What do you get when you combine an athleisure aesthetic with Nancy from The Craft? The latest internet-driven style trend, health goth.
The term has been sweeping the blogosphere this month, giving a name to a contemporary aesthetic marked by dark and draped sporty-luxe separates, high-tech trainers and black-on-black Adidas, Nike and Alexander Wang x H&M. The traditional goth gone upscale and body-conscious, if you will.
You could argue that the monochromatic look has been around since the dawn of sportswear – and you’d be right. (Wearing black joggers with white Nikes is nothing revolutionary after all.) The categorical name however only emerged recently, bubbling away quietly on Facebook for a year after being coined by musicians Mike Grabarek and Jeremy Scott. They credit themselves with merely «attributing a name to describe a feeling that already existed.» And isn’t that how 99.99 per cent of trends come about in the first place?
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A parody and a subculture, the ultra-hashtag-able trend has invaded Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and beyond, accompanied by look books featuring mysterious individuals bereft of exercise-induced endorphins but with a certain air of melancholy and malaise instead.Marie Claire UK recently ran a piece on the movement («Weird? Very. Cool? Apparently.»), linking its growth to ‘goth-like’ celebrities including Kylie Jenner, Kat Von Dee, and Jessie J. Pris from Blade Runner and Trinity from The Matrix, with her trademark wraparound sunglasses, have been hailed as pioneers and the trend has become so mainstream that an Adidas collaboration may even be in the works.
Apparently, people on the forefront of fashion (and subcultural appropriation) are combining moisture-wicking fabrics and high-performance sportwear with their tattoo chokers and other goth-glam touches. These style-setters tend not to linger on the streets, in cemeteries or on the steps of Town Hall, as you would expect, but in the usually empowering world of the gym, encroaching upon traditional jock territory. (Jocks and goths together at last!)
So, how do you know if you’re a health goth? If you like to keep fit, but feel as though your personal style does not match up with that of the bench-pressing, neon-loving, Lululemon-evangelising elite, you can probably identify. Though goths are stereotypically pale and uninterested in physical activity, health goths aren’t averse to reading GOOP and may even enjoy the occasional kale smoothie in the sun.
As a HG, you choose to sweat in a combination of Rick Owens and Y-3, layering black on the outside because black is what you feel on the inside. Your gym playlist consists of death metal, The Birthday Party and other bands you worshipped during that phase in your life when you cut your hair short, dyed it black and shopped at Raben Shoes.
You don’t subscribe to #fitspo and look upon upbeat Fitness First fanatics with the same enthusiasm as Orin from Parks and Recreation. And if you had the money, you’d wear a fashion-forward Maison Martin Margiela facemask to wick the sweat from your brow while hitting the treadmill and finding beauty in dark places.
Though many years have passed since spiderweb fishnets and spiked dog collars were part of your wardrobe, health goth is one way you can relive your '90s goth phase without looking like a teenage runaway.
Then again, health goth isn’t as simple as tossing on some black lipstick and leather joggers and calling it a day. As Myf Warhurst points out, the term itself is problematic. “Goth is also about showing the world your inner life and telling that world what you’re into. Fashion is the opposite. Fashion dresses you for the job and/or life you want. It’s all about pretence, camouflage, hiding the real you.” Goth is as much a mindset as it is an aesthetic. Thus, we feel conflicted about attaching the word to any look that involves workout clothes in monochromatic colour schemes. As such, we thought we’d put forth an alternative term – ‘jockwave’. Do with that what you will.