Fishnets and the Goth Subculture

Fishnets and the Goth Subculture
© DeviantSuccubus

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.

Fishnets and the Goth Subculture
© DeviantSuccubus

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.

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16 Responses

  1. I started wearing fishnets when I got into the goth scene as well. I was about 13 years old. Fishnet tights, shirts, body stockings, I loved them all. I still do. Not only do I see them as everyday wear but they also make me feel sexy when I wear them. So, that’s a win-win right there. Also, you look gorgeous, as usual.

    • Oh, that is cool! *fellow goth fistbump* Nowadays I can definitely feel sexy wearing fishnets too, back in the day it took me a while to understand their sexy appeal (at least on me). Thank you!

  2. slave sindee says:

    You look great in them and Goth is definitely a great style for you

  3. I seem to be a slow learner, as I never realized how important fishnets are in the goth scene. Thank you for sharing this information. It’s alway snice to learn something new. And, you look gorgeous in your fishnets 🙂

    Rebel xox

  4. I was a “punk” (modestly of course!!!) and also wore them then as staple items for our then dresscode. And I remember the goth times as well.
    You always make them look sexy in all your photos . . . and that bottom photo is gorgeous!!!
    Xxx – K

    • How can you be modestly punk? Haha. I think you must have stuck out quite a bit! Fishnets are so versatile and I can see why they were a staple in alternative fashion, and still are , because of their connection to the forbidden.
      Thank you, K x <3

  5. Kristan X says:

    I wasn’t aware of the history of fishnets. Fascinating stuff. Glad they’re more readily available now, as it’s a look I really enjoy.

  6. Violet says:

    This is such a great perspective and I love the ingenuity “arm stocking it is!” of items that span genres and still “make sense” , in context. As always, you look phenomenal!

  7. Good point! I wore them when I was younger for just that reason. My mom thought they were slutty, but I thought they simply made me look and feel bad ass. They still make me feel powerful, but I don’t wear them often, because the world I live in does seem them inappropriate. It’s a weird cage. Maybe I should wear them more often just to silently rebel.

  8. Van Mostly says:

    These are such gorgeous photos with so much attitude! And I love the goth history thank you very much for sharing that, it was fascinating and delightful. Long may the goth subculture and fishnets continue!

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