Thursday, 22 October 2015

Goth is Dead: The End of Moi-même-Moitié

Mana-sama bless this long-ass post.

I’d been planning on writing a blog entry about this for a while. This document had been sitting half-finished on my desktop for weeks until I had a conversation with some other nostalgic Moitié fans. Brace yourself, it’s a long one.

Gothic lolita isn’t dead yet, but it’s definitely on life support. The slow death of Moitié (and gothic lolita in general) reminds me of what’s currently happening in the goth scene.
As any real goth would tell you, goth is dead. The heyday of goth is long gone – most people have moved onto a new scene, leaving behind an ever-shrinking number of hardcore (and rapidly ageing) devotees. The younger newcomers to the scene are starting to redefine what it means to be a goth, causing splintering within the subculture. 

Admittedly, I don’t know jack about Japan, but I don’t think that Mana or Moitié (or gothic lolita/aristocrat/visual kei music and fashion) are as influential and popular anymore. There’s still a base of hardcore older fans but there’s not much new blood coming in.  
Plenty of Japanese gothic brands have disappeared or wound down – BPN is a good example (RIP). Outside of the usual suspects – Atelier Boz, Atelier Pierrot, Moitié, h. Naoto, and a few small Japanese indie brands – gothic is pretty much nonexistent.

People just aren’t really interested in goth anymore…even though old school is starting to come back, old school gothic is pretty much nonexistent on this side of the pond. I hear that in Europe, especially Germany and France, gothic lolita has maintained a strong presence. I’d probably attribute that to the fact that goth subculture and schwarze szhene in general are much bigger in Europe, since almost all of the big-name bands, stores, and festivals are based there. Wave Gotik Treffen, Whitby Goth Weekend, and M’era Luna are still on my bucket list.

Online, many of the coords I see that are described as gothic aren’t very gothic at all…they’re usually sweet with a gothic motif, or classic coords that capture the elegance/opulence of gothic but not the…well, gothic part. Or you’ll see coords that are kuro sweet marked as gothic just because they’re black. I guess people forgot that gothic lolita goes beyond wearing black (just like with proper goths!) and has more to do with cuts, fabrics, motifs, etc. 

Cute af.

I’m not trying to bash on that at all – for instance, the black Holy Lantern zippered JSK is one of my dream items. It’s a perfect example of sweet with a dash of gothic. I cried a little when I saw that the MTO release didn’t include this colourway, and my wallet sighed with relief. But overall, it seems like the original spirit of gothic is being lost and replaced with hybrids of sweet-gothic or classic-gothic. So, where does that leave Moitié?

For the past couple of years, Moitié seems to have been running out of steam. The indidivual brand stores have closed as far as I know, so they’re only sold online and in other retail shops or catalogs. A lot of people have expressed that they’re disappointed in the newer releases, and I almost never see any hype over them. It’s pretty rare to see someone wearing Moitié that’s not one of their old classical prints.

Back in the early 2000s when I was a fledgling babybat goth weeb, I was hooked on anything and everything Mana: Malice Mizer, Moi dix Mois, and Moitié. Mana inspired my interest in EGL/EGA.  To this day I’m still a huge fan – I buy the merch and I try to buy new whenever I can afford to. I even dyed my hair royal blue to match my coords! 

Moitié is probably being held up by the hardcore fans who buy everything they possibly can and go to every Moi dix Mois concert. Sometimes I buy stuff directly from them, but as much as I love Moitié I can’t always justify spending $300-500 on a single item when I have student loans and car payments, you know? 

The secondhand market is a mixed bag – the classic prints are still incredibly expensive despite their age, but a lot of non-print stuff is reasonably priced and I’ve found some great nonprint pieces for under 10k yen. Lacemarket has pages and pages of beautiful items sitting unsold. I remember seeing a black x blue Silent Moon OP for $150 on Lacemarket just sitting there unsold for weeks and weeks. Same story on Japanese sites – it’s just not selling the way it used to. So even though there are plenty of affordable older gothic pieces out there, people don’t want it.

On a side note, I feel like Iron Gate has become a status item rather than a piece that people buy out of love. Royal Gate is relatively inexpensive and in my opinion, it’s even more beautiful and luxurious than Iron Gate. The prints are extremely similar, but I think people just want to be able to say they own a rare, valuable dress. I dunno, maybe I’m just being a salty-chan because I still don’t have IG.

Écailles de Lune, kicking ass as usual.
On a more hopeful note…I think that the sudden explosion of lolita in China might revive gothic. Even if Japanese brands aren’t really interested in making gothic lolita and aristocrat stuff anymore, Taobao brands like Ista Mori and Écailles de Lune are absolutely killing it with new releases. These releases are more affordable than Japanese brands and have a wider range of sizing (a common complaint with older gothic pieces) so I hope that the Chinese brands can revive the true spirit of gothic once Moitié kicks the bucket for good.

Until then…