Smaller still, that would be more in the keeping of traditional goth.

Please note: we are keeping “women” in the title here because that is how the maker is selling these, but gender conformity has nothing to do with the original goth scene, so any gender or the genderless will find any of these offerings appealing. Back in the day, many women wore more masculine clothing and men wore velvet, sometimes as dresses. No need to market to one type of person, not with something like this. This shirt is also a cotton/polyester blend.

Scarlet Darkness Skirts

While this sort of thing is cross-sold into the “steampunk”, “Lolita”, and “Victorian” styles, attractive and elaborate black dresses have been a mainstay of the goth scene since the first time Morticia Addams appeared on TV. You would find people wearing all sorts of variations of this theme in every goth club in any city in decades past, and if this new trend truly has teeth you’ll be seeing a lot of it again. It’s the goth version of the timeless standard “little black dress”, and you can really go all out with such offerings.

This particular garment is 95% polyester and 5% spandex with an elastic waist closure. This is a smooth, lightweight fabric that has a front closure with laces that gives it extra flexibility for a comfortable fit. This casual women’s skirt is suitable for everyday wear and goes well with any manner of top. It’s also easily machine washable.

Sphynx Cat T-Shirt

So we know that sphinx cats aren’t goth on their own, but we include this here for more of a “feel” type of thing. The basic black t-shirt is a staple for such a look and when it’s coupled with this sort of image, the entire message is told. The wearer wants to stand outside of the typical crowd, wants to make a fun statement about thinking in a different way. It’s a celebration of the dark and strange and occult that will always make a gloomy day just a little brighter for those into this scene. (NOTE: also, never call it a “scene” in your marketing. That will negatively trigger many to no end). Skulls, bats, cats, morbid images, ghastly creatures; if you can make them look cool and not goofball, you’ll be set.

This lightweight, classic fit, double-needle short-sleeve tee can also be a great cross-over to other genres, including death metal and harder rock in general. While we don’t picture an image like this showing up too often at the club, this is perfect for around the house, at school, or even to family events!

In general, what you want is to sell something authentic, which is why we advise against slogans and such. Take tips from old horror films or bands like Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, The Damned, or the newly re-popular Cramps. Look at older pics from 80’s nightclubs as opposed to 90’s raves. Stay away from the gasmasks and neon fake dreadlocks, your target audience wants none of that. Make an authentic product and the sales will come in.

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