Fashion – Gothic Beauty Magazine Gothic Fashion, Music, Art & Entertainment Sat, 17 Feb 2018 02:24:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fashion – Gothic Beauty Magazine 32 32 Cyber Gothic Factory Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:06:55 +0000 [...]]]> In the run up to the 20th anniversary of the creation of Cyber Gothic Factory, Gothic Beauty thought it was about time to speak to Jean, founder and creative mind behind the Canadian brand, famous for personalised bullet belts, outrageous cyber goggles and neon gas masks. Recently CGF has expanded their range into laser cut leather jewelry – ideal for goths and steampunk fans worldwide. If you love the style of Mad Max, yearn to go to the Burning Man festival or see the future as one big Tron-inspired rave, the Cyber Gothic Factory have got your outfit covered. Their range of quality, hand-finished accessories can turn even the most ordinary outfit into something amazing and unique.

Founded in 1998, Cyber Gothic Factory was brought into being by Jean’s passion for creating fashion, realising it could no longer be just a hobby. “It was driven by the need to make a living doing what I had always loved to do – create and design fashion trend jewelry and accessories”. Luckily for us Jean followed an alternative slant and CGF was born. “When I started in Montreal, we had a very strong trend focussed around ethnic inspired fashion. I designed the best elastic cord necklaces with beautiful wooden beads for hippies at the time, as well as other jewelry made of natural materials, like bone, shells and coconut shell beads.” After riding the crest of the ethnic grunge surfer style trend, Cyber Gothic Factory exhibited at wholesale trade shows in Montreal and things began to take off. After that CGF spotted another trend and followed the popular leader of it, coincidentally a fellow Canadian. “Avril Lavigne became popular, and so did her somewhat gothic appearance. Suddenly spikes and leather jewelry spread through fashion like wildfire all over Canada and into the US and Europe. I started creating studded leather jewelry and accessories and the result was orders from all over the world! Gothic and Punk fashion became very popular and it was around this time, around 2004, that I started making heavy duty bullet belts. Now I am one of the main suppliers of this item and similar bullet-themed accessories.” Cyber Gothic Factory even offer a personalising service, so you can literally have a bullet with your name on it. Or that of your enemy.

cyber gothic factoryKeeping a close eye on trends and the direction of the alternative fashion world, Jean took another new direction a few years later. “In 2010 I started the cyber gothic trend. Cyber Gothic Factory made incredible masks, goggles and respirators which sold worldwide, as far as South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.” The current gas mask range from CGF varies from smaller respirators worn over the mouth and nose, to larger full-face masks that fasten behind the head. There are some with huge spiked studs down the centre of the face, or with colour changing lights (complete with remote control!). The ‘EL Wire gas masks’ start life as a standard issue Israeli mask, but after a few hours in the hands of the Cyber Gothic Factory they become light-up cyber accessories, the ‘eyes’ and ‘mouth’ glowing in neon colours like a Praying Mantis sent from the future! The latest edition to the CGF family is laser cut leather jewelry and etched acrylic cyber accessories, featuring cog designs or circuit board patterns – precision items at affordable prices for goths, cyber fans or steampunk devotees alike. Jean’s ‘sister’ business specialises in laser cutting for any kind of business who might make use of a precision pattern and CGF also sell wholesale for any stores that want to expand their range!

cyber gothic factoryWhen asked what sets Cyber Gothic Factory apart from other alternative stores, Jean’s focus is on quality and authenticity of design. “I create and design everything on the website and that makes us very unique. We also make everything in our factory in Montreal and that enables us to control and ensure quality. It can take a few hours or a few days to make a new item, depending on the availability of parts. The process includes breakfast because I dream of new designs at night while sleeping! I have too many styles I want to make and sometimes it’s very hard to find the parts I need, or it takes a long time to receive them which can delay a new style.”

“I’ve been creating fashion accessories for 25 years, so it just comes to my soul and mind. I really enjoy creating and making something available for people in a certain fashion trend like goths, punks, ravers and steampunk style followers.” Speaking of fashion scenes, what is the scene like in Canada at the moment? “I am based in Montreal, Canada, and the cyber/goth/rave and also Punk scene is very strong here, but it is stronger in Europe, the UK and Germany especially, and also in the USA.” Jean’s answer to our last question is sure to make the readers of Gothic Beauty very happy indeed! Is there someone famous you would like to design an item for? “Nobody in my mind, but I love gothic women. I think they are the sexiest women alive.” We couldn’t agree more!

Sweet Midnight: Halloween is a lifestyle, not just a holiday! Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:46:33 +0000 [...]]]> With a flash of pink hair framing her face, and bejeweled cat-eye glasses perched on her nose, our leading lady secrets herself away in her studio. The ends of her creative fingers are finished with magic, glittery nails adorned with tiny pink bats and Hobo Murder House, her faithful Shih Tzu, is at her side. She spends her days designing and creating spooky-cute gothic attire and her nights giving ghost tours to spirit-loving tourists. Her spare time is spent hanging out with circus performers, or travelling in her gypsy caravan, showing curious folks her ‘Mini Museum of the Bizarre’. On quiet days she can be found just relaxing with her albino hedgehog (ironically named Midnight). No, this is not the introduction to a gothic children’s book, this is the real life of Bisbee resident Renee (also known as Queen Nay Nay), the living embodiment of a Tim Burton character and owner of independent gothic shop Sweet Midnight. Welcome to her little world where fashion is both dark and cute and every day is Halloween.

“I started Sweet Midnight in 2011, because at the time I noticed that there was something missing from the ‘goth’ market. It was one extreme or the other. Nothing was cute and dark. I wanted to marry the cute factor of Kawaii and Lolita styles with goth. Hence our name, Sweet Midnight and our tag line ‘the dark side of cute’.” It’s clear from her clothing ranges that Queen Nay draws inspiration from old horror movies and Halloween (obviously), but her passion for carnivals and travelling shows plays a big part too. “I believe in a past life I was a circus performer or perhaps a bearded lady! Who knows? I am drawn to the circus and sideshows. I love and collect anything and everything from vintage circus and sideshows. I have friends who are sword swallowers, clowns, trapeze artists and even lion tamers. I believe the circus and these kinds of acts are a dying art form.” Such is her passion for the travelling carnival that she is planning to play a part in its revival. “I designed and built an old fashion gypsy wagon! I hope to someday travel in it with my own personal dime museum, the Bisbee Mini Museum of the Bizarre.”

When it comes to the sartorial side of Queen Nay, her dedication to design matches her passion for sweet, spooky style. Every fabric design, from ‘Bat Filigree’ and ‘Monster Mask’, to ‘Trick or Treat Graveyard’ and ‘Webs We Weave’, are all exclusively drawn by Queen Nay. “I have a BFA in Toy Design from OTIS College of Art and Design. I was a professional graphic and packaging designer before taking the plunge and going out on my own. All the images on our skirts and shoes and bags were designed by myself.” Her designs include simple but striking silhouettes, of gravestones or pumpkins for example, against purple or green fabric, or black fabric with pops of bright roses among cobwebs. The script of E. A. Poe covers one skirt while a fortune teller features on another.

Sweet Midnight’s coffin bags

Another simple but striking design from Sweet Midnight are their gorgeous coffin bags. You might think once you’ve seen one coffin bag, you’ve seen them all, but these purses have something special in their design making them coordinate with any outfit, as well as a considered construction that’s built to last. “The Sweet Midnight coffin bags are designed to be functional and used everyday. A lot of the bags on the market are made of vinyl which will fall apart quickly whereas all of our Coffin Bags are made with high quality canvas that holds up to everyday wear and tear. They each have two removable straps so the wearer can wear them as a backpack or a shoulder bag, simply by removing a strap. Our new Mini Coffin Bag also has belt loops on the back so you can wear them on your belt too.” How does the bag match every outfit though? “The new version of our Original Coffin Bag now has interchangeable bat colors. So if one day you are wearing red, you can snap on your red bat. If you are wearing green the next day, snap off the red bat and put the green one on! Our Coffin Bag with Removable Bat Wings is a feature no other bag has too. It has wings that you can snap on and off. If you choose not to wear your bat wings they fit right in the bag so you don’t lose them.” Not that anyone would ever not want to wear their bat wings!

Sweet Midnight have also worked their magic on another popular Halloween image – the black cat. “After vending at a lot of Halloween themed conventions, I kept getting asked about black cat products, so I first drew inspiration from vintage Halloween decorations to design our Black Cat Skirt. Then I sculpted our Black Cat and turned it into bracelets, necklaces and brooches, but my customers wanted more! When my customers speak I try to listen!! They said there were not any black cat bags out there, so I designed one using our Black Cat.” Again, thinking about those who wear more than just black, Queen Nay added variations to the range. “I decided that if it came in different colors it would appeal to more people, so we offer them with Silver, Red, Orange, Green and Purple details. They also have a pocket on the inside and two removable straps so you can wear it as a backpack or shoulder bag.” The result was a versatile bag with the most adorable face too.

Speaking of Halloween, our Queen Nay must have some big plans for this coming October? “First off, Halloween is a lifestyle, not just a holiday! In my little world we celebrate it everyday! I own the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour in Bisbee, Arizona, and Halloween is the busiest time of the year for us, so I will be celebrating by giving tourists a spooktacular tour of our haunted city.” Sounds perfect!

While we’re on the subject of pasty apparitions, Queen Nay has an unusual pale pet who is the stores mascot. “Midnight was a rescue hedgehog. I named her Midnight because it was ironic since she is albino. Then I started calling her my Sweet Midnight! I also have a rescue Shih Tzu named HoBo Murder House (no lie, remind me never to let my husband name my pets) and when I had a physical store in Bisbee, he would come with me to work everyday, sit out on the porch and welcome customers. Since closing my physical store, he now helps me behind the scenes by keeping my stress level down.” Who could want more than an albino hedgehog and a pup named after infamous serial killings? “Well, my dream would be a Sweet Midnight Ark – two of every animal!! I especially want a rescue sloth and to open my own bat rescue.” Just when it couldn’t get any spookier!

As Sweet Midnight’s star attraction Queen Nay says “sweet and spooky speaks to all genres” and with her clear passion for all things eerie (as well as a talent for tailoring) Halloween can be a lifestyle for everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to own a gypsy caravan and a ghostly hedgehog.

Sweet Midnight / The Dark Side of Cute

Askasu – Delicate Gothic Fashion from Eastern Europe Tue, 16 May 2017 14:41:30 +0000 [...]]]> Not too long ago, underground fashion meant wearing whatever you could find or create with your own two hands. Though that’s still the case in many ways, things have come a long way, with gothic fashion expanding past the edges of second hand stores, shopping malls, and even the cities and countries that contain them. Access to the Internet means access to retailers around the world. Although the Internet changes the face of fashion by fine tuning it, it also leaves plenty of room for true individuals to remain underground.

Popularization also inspires creativity in online retailers, such as Askasu, a post-apocalyptic, bondage-inspired company based out of Warsaw, Poland which sells fashions to individuals not only in its home country, but also throughout Europe and the United States. “I sell and ship to many countries around the world, but I almost never had the chance to travel abroad” designer, Joanna Nowak, explained. “It’s also a lot easier for me, as an individual artist, to do fashion shows here (in Poland) and focus on creating. After all, I’m still shocked by the speed of things happening around my brand since November last year. I have several collaborations planned, with amazing artists from all around Europe.”

Born and raised in Lubin, a city in Lower Silesia, Poland, Nowak spent much of her childhood at the library or wandering through the forest. At 16, she moved to Kraków to study at the High School of Fine Art. Nowak did not receive any formal training in fashion, instead describing her humble beginnings in design as a desire to fulfill her own tastes. “It began with my need to sew for myself in the early teen age. The urge to create came from my taste that didn’t fit what mainstream shops had to offer. Although it wasn’t long ago, online fashion shopping almost didn’t exist back then.” Nowak explained that her excellent skill in sewing took many years to master. “I’ve learned from my mistakes when sewing simple things since I was a teen. I’ve gained professional practice while working in men’s suits. I’ve always been interested in the process of producing garments, so I’ve dismantled them into pieces.” Despite all her dedicated training, she explains that the barrier for entry is rather low. “It’s not hard to obtain theoretical knowledge of how to sew.” She explains. “Just looking at how huge is the fashion industry, you can conclude that the access to learning resources is easy and a degree isn’t necessary for a determined person. Self-education allowed me to save a lot of time. Thanks to that I have already started my own brand.”

Photo: Aneta Pawska – Enchanted Stories

Without the overhead of a conventional store to slow her down, the designer behind Askasu manages the workload associated with handmade, quality items. Her decision to also not sell her merchandise wholesale simultaneously assures that her garments will always be reasonably priced as well as exclusive to her site. Despite avoiding the pain of an overbearing rental store space, the financing and obtaining of equipment to start her business wasn’t any easier. Nowak said, “It was all my hard work after hours. I had a responsible, demanding, daily job, so it wasn’t easy. I saved whatever I could for an industry-grade sewing machine, then I risked everything by making the leap and quitting the job.”

Askasu Designs
Photo: Aneta Pawska – Enchanted Stories

Nowak delves into the trajectory of Askasu. “For a year and a half before I started the company, I ran my page on Facebook and, later, on Instagram. I posted every result of a collaboration with Polish photographers and alternative models. I started the fan page by the suggestion of my friend and by my loved one.” Nowak didn’t initially think to start a business. She was simply passionate about turning out the designs in her heart. “For all these years I created from a passion, not thinking too much about the future business.” Her ultimate goal? “I’ve dreamt of being an acclaimed designer.” Wanting to continue the handmade aspect of her company and promote herself as an established designer, Nowak hasn’t yet searched for a business partner or co-designer. “I’d like to hire people to help me with tailoring,” she explains, “so that I can keep on offering handmade.” This, however, isn’t a pressing decision she will be making soon, but an option that is in the back of her head.

Askasu sells mostly harness-type bodies behind long, chiffon gowns and skirts. The piece that made the biggest breakthrough in her popularity was the Lace Strips Lingerie, while the one that is most often asked about was the Dark Elf Dress. The two main materials – cotton and chiffon – are very common and comfortable. Customers do not complain about how seamlessly the fabrics integrate with their lifestyles and are uncomplicated to put on, take off, and clean. Gothic designers often use lace in their designs, especially lace in combination with chiffon. Nowak felt otherwise. “I was afraid to introduce lace into my designs, as one can easily fall into clichés or kitsch by using it. The keys to my unique design are frequent juxtapositions and choice of lace shapes.” She describes her style as a “delicate effect of laces and translucent fabrics contrasted with sharp lines provided by strips. It’s my personal, ongoing endeavor. It borders on goth, though not to fit the subculture, but to bring something new, a bit extravagant, to women.”

Askasu Designs
Photo: Anna Sychowicz

Her items are not popular with just ordinary women. Since she has been doing many collaborations in Poland for some years, her network of people to wear her designs has increased. “Musicians often contact me first!” she remarked. “I happened to work with a vocalist from a young band As Night Falls. I’d like to undertake such collaborations in the future, though I think I need someone to help me with sewing first. Another great form of cooperation was music that accompanied my fashion shows, mixed live by DJs from Thecompressjah. The dark, intense electronic music was something refreshing, as it might seem that such sound doesn’t fit fashion shows.”

Askasu Designs
Photo: Anna Sychowicz

Since it has been creatives such as musicians, costume designers, and other artists that have popularized gothic clothing, inspiration knocks from many unexpected corners. “I’m equally inspired by the work of great fashion designers and by what happens in the alternative scene. These are earlier collections of Givenchy, Iris Van Herpen, the unforgettable Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Yiqing Yin. There are at least twenty designers I follow on Instagram. Every kind of art that moves my aesthetic sense can be a valuable impulse to create. An inexhaustible source of inspiration is collaboration with models and photographers, every one of which has their own sense of beauty. Seeing the effort they put into their work, I feel admiration and I know they constantly work on themselves.”

Askasu also joins the growing group of online retailers that are focused on promoting longevity and sustainability in fashion. “My approach to longevity is based on several elements” Nowak explains “The most important one is the quality of my garments. I also don’t aim for seasonal fashion nor hitting a transitory trend. I’m sure that my clients will be able to wear these clothes several years from now. I strive for sustainability by having handmade as the foundation of my business. The fabrics are also chosen by me in person, from trusted shops.” Despite the hardships of running a small company, Nowak is still determined to keep prices reasonable. “I don’t want to transfer the costs of quality to customers. I try to keep the prices on such level that my designs are affordable for a lot of people.”

Nowak still remains humble. She plans on staying strong in, what can be perceived to be, an often overly saturated, apocalyptic market. “I’m not going to stop where I am now. I will continue on developing. The harness theme is just a supplement to the style that is in the core of all I do. I don’t treat it like a closed item, but like one of the forms that this style can be expressed by. That’s why I won’t be worried if the fashion for any particular element fades.”

Even as a motivated businesswoman, she continues to be sweet and gracious: “I would like to thank every fan and friend who supports me in what I do. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today!”

To see more of Askasu Designs, visit

The 2017 London Edge Fashion Trade Show Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:27:00 +0000 [...]]]> The UK’s alternative fashion trade show, London Edge, had its bi-annual event in February. The catwalk shows had new brands as well as solid favorites, with new takes on gothic styles and interesting Victorian prints to show. Edgy lingerie designer Maison Chardon teamed with steampunk designers Phaze to create a romantic and provocative opening walk, with frills, lace and a little cheek! Queen of Darkness displayed their usual high standard of gothic staples and Spin Doctor revealed a gorgeous new historical print for steampunk fans. Innocent Clothing had classics like the Wednesday dress as well as black and white forest prints to show off, while the usually bright and colorful retro label Collectif showed their dark side with the all black, figure hugging Hanako dress – a different take on Morticia’s iconic outfit and perfect for ladies with curves. New Rock showcased new boots (be prepared to see brightly colored filigree prints!) as well as a creeper-style shoe, injected with New Rock’s signature bite. Photos by Niki Jones Photography.

Punkrave: Gothic Fashion born from Punk Spirit Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:03:54 +0000 [...]]]> Founded a little over ten years ago, fashion label Punk Rave has become synonymous with intricate, yet eminently wearable, gothic designs. Their skin tight leggings are sexy but edgy, their tops scream post-punk style with jagged edges and torn sleeves. Blouses are more traditional but heavily influenced by Japanese style and Visual Kei, while Punk Rave’s gothic coats and gothic jackets have an elvish feel to them (albeit a sinister one). With style names like ‘Dead Can Dance’ top, ‘All About Eve’ dress and ‘Falling Darkness’ skirt these guys aren’t on the fence about their allegiance to everything gothic (their website allows you to search for an item by color and there are twelve different kinds of black). Their current range is HUGE, including gothic dresses and a large selection for men which isn’t common in clothing labels. We speak to head designer Judy about Punk Rave and discover the ethos and soul behind the designs. She also tells us which gothic icon she’d most like to design for (one guess which dark sartorial Mr she picks) and where they hope to take the gothic Lolita brand in the future.

Punk Rave was founded in 2006, but Judy had been designing clothes in their signature style long before the brand was officially founded. When asked about the unique name of the brand and where it originated she says it was a combination of the feeling she wanted wearers to convey when dressed in their designs. “‘Punk’ – I wanted to express the feeling of being simple and direct, just like the Punk spirit. ‘Rave’ is a state of mind, showing Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.”

steampunkWhen it comes to producing a new Punk Rave clothing line, there is a team of creative individuals involved in the process. Judy explains “firstly, I finish the drawing concepts and the other designers will follow the steps I have outlined. Then I will adjust the designs if there is need. I think of it as a team, I don’t make a distinction between myself and the other designers.” It isn’t difficult to see that Punk Rave has a lot of popular designs, their coats and pants especially. “I like to design pants and skirts, or something like that, because there is more design space for us to work with, but in general no matter how the designs are exaggerated, if they are used for the lower part of body, they will be more popular and appeal to more people. My favourite style is Steampunk. We started designing this style of clothing in 2016. I love it because it lives with science and magic, which is the biggest charm of Steampunk.” Rather than just making their range in brown and putting brass colored buckles on everything, their Steampunk range is carefully thought out and intricately detailed. A pair of cream lace cuffs, with aged brown leather straps is accessorized with vintage bullets. They can also double as a waist cincher and this multipurpose, or adjustable feature is common across a lot of Punk Rave’s designs.

punkraveThe Punk Rave label combines aspects of period gothic fashion, like tattered lace and lace-up corset-style fastenings, with futuristic, almost apocalyptic styles. However, Judy sees three main characteristics in the clothing she designs. “Punk Rave has three kinds of styles; you can see it independently or conjunctively. The first is Gothic, the spirit of which is “I love black, it is because I love the life more than anyone else”. The second is the spirit of Punk, which can be summed-up by “I don’t care, I know who I am”. The third is a Lolita spirit, “I can make my own fantasy”. There are many design elements of the three styles, so I do hope our friends who wear Punk Rave gothic clothes, whatever style it is that you like, that you will find yourself in the design spirits of Punk Rave. Just like a sweet friend, who knows you and understands the real you.”

punkraveMany gothic and Visual Kei styles are androgynous, not needing to affiliate themselves with either gender. Does Punk Rave intentionally design some of their clothes to appeal to men, women and androgynous styles? “We don’t adjust it deliberately. Personally I think it is important to dress in coordination with your own style and many items of Punk Rave are androgynous, both are available in female sizes and male sizes. In the future I think we will expand into and experiment with cyberpunk. Let’s look forward!”

When asked who her personal gothic icon is, Judy replies with a name all of us are familiar with for his expressive and controversial style. “Marilyn Manson. It is hard for me to not love his style, he gives me so much inspiration for designs.” And if you could design an outfit for someone famous, who would it be? “Could it be Marilyn Manson? In fact, I do hope no matter what kinds of occasion it is, special occasion or daily life, if they like the kinds of clothes that I design, and if she or he is kind and deep hearted, I always like to design clothes for my friends.” So from a desire to produce simple, direct designs with soul and consideration behind them, Judy ultimately enjoys creating clothes for people who love to wear them and can take the passion behind Punk Rave onto the streets and into their hearts.

The Beautiful People: Killstar and Marilyn Manson to Release Clothing Line Mon, 03 Oct 2016 19:18:00 +0000 [...]]]> We have absolutely no desire to fit in”. Killstar are a rebellious label. Having been established for just six years the fashion house has reinvented goth for a new generation. As if their credentials needed any further confirmation, they have partnered with arguably the biggest name in the goth aesthetic. The inimitable Marilyn Manson has teamed up with the brand to release a line of clothing bearing his logos and iconic symbols and they’re going to be available in time for Halloween.

The range, due to be released mid-October, will feature his ‘Shock’ logo from Antichrist Superstar and the definitive angular ‘MM’ which first appeared on The Golden Age of Grotesque album. The fashion line, which will include bodysuits, knitwear, accessories and more, will not be a surprise to his fans, as Manson attends mainstream fashion events and sometimes even takes part. Earlier this year he performed with Johnny Depp at Stella McCartney’s LA fashion show and more recently designer Marc Jacobs cast Manson in the video for his Autumn/Winter collection.

Tequila-Rose, Creative Director at Killstar, said “getting to explore the darker side of fashion, whilst injecting the Manson attitude and philosophy – was a real dream come true. Manson has been such a massive inspiration to myself and, hopefully without sounding too corny – this is what us Goth girls live and die for! It’s taken two years to make this into reality – and we are all super happy with the result.”


Killstar released a preview video of the range at the end of September and the range will be available from 15th October from, as well as through some hand-selected retailers worldwide. “Now with the inclusion of the Marilyn Manson collaboration – Killstar urges you to reclaim your freaky side and hail the weirdos worldwide!”

Anime Trash Swag Adds Edge to Anime Fandom Thu, 07 Apr 2016 16:31:22 +0000 [...]]]> In the midst of my all black wardrobe full of fishnet, sheer, and studs were two ill-fitted and garishly bright anime tees–one Pokemon and one Dragonball Z. There were simply no other choices. Not to age myself, but my grade school years were a time when nerds were seen as just nerds, not a special type of creative cool kids. That said, there was no need for cool anime threads–everyone assumed anime fans were just schlubby couch potatoes who spent their weekends watching Sailor Moon marathons in their mom’s basements.

Thankfully times have changed and Anime Trash Swag are a grand example of this. The brand combines spikes, mesh, and some major bling along with anime images that will appeal to fans both young and old to create pieces that are dark, fun, and a bit subversive. I recently got a chance to chat with the A.T.S. creative team and gain some insights on their origins, inspirations, and what anime character they’d most like to see donning their threads.

When did you first launch your brand?
We officially launched on January 17, 2015, so a little more than a year ago!! We had some of our stuff making the rounds online starting around November 2014, but we opened our Storenvy & announced the brand in January.

What was your initial vision when you started Anime Trash Swag? Has your vision since changed at all?
From the very beginning when we first starting talking about doing a line, our priority was to make cool anime clothing. We love fashion, so we would look around at other brands & inspirations while shopping & think, “This would look good! ……..with anime on it”

Who are the creative forces behind the brand?
ATS is exactly one half Skye (TATTO / @tattobot) & one half Jenni (mostflogged / @mostflogged)! The both of us combined handle literally EVERYTHING: art, design, manufacturing (gluing, sewing, laser cutting, hardware, etc), buying, social media, convention sales, packing, shipping…….. We also have small business contacts for our t-shirt printing & some of our bigger embroidery projects, but EVERYTHING is handled & touched by our own hands!

What are some of your biggest inspirations (besides anime, of course)?
Anime definitely fuels our passion, but we love PUNK GRUNGY TRASH & street fashion just as much!! Blood & leather straps are good but so are hearts & huge pink fluffy coats. We thrive in juxtaposition & contrast, layers upon layers of transparent & torn pieces & a whole bucket of hair dye. Spikes, flowers, t-shirts, vinyl, black, pastel: a lot is up for grabs as far as aesthetics go, the only thing we hate is BEING WEAK.

Speaking of anime, what’s your favorite movie or series?
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Eureka seveN, Gunbuster, Diebuster, FLCL, & Gurren Lagann are just a few of our top faves! Satoshi Kon’s films are probably our favorite cinematic pieces.

In your opinion, who’s the most fashionable anime character?
Bayonetta and BLAST (Nana’s band) from Nana. We love those girls.

Can you think of any anime character that would be most likely to shop your brand? If not, which character would you most like to see wearing your brand?
Probably Nana!!! She’s super cool & PUNK ROCK, we think she’d probably rock some of our stuff. Also Syoko Hoshi from Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls, who’s metal and j-rock as HELL. Some of our looks definitely look like hardcore versions of Nana and Syoko!

What’s your best selling product?
Usually our headgear sells the best! Lately our headgear & our t-shirts have been pretty equal in terms of sales. Our most envied product on storenvy is our Oyasumi Punpun Eyepatch hat!

Which piece is your favorite and why?
We both are IN LOVE with our Sad Girl Asuka tops and our brand new Candy Squids tops!! The art, composition & shirt quality are on point on both of those products, so we’re super proud of them. (Also: we LOVE Asuka and Splatoon)

Do you have any new pieces or projects on the horizon that readers can look forward to?
We’re currently getting prepared for some custom modded leather jackets & some heavy metal anime monster inspired tees!!

To find out more about Anime Trash Swag and check out their latest collections, head over to

Killstar Clothing’s Dark Rebellion Fri, 11 Sep 2015 18:19:34 +0000 [...]]]> In fact, I think even Wednesday Addams would have appreciated the cheeky self-awareness of the brand and its designs that seem to say I’m dark and I know it, deal with it. Killstar, a UK-based brand established in 2010, delivers dark pieces with major edge, sex appeal, and a tinge of humor that’s refreshing in the often all-too-serious world gothic fashion. Or as co-founder Tequila Star describes, “a web carefully spun from dreams, hard work, and the forever-long love of and fascination with the occult.”

A major reason for the brand’s inception was Tequila’s yearning for pieces she just couldn’t find. “I used to dream of wearing all kinds of cool clothes, but could never actually find any when I got some money.” She complained that prints were never bold enough and “dresses not witchy enough,” so Tequila sought out to make her own. And you could certainly never accuse Killstar of not being witchy enough. Dark arts and the occult were one of Tequila’s main interests growing up, and this influence can be seen in many of the brand’s designs–from pentagram crop tops to Ouija board tunics and occult symbol backpacks. Tequila goes on to explain, “I always found comfort in the night, in the full moon and in the knowing there are more witches out there–and as by a invisible bond we are all connected.”

Even before Killstar, Tequila had  experience in the dark fashion industry. “We started HELLFIRE, a dark alternative clothing store in the heart of the City Centre of Glasgow in 1999,” she explains. But it only takes a quick glance at Killstar’s catalog to see what sets it apart from many other dark fashion brands–an attitude of bold, unapologetic rebellion. Killstar is helping pave the way for a new wave in goth fashion that’s no longer hiding quietly in the shadows, but rather, shouting from the rooftops to make everyone jealous. With silhouettes that are sleek yet comfortable (goodbye restrictive corsets, hello airy summer goth styles) and prints featuring slogans such as “So Goth I’m Dead” and “I Put The Fun In Funeral,” Killstar makes goth fashion fresh and fun, and not to mention, in your face. That said, it comes as no surprise that some of Tequila’s other sources of inspiration include  “doing crazy things that makes you feel alive [and very dead after]” and “punks and rebels.”

Although Killstar  originally started with just T-shirts and sweaters, their selection continues to gradually increase. Notable pieces include a cute Wednesday Addams-esque crop top (Addams Crop Top), a sexy bodycon dress with a killer level of fringe (Huntress Fringe Dress), and the sexy Ouija Mini Skirt. Personally, Tequila says Killstar’s hooded pieces are her favorite. “I love all the things with very large hoods, as I love to hide away when I am at home or outside. It keeps me in my very own dark bubble,” she says. Killstar’s catalog also extends beyond clothing. From an extensive jewelry collection full of mystical symbols and quartz crystals to lifestyle products such as  candles and spirit boards, Killstar may just gradually turn into a way of life.

As for what lies ahead for the brand, there seem to be a lot of new projects on the horizon. “I seriously can’t sleep at night thinking about it all,” Tequila says. “We are introducing footwear very soon–a dream come true! <3 The rest, I will keep under wraps for now–but seriously, watch this space!” To shop Killstar and find out more about the brand, go to

Kawaii Goods and the Perfect Marriage of Cute and Creepy Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:38:41 +0000 [...]]]> Utter the word “Goth” and images of pastels, and sparkles, and sugary sweet cookies and candies are probably not the first things to enter your mind. But then again, if you’re a person who’s well-versed on the  buffet of subcultures out there today, you may have noticed that styles such as Pastel Goth and Gothic Lolita succeed in blurring the lines between innocently cute and utterly creepy. Kawaii Goods is a made-to-order online shop based out of California and specializing in bold, bright, attention-grabbing pieces–think lots of bows, shimmer, glitter, and lace.

One of the things that sets Kawaii Goods apart from many other brands is the large selection of comfy skirts and dresses and pretty casualwear. While dressing Gothic Lolita can at times prove tedious–with petticoats, ornate layers, and delicate accessories–most of the pieces Kawaii Goods offers are simple in design. The focus is put on wardrobe staples such as skater skirts, crop tops, stretchy tank dresses, and leggings, all with detailed prints and themes. You can also find some charmingly uncommon items such as frilly Lolita baseball caps.

Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Kawaii Goods Clothing

One of the cutest lines is the “Candy Cemetery” clothing and accessory line, featuring Halloween cookie hairclips and heart-warmingly cheerful ghosts and candy corn. The brand releases new lines on a frequent basis, and if you follow Kawaii Goods on Facebook, you can stay up-to-date as to when pre-orders are available.

To find out more, check out There you’ll find a large variety of styles and sizes to add a blast of bright color to your wardrobe.

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The 2015 London Edge Fashion Trade Show in Pictures Wed, 11 Feb 2015 19:37:55 +0000 Pictures from the London Edge Fashion Trade Show, February 2015.

The Masks of Vincent Cantillon Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:44:51 +0000 [...]]]> The human mind is hardwired to see faces in everything. We see eyes and noses where there are none: in bark, clouds, and fallen snow. Perhaps this is why Vincent Cantillon’s masks are so striking. A face can shift from being the object of our obsessions to a vehicle for lavish personal adornment.

Working from Denver, Colorado, Vincent began making Halloween masks out of latex for a costume company in the early years of the millennium. After designing zombie and monster faces for a living, he was introduced to leather mask-making by a friend around 2006, and it was love at first sight. “I liked the way the leather could be shaped into forms that weren’t possible with latex masks,” Vincent says, and has gone forward with no regrets.

Looking over his collection, familiar gothic accoutrements abound. Black leather, folded, cut, and pierced with accents of gears, coins, feathers, and paint mix with flares of deep reds, rich greens, and spectral white. The Jawbone Headdress is built using an entire deer’s jawbone as a frame and includes other unusual elements like a pair of turkey feet which vignette a snipped-down, eye-like peacock feather. Not surprisingly, it adds about a foot of height to the wearer. The only way to describe it is tribal-gothic.

I like to think of my style as tribal-gothic, which fit together well because of their indulgence in personal adornment, like piercings and tattoos, and the wearing of bones, feathers and metal pieces.

Many such elements are mainstays in gothic culture, albeit generally spread out over the body and not concentrated so intensely around the face. Very few goths exist that have not yet been seduced by something skeletal. Skulls and other bones, or anatomically correct hearts and organs seduce us easily, and fit so well into an outfit or home décor. Really, it is a natural progression to find a way to fit a real skull to highlight one’s own skull, or to find a creative way to pack more metal onto one’s body. As a species, we have been doing it across hundreds of unrelated cultures since the ancient times. When asked about the correlation between goth culture and ancient tribes, Vincent becomes passionate. “This tradition of body art is being kept alive by people like punk rockers and goths, they make it part of their lifestyle and wear it proudly even though it goes against mainstream society, but we need to keep pushing it until the ‘freaks’ are the mainstream.” Words to remember.

vincent cantillon gothic masks

As followers of the tribal movement know well, music and dance is a major part of not only cultural unity, but social bonding and individual happiness. Goths know this equally well; there’s a reason why we converge at the night club to move to the music we love, and it has less to do with getting intoxicated and more to do with performing a cultural rite. This is principally where Vincent goes for new inspiration. Through trips to the library, and more specifically, the history section, records of African, Native American, Mayan, and even Aztec ceremonial designs become sketches for modern adornment.

“After looking through books and watching films I will pull out the sketchbook and do several concept drawings, then I will put those aside and work in a spontaneous way, creating as I go along.” The creative force is instantly visible. The Black Wing, with its curling accents resembling wings in the place of ears, is attached to a mask which simultaneously becomes a skull overtop of a face, instead of the other way around. It is something one could imagine an ancient priest wearing to a funerary ceremony.

vincent cantillon gothic masksFor the moment, however, Vincent is working on incorporating an entirely feminine presence into his work. Despite the creepy, even violent aspects of his masks, there is something undeniably womanly about it. “The underlying theme to my work is a combination of elements that are seductive, yet deadly or threatening in some way. I like to think that it confuses the subliminal response, like a mental tug of war… I also like to use flowing lines and curves that work well together, but I like to add more to it than just ‘sexy’… some of my ideas come from women of legends that have some kind of inner strength or supernatural ability… women that men respected and feared.” Such threat and femininity is patently visible in the Steampunk Crow Mask, which is built downward in a long beak instead of upward like the Jawbone Mask. The seductive curl of the bill appears delicate, and it also puts a lot of emphasis on the eyes of the wearer. However it is undeniable that the vast alterations to a woman’s basic facial structure give it a certain amount of shock. Yet another, the Victorian Raven Headdress is adorned with wispy black feathers attached to silver stalks and ornate leather piercings, but retains an unusual amount of breadth to offset its fragility. The round headpiece calls to mind the crown of a queen.

In general, Vincent Cantillon is experimenting with the Internet and social media to help his creations see the light of day. He has several profiles on various art-based sites with several stunning photographs of his masterpieces, but very little written about himself. The two main sites that his work is best available through are Etsy and Facebook, which he operates under his full name. Both sites show evidence of careful attention, but he is infinitely more likely to update either page with a new photograph of his artwork than anything personal, even a photograph of himself. He favors Facebook as the best website to get a feel for his work over Etsy, probably because it can support many photographs of a single work in order to showcase its aesthetic presence within a tribal context and not just clinical images that show only selling features.

At the moment, I am excited to say that I now have one in my hands to describe for you in terms of its wearability. The inside is lined with soft suede, and the outside sparks with almost imperceptible accents of warm pink at strategic parts that are not easily visible in the photographs. If you are questioning the fit of the masks, I can attest that it is somehow roomy; the basic features of the eyes and nose bridge are here, but it has not been molded to fit a specific person’s face. How tightly you want it to cling to the sides of the face is up to you. The fit depends on how closely you fasten it, and it is tied with strong, soft leather ribbons, and not elastic. One can really wear this with anything, like the ornate tribal looks present in much of Vincent’s photography, your favorite dressy corset, or even a suit! I will warn you however, that such a thing is best worn by a person who is not afraid of attention, but paradoxically someone who may benefit by the confidence that comes with a hidden face.

Geraldine Geoghan’s Valkyrie Corsets Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:35:52 +0000 [...]]]> Corsetry has long been associated with toughness, tightness, and the tantalizing frill of femininity. An ancient garment, sexual, though conservative, the corset has been used for millennia. It was the clothing of select royalty throughout various empires, and has been rumored to be worn by particular pagan Goddesses– a sort of ambrosia of fashion, tasteful and elite.

If the rumors were indeed true, then the Valkyrie would be no stranger to the corset. The mythological hosts of death in battle, these siren-like nymphs were creatures of power, choosing who will be killed in war. Today, these Nordic teases have shifted in look and abilities. They have become everyday Goth dames wrapped in leather and lace, slenderized and sensual, slaughterers of men’s inhibitions, and muses of sexuality. The new ladies lounge around (and go out for a night on the town) in Valkyrie corsets– straight from the heart of Britain.

Geraldine Geoghan, the founder and designer of Valkyrie Corsets, referenced the origin of her creative company’s name to be a wink at her Swedish decent. “I’m half Swedish,” began Geraldine, explaining her motivation. “Although I never lived there, I spent a lot of time there as a child, and my Scandinavian heritage is very important to me,” she continued. “[I] Wanted a name which reflected this.”

The name, however, is not the only Scandinavian interlaced in the company. Ms. Geoghan’s precise attention to detail and flawless, popular designs mirror the focus, delicacy, and innovation of which Sweden is famous for.

Beginning her company in 2006, Valkyrie has also been showcased at several fetish clubs—such as the “Festival of Sins”— and has participated in the Brighton Fashion Week during its first years running. Attributing much of her initial momentum to be “with great support from ‘Fairygothmother’ in London,” Geraldine launched “Valkyrie Corsets” after spending years crafting several for herself and her friends. When her work had caught the attention of the metropolitan store, they had “stocked [her] designs right from the start.” Still customers to this day, Valkyrie Corsets are recognized as popular and tasteful choices. There is one facet of her business however, one rare show of talent, which makes her garments stand out from other companies wear: “bespoken corsets.”

To make a “bespoken” girdle is a tedious yet highly creative– even brilliant– task. Offering a service allowing her clients to design their own intimates, Geraldine, with near mathematical skill, takes a verbal conceptualization of an undergarment and turns it into reality. “Customers will usually come to me with a theme or feel of a corset, sometimes with fabric they have sourced themselves, and we will work out which style of corset is most flattering,” she explained. “Then I will usually come up with ideas for embellishments.” Saying that it was her “favorite part of the job,” Geraldine added, “I love taking peoples ideas and turning them into something beautiful.”

Not all Valkyries invest in “bespoken” works. Many women can’t resist Ms. Goeghan’s advertised designs. “My most popular corset is the black long- line under-bust,” she said. “I guess [because] it is so versatile and has a great shape.” Due to its immense popularity, Geraldine is in the midst of “developing some new black under-bust designs,” expanding the customers options to “have more choice of this wardrobe staple.” Having a potent slimming effect, this particular corset, as well as the “long-line silk over-bust” attire, “give the greatest waist reduction, up to 6 inches.” Though not dependant on the body “shape,” the total thinning effectiveness is relative on a woman’s body type. “Some people just seem to be softer in the middle and can tight-lace with very little effort, and some people are not,” asserted Ms. Goeghan. “It does not seem to depend on how curvy you are, its totally random.”

Though often bought for it’s slenderizing and dramatic faculties, corsets are used for many purposes—including medical. “I have made a couple of corsets for people with back problems, as the support corsets given to patients at the hospital are very uncomfortable,” she said. “Using solid steels which stick into the lower back at the bottom, I have had great feedback about how much these corsets I have made have helped people.” Moving on to describe how she makes these particular corsets with very little waist reduction, Geraldine shared her secret: “they just follow the natural body shape of the patients to give maximum comfort and support.”

One of the most towering issues for corset lovers, with or without medical conditions, is comfort. Like stilettos for the abdomen, many women “deal” with the irritation and ache for the chic appeal—a sacrifice often worthwhile. Certain textiles, however, like gelling insoles for those sharp, high heels, tend to have a more assuaging effect. “Natural fabrics such as silk will always be more breathable, especially if the corset is used for waist training and worn for long periods of time,” said Ms. Goeghan. The outer layer, however, is only one of three, covering up herringbone coutil, boning and a soft, cotton inside.

Discussing how her corsets are crafted, Ms. Goeghan revealed some of the materials she uses that make her corsets exclusive. “My corsets are made from a combination of sprung steel bones and spiral steel bones,” she begins, “the spiral steels flex sideways so are used where the seams are not straight, often over the bust-line. The sprung steels are used to give solid structure to the corsets.” Despite this seemingly irksome task, Ms. Goeghan says, “the most challenging part is often sourcing the fabrics.” Delving into more detail, Geraldine writes further: “My head is always full of ideas, but finding the perfect fabrics for a project can be really difficult. It often takes as long as actually creating a new design. I am very envious of huge companies who can get there own fabrics printed, I would love the opportunity to do this but the fabric runs are far too big for a bespoke company like mine. I would say the simplest part is the actual construction of the corsets, after so many years and hundreds of corsets this is the part I can do on autopilot.”

Her professionalism and crafting abilities—being able to go on “autopilot” while making a corset—has been her ammunition allowing her to fly high. Collaborating with designer Joy Williams, Ms. Goeghan is planning to work with her colleague in designing a latex line of corsetry. “Joy makes the most beautiful liquid latex embossing which I think would work beautifully with my corset designs. We are then hoping to put on a show together at torture garden, something I have not yet done but have aspired to for a long time.” Also aiming to take part in the London Fashion week as well as planning several new photo shoots in the near future, Geraldine is keeping busy, and her “Valkyries” are gaining exposure– one sexy little number, lounging in her dimly lit home, at a time.