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.
"I've been mainly wearing black for years, although I occasionally wear dark blue or gray. I'd feel really unhappy wearing yellow or pastel colors. 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 where I live."
"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. 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 goth people. 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 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."
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 75 degrees, I generally won't leave the house between 11 AM and 6 PM. 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 to 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."
"If it's over 80 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 sunscreen—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 vacation 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."
"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 75 degrees."