Fishnets and the Goth Subculture
Most people link fishnet stockings or lingerie to sexual play, seduction and raunchy women. But my love for anything fishnet comes from a totally different direction. In the goth subculture fishnet stockings and shirts are pretty much the basics of any good outfit. It all started in the 1980s when people in the subculture copied the style of some of the leading musicians in the scene. Jonny Slut from Specimen was definitely the frontrunner when it comes to wearing fishnets as part of a gothic outfit, and removing them from the context of sex and seduction.
Fishnet stockings got ripped and combined with other sorts of stockings, they were turned into arm stockings, into shirts. Using fishnets in outfits was part of the whole DIY culture of the scene. No one wanted to buy high end stuff or support capitalism (goth has its roots in the punk scene after all!), so people got creative with their outfits. Most mainstream folks would get annoyed with ripped stockings, but we rip them on purpose. Interesting, huh?
So when I bought my first pair of fishnet stockings back in the late 1990s (I was a baby bat), I had to go to a sex shop for that. There was no Amazon, and H&M didn’t have them. So little 16 year old me walked into a sexshop, bought the stockings from an amused woman who realized my embarrassment, and off I went, becoming the goth I wanted to become.
I understood that they were something that others connect to sex, but to me personally, they were really just a fashion item. And I was happy that I could recycle them into a lot of different things. It is ripped? Well, awesome, makes me look cooler. The crotch is all ripped open? Arm stocking it is! It was in pieces? Aye, I just cut the usable parts into squares and use safety pins to attach them to my bag, jacket or shirt.
The first time I realized how hot fishnet stockings can make someone look sexy was at a goth club in Hamburg. This guy came in, and he was looking absolutely hot. He was tall, had long black hair and was wearing platform boots. His make up was perfect and oh my,, he was wearing a shiny short PVC skirt. And fishnet stockings. And they looked amazing on his long legs. I couldn’t take my eyes off his legs all evening, watching him dance.
Nowadays, you can buy fishnets everywhere. They have kind of lost their slutty flair, and many women wear them when they are going on dates or clubbing. It comes cheaper for me, so that is a great thing! I wear them a lot. Whenever it is warm enough outside, I am sporting fishnets, because it just compliments my style. And they are still, even 40 years after the subculture emerged, an essential fashion item for goths.