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Goths Tell Us How They Deal With the Summer Heat

"If it's over 80 degrees outside, I'll call in sick at work."
Lisa Lotens
Amsterdam, NL

This article originally appeared on VICE Netherlands

Ah, summer – the season you can finally put on shorts and that flowery top you bought during the February sales, drink outside and sweat in ways you didn't know were possible. It's the best.

But every summer, I spare a thought for goths – a community that, in my mind, doesn't seem equipped to deal with high temperatures. This year, I decided to contact a few goths to ask how they manage to stay black-clad and corseted when the heat is on.


Isolde, 35

Photo by Larissa Iceglass

"I've been mainly wearing black for years, although I occasionally wear dark blue or grey. I'd feel really unhappy wearing yellow, or pastel colours. I struggle when it's warm, I prefer it when it's overcast. Not just because of the temperature but also because of aesthetics – a clear blue sky is not interesting to look at.

Warm and bright days make me really sluggish – only half my brain seems to work. I have vitiligo, which causes patches of my skin to lose pigmentation. The more tanned I get, the more visible my white spots are. I'm also a lot more likely to develop skin cancer, so sunbathing is just a really bad idea. I always walk on the shady side of the road and on really warm days, I'll try to only leave the house in the evening. If I have to go out, I'll carry an umbrella or wear a black hat. Every now and then though, I do enjoy taking a swim. There's a nice lake near Utrecht, where I live."

Mithra, 24

Photo courtesy of Mithra

"I attended a goth festival last summer, and I don't think I have ever before seen that many umbrellas when it wasn't raining. So I do think there's some truth in the cliché about goths hating the sun. Personally, I adore it. In the past, I've worried about not fitting in with the goth scene because I'm darker than most goths. But usually people tell me they love my look.

I initially became interested in the culture because I was a fan of the music, but then I also started dressing like this. I generally only wear black – in the summer, I just tend to wear shorter sleeves, dresses and skirts. Corsets can be uncomfortably warm but I feel so much prettier and more feminine in them. I might be a night owl but I do miss the sun at night. I honestly enjoy sitting in the park when it's sunny – even though most of my friends hate it."


Maarten, Did not want to disclose his age

Photo courtesy of Maarten

"Summer just isn't for me. I know some people like going to the beach and sunbathing but I don't understand why. When that first ray of sunshine on a hot day hits me, I feel as if I'm under siege – like I'm being attacked and smothered by a thick duvet. I start sweating and it's impossible to wear anything comfortable. When it's warmer than 23 degrees, I generally won't leave the house between 11AM and 6PM. This morning, the sky was cloudy and everything was fine but now the sun is starting to come out again, and I think to myself: 'Shit, I still have go out for some groceries.' The sun can generate green energy – which is good – but apart from that it's just bad for your health."

Gene, 21

Photo courtesy of Gene

"If it's over 30 degrees outside, I'll call in sick at work. Hot weather really isn't something I cope with very well. I'm actually allergic – if I sit in the sun for just a few minutes, I'll get sunburned. So if I have to go out, I'll hide in the shade and lather myself in sun cream – SPF 50.

I've been dealing with the allergy for 11 years – I've even tried light therapy. It didn't work. I'll usually go on holiday in the autumn, when it's a lot cooler across Europe. And though I love music, I never go to outdoor festivals. Still, I don't think you automatically hate the sun when you're a goth – it's just my body that can't handle it."

Sophi, 33

"I don't mind the sun – I appreciate the light it brings – but I've always liked the moon better. I even have an angry sun tattooed on my shoulder but that's not related to me being a goth.

I've always loved darkness and I found kindred spirits in the goth scene. Generally, I think it's safe to say that goths are less comfortable in hot weather because we wear black and because of how cheerful most people get when they are outside. Pale skin is valued in the scene, which I guess is another reason to avoid the sun as much as possible. I have to say though, I do love sultry summer nights. Finally, gardening is a hobby of mine so in the summer, you'll find me in my garden if the outside temperature is below 25 degrees."