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Venus X on GHE20G0TH1K, the Best Party in New York

GHE20G0TH1K started as a party but it's now a global network of scenes that shapes everything from art to music to nightlife. And Venus X, the event's creator and resident DJ, has been behind it all. I asked her where her life—and fashion—was going.

by Bobby Viteri
Sep 28 2013, 12:30pm

GHE20G0TH1K, if you want to get technical, is a party that happens in New York, but it feels like more than that. It was started by a small circle of friends who are old enough to remember the 90s and young enough to catch the tailwind of the internet boom. The group has become a staple of the intersecting downtown art, music, fashion, and nightlife scenes, and at the forefront of what's become a legit movement is the party's creator and resident DJ, Venus X.

Since GHE20G0TH1K started in 2009, her singular style has defined the event and the subculture that now surrounds it. After coining the look and the term, she’s become the de facto trendsetter for a new breed of club kid—there are now similar events thrown by ghetto goth acolytes all over the world. The party's aesthetic is equal parts innovative fashion and genre-bending soundtracks, and there are subtle touches (they've banned all DJs who rely on MacBooks) that make it that rarest of things—a kickass party that you can count on.

During New York Fashion Week, I caught up with Venus to document how she's living. We went to a couple runway shows including one by Hood By Air—the line's designer, Shayne Oliver, is one of Venus's best friends and her co-DJ. After that, we checked Telfar's latest offering, then swung by Opening Ceremony's festivities. Against my better judgment, I tried to keep up with Venus, and ended the night at a GHE20G0TH1K to see what all the fuss is about.

VICE: Since you can probably describe it better than I can, what is GHE20G0TH1K?
Venus X: It's a party. It's not about going somewhere and getting so drunk that you don’t care about the music. It's somewhere where you can feel comfortable and creative. It takes on an individual meaning for everyone, but to me GHE20G0TH1K means being a Dominican girl from uptown who listens to goth music and hip-hop and dresses like a morbid anime punk schoolgirl.

How did you come up with the name? I feel like there's some underlying meaning in there somewhere.
It’s all about doing the opposite of what the mainstream wants. Goth in the 90s alienated everyone, and its darker themes can be sexy, contrary to popular belief. Ghetto culture, although culturally accepted, is even darker when you think about the politics and poverty behind it all. Why pretend everything is a bed of flowers when it isn't?

It seems as if GHE20G0TH1K was a great platform to market yourself in other ways. What kind of opportunities has it afforded you?
GHE20G0TH1K has allowed me to travel the world and speak about what it’s like to build a DIY community in a city that makes you feel like any hope for [creating] something organic is lost. I’ve done some modeling gigs and even talked on panels. I do whatever helps me pay the bills at the end of the day, and I’m very grateful for it. People overseas show GHE20G0TH1K a lot of love, and I've met tons of kids who follow the scene online and have started their own parties. It's really eye-opening to see how it has inspired others.

Everyone really dresses up for these parties, huh?
People go all out. There's a lot of bold fashion choices. You have people who push the goth thing to the next level, and you have some girls who dress like Cher in Clueless. Some do the whole 90s rap look, and others show up looking like they were just at the vampire blood rave in Blade. It’s a place where you can wear whatever you like without being singled out.

What type of music is generally played? Because I think I heard a Cam'ron joint muddled with some rigid industrial stuff.
At the beginning, it was really clear-cut. It was goth, punk, industrial, and hip-hop. Over time it has evolved. Now it incorporates stuff like juke, dembow, and house. Anything goes. Each DJ has a different agenda, but the one constant is that we all try to play as if it’s the end of the world, so you want to make your set count. We’re pretty selective with DJs that we put on the bill because people come to GHE20G0TH1K for a particular sound and trust us with sourcing people who can play what they want to hear.

Who inspires your wardrobe?
Things like vampires, anime, and bondage and people like Siouxsie Sioux, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, and Janet Jackson. My mom and dad definitely had the biggest impact on the way I dress.

In what ways did your parents inspire your style?
My mom was all about Sade, Selena, and Jackie O. So naturally, she went for the gorgeous but simple look, but above all she put an importance on being classic. My dad was from the streets so he put me on to Iceberg, Polo, and Versace. He was making a lot of money on the streets so his style reflected that.

I've noticed that designers recently started taking cues from the anime aesthetic and incorporating them into their collections. You've been a little ahead of the curve, I take it?
I guess so. I've always been into anime. It was just a natural thing for me. The fashion world is definitely a little late. I've been using anime girls on our flyers since 2010. I love Japanese culture and kawaii is an amazing look. My generation grew up with Sailor Moon and the internet, so maybe that's why I'm really into it. The girls are so sexy and emotional.

What are some of your favorite articles of clothing?
I cherish this vintage bright orange vest I got while I was on tour. It was made by Wild and Lethal Trash, which is this brand from Antwerp that was big in the 90s. I'm also obsessed with these Moschino lime-green jelly sandals I got in Miami, and my collection of UFO raver camouflage raincoats. The most important piece of clothing I own is my vintage Norma Kamali hoodie, which I wear everyday. People are probably tired of seeing me in it.

Are there any new designers that you’re feeling at the moment?
I’m really into this British designer Martine Rose, she made one of my favorite jackets—this cropped army bomber. I’m also a big fan of this jewelry designer from Japan, Yoon of Ambush, who makes the worlds greatest chokers.

How did you dress when you were a teenager? Which fashion trends were popular then?
When I was a teenager I went to an all-girls Catholic school so I wore a uniform like they did in The Craft. I kept my uniform on after school even when I went to work at the pizzeria. I loved it. Other than that, I was a typical Spanish girl in my Timbs and North Face jacket. Clubbing was a big part of my teens. When I went out I would wear a sparkly belly shirt and mini-skirt, or a halter top with capris.

Where do you see yourself, and GHE20G0TH1K, in a few years?
I want to apply myself to bigger sound construction and making film scores, eventually. I’m bored with the quality of art in all things nowadays, so I've also been interested in being a creative director for musicians, magazines, and movies. The world I grew up in was more advanced in a creative sense and much more imaginative. Hopefully GHE20G0TH1K will grow into more than just parties. Starting a clothing line through GHE20G0TH1K and opening up a retail store is what I’ve been dreaming about for years. Maybe a book or TV show. Who knows?

Follow Venus X on Twitter.

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Hood By Air
Venus X
GHE20G0TH1K
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Shayne Oliver