The other day I mentioned on here about how Killstar has fired all of their design team. Well, that was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is happening within the company right now. Yesterday I received a detailed email from my source about all of the insane crap going on inside the company and how it is affecting their bottom line. I’m usually not easily shocked when it comes to tales of workplace drama, but this is different.
That American private equity firm Bertram Capital didn’t outright purchase Killstar, like I had previously stated on another post. Instead they bought a majority stake in the company when the original owner, Tequila Star, wanted capital to expand and bring the company up to scratch. To say that she made a bad financial choice would be the understatement of the century. She chose a company who have no knowledge of alternative subcultures and it really shows.
Tequila Star stepped down as CEO of the company when Bertram Capital came into the picture, and they placed their own person into that role. They also brought in new heads of merchandising, products, etc.. This was done to restructure the company so that it functioned better. This is what the company needed; structure that worked more efficiently so that things could be run more smoothly. However, that is not what has happened.
Since the takeover the company has been struggling. Why? Because they are running it just like any other business, thinking that the same tactics would work for it that they have previously used elsewhere. In the autumn of 2021 they brought in a new head of product, and it became obvious very soon that she was overwhelmed by the role and had no clue as to what she was doing. Instead of listening to the employees and the fans of the brand as to what was wanted and what would work they ignored all of the advice and pushed for collaborations. Remember that horrid Avril Lavigne line of products that came out that everybody, including myself, made fun of? That was her idea.
That alone proved that they hadn’t a clue about punk, goth, emo,etc… subcultures. The fact that they thought that Avril Lavigne was in line with what fans of the brand wanted speaks volumes. They tried bragging about how well the line sold but it was very obvious that they couldn’t move the pieces because they looked like crap. The recent really ugly Dario Argento line is yet another example. I love Argento’s films but I wouldn’t wear that crap even if somebody promised me £100 to do so.
Then on top of all of this they put the head of design, who had been with the company for over five years, on garden leave and then outright fired her. They didn’t replace her until the Spring of 2022, and the guy they chose had no knowledge or interest in alternative designs. He was totally unfit for the role and was gone after a few months. They then brought in somebody else whom they also let go after only a few months.
During all of this they brought in people to try to structure the design team. Predictably these people had no knowledge or respect for alternative styles and subcultures. They created a very hostile work environment; so much so that some of the people within the product and design teams quit.
What happened next? Tequila Star came out of hiding and is now CEO once more. So, basically she fucked around and found out. I don’t pity her at all because she made some very badly informed financial decisions. Even I know about how private equity firms work and how detrimental they can be to the running of a company. The head of products was fired this past April and has not been replaced. My source thinks that Star has been working directly with the designers since she came back. However, things must not be going too well since the entire design team has been suddenly let go.
So, basically Star is trying to bring the company back from the brink of financial disaster but it really is too little too late. The reputation of the brand has been in the sewer since Bertram Capital came into the picture. Line after line of badly designed cheaply made clothing has been pumped out and it shows. Most of the newer pieces are the same silhouettes as older pieces with just new graphic designs being thrown up onto them. There is no originality taking place which is pretty telling. Also, their homeware range is now mostly brought in from suppliers and is not designed in house.
My source has some theories as to what is going to happen next with the company. Apparently they have lines designed for up to this Autumn, so my source thinks that they cut the entire design team in order to appear more solvent when they try to sell the company to a new buyer. This makes some sense and could indeed be what is happening. Another theory is that they will just hire freelance graphic designers and slap new designs onto the same old silhouettes. Lastly, they might just bring in everything from outside suppliers.
Apparently Killstar is making way less money this year than they did last year so it may be too late for Star to steer the company in the right direction. The only people that I feel sorry for in this entire situation are the alternative people who worked for the company and were shafted.
This entire situation is what happens when you let a private equity firm run an alternative focused company; you lose credibility with you core customers who no longer want anything to do with you and your inauthentic ways.
Sometimes it takes a while to choose a really good patch placement and sometimes you get lucky. For whatever reason the patch gods have looked down upon me today and guided my hands. I like things to be in balance when I do patch work because I feel that a jacket is more put together when this is done. Others like to do the opposite and that is okay. You’ll find that the more you do DIY projects the more you will get into your own creative flow.
These are all sew on patches. I have never ironed on a patch in my life because it is more easy to remove them if you want to use them again. Plus, my days of going into pits are long gone so I don’t have to worry about them being ripped off.
I bought all of these patches off of Etsy. There are tons of artists on there making very cool spooky patches. Shipping is very expensive right now unless you are buying from sellers in your own country; then it is usually cheaper.
This is a themed spooky jacket that is going to be mainly black and white. Tim Burton’s films and the colour green are not allowed on it because I’m not really a huge fan. I like Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands but I wouldn’t ever base my identity on them. It’s just not for me. I love Hammer Films and gothic horror in general. Christopher Lee will always be my favourite Dracula because he can be quite feral at times; he forgets his manners and will sip on his guests. No colour green because green with stripes is a very overplayed look and people associate that with Beettlejuice and Burton. I will be using purple thread because I think that will make a nice contrast. I will share more news on this project as I go along.
A bunch of patches have come in since the last post. My favourite being the large Boris Karloff as the Mummy patch. I have a bit of a soft spot for the Mummy; he isn’t given the same respect or attention as Dracula or Frankenstein’s monster. If the Mummy were a child going to a monster type academy they would probably be picked last all of the time during games. He is going on the back of the striped jacket for all of those reasons and more. I’m not sure which others are going on yet because I am waiting for more to arrive.
Where did I get these patches? Etsy. There are so many patch sellers that you will more than likely find the exact kind you want on there. I have noticed that there are a few unscrupulous sellers right now overcharging for their spooky patches because of ‘goth’ being a current fashion trend. So, if some seem too expensive to you it’s probably because they are overpriced. I will update further on this once more arrive.
I’m back from the dead! I just needed some away from the internet time and I am doing much better. Hooray! I was going to finish this post a week ago but I caught a head cold and had absolutely no energy. I’m just about over it and feel, much, much better. Off we go!
As the title of this post states I am starting work on yet another jacket. When I go onto the ‘high street’ of my town I always browse the New Look store’s clearance section. I always come out with something because I live in a very conservative area. Anything too ‘out there’ for the local normies goes on clearance, and the prices are cheaper than the local thrift stores. It’s a win win for me because it means I don’t have to pay a lot of money to find a piece of clothing to do some fun DIY type work on. I would say that the quality of their stock is better than Shein, so if you are a weirdo with a budget in the UK you ought to head over there.
Since it is a black and white striped jacket people will assume that I am going to ‘Beetlejuice’ it. I think that type of look is very overplayed and I am not a big Tim Burton fan. Because of all of this I am not allowing any green on this jacket. The patches that I will be using will be mostly black & white. There will be some purple, red, blue,etc…but no green. When it comes to DIY battle jackets you should always put what YOU love on it; not what others tell you that you should have on it.
So far the only work I have done to it is place some purple studs right beneath the pocket openings. Since it is an unlined summer type blazer I might not place any more studs on it. When you stud a piece of clothing you make it heavier so that would go against the purpose of this blazer; a lighter summer type garment. I may feel differently down the road but that is my headspace right now.
I am waiting for a bunch of patches to arrive. This is going to be a ‘spooky’ jacket: horror films, TV shows, sayings and maybe some bands. When more get here I will show them to you all because they are peachy-keen! Okay, I’m going to cheat and share one below that is defitely going on it. It is a thing of beauty!
I use Etsy quite a bit and have gotten most of my accessories from there so I find this a bit troubling. They are literally having issues paying the sellers due to having money tied up in Silicon Valley Bank; a bank that has just gone under. I’m not buying anything more from there until they have this figured out and can pay creators what they are owed. I will give updates if I see anything further about this. EDIT: Apparently the FDIC is covering the money that businesses have in this bank so that said companies have access to that cash. This means Etsy can pay the money they owe sellers. At least in theory they can, which is a good thing. Nobody knows exactly how all of this is going to pan out so stay tuned.
You have read that correctly, I have finally started working on the Glenn Danzig themed jacket! This will entail including patches from the Misfits, Samhain, Danzig and other related spooky stuff. The funny thing is that all of this is happening around the same time that I finally got my eyes tested and found out that I need reading glasses. It was getting difficult to thread a needle so that really needed to happen.
Without glasses I managed to sew on the Samhain death dealer patch. I used red thread to make it pop a little. I have decided not to tire the hell out of my eyes any further and just wait for my glasses to arrive before I start on another patch. So, I will be back at it next week. While I was waiting for the last patches to arrive I started yet another project.
I bought the above Misfits hoodie from Hot Topic’s website about a month ago. I only order from the site once a year because they charge way too much money for shipping. I’m just going to slowly sew more patches to it and perhaps add some spikes.
All of the patches shown in this post I bought from Etsy.
I have seen these questions making the rounds all over social media and I thought I would join in since my answers will be a bit different compared to a lot of the other answers I have seen. This is due to being old and also being heavily into punk music.
1. How long have I been goth? My area of the San Francisco East Bay did not start using the word until around 90-91. Some of my favourite bands in high school in the late 80’s, that are considered goth, were Specimen, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Cure, Gene Loves Jezebel and The Cult. So I have been listening to the music since about 1986. During that time I also loved U2 and The Dead Kennedys so musically I was all over the place. I didn’t call myself a goth until about 92 because the people who used the term first in my area were the uber goobers and I did not want to be lumped in with them. They took themselves way too seriously, which I never did. I have also always had a foot in the punk subculture.
2. How was I introduced to goth? Nobody sat me down and told me what to listen to or how to dress. There was no internet, of course, and it could be kind of difficult to find out about bands. At the first high school I went to I was the only person in my friend group who listened to the music, and they thought the music was too weird. There was a Bay Area ‘modern rock’ station during that time that would play the more obscure stuff late at night and that’s how I learned about a few of them . At my second high school there were more weirdos, and some of them were quite helpful with bands. Back then the term ‘post-punk’ wasn’t used at all in my area, rather all weirdo music, except for punk of course, was called ‘alternative’ or ‘modern rock’. The term ‘alternative’ was ruined by the mainstream record labels who used it for grunge in their attempt to sell ‘weirdo’ music to the masses.
3. What gothic subgenre would you put yourself in? If you regularly read this blog then you know how much I dislike all of the ‘goth type’ crap. It originated as a joke in the 90’s, making fun of the stereotypes seen in clubs. For whatever reason a lot of younger folks, and some deluded old ones, feel the need to fit themselves into a box. I do tend to listen to a lot of deathrock music, probably more-so than any other ‘type’ but I refuse to call myself ‘deathrock’ because there is more to me than just one form of music, and I refuse to box myself in just to please others.
4. What do you believe to be the bases(basis) of the gothic subculture? First, I would love to point out how the person who wrote out these questions uses both the terms ‘goth’ and ‘gothic’. We used to always use both of the terms interchangeability way back when but now ‘gothic’ means spooky architecture, while ‘goth’ means the subculture. I think the basis of the subculture is the music more than anything else. Without the music there wouldn’t be a subculture. Period. The clothes and make-up are secondary. Anybody who calls themselves goth but who doesn’t listen to actual goth bands is more than likely a trend whore; a person who jumps from trend to trend. Since the term has been super popular in the mainstream for the last few years there are quite a few of these people floating around all wearing the same really shit Demonia boots and the same kind of outfits. I find them all boring, but it is rather entertaining when these fashion victims bitch about their Demonias falling apart within a week of wearing them.
5. What do I dislike about being goth? I know that a lot of goth women bitch about being sexually harassed by men who think all goth women are kinky, but that hasn’t happened to me at all in real life. I think it’s mainly because I look older and use a cane. There are some upsides to being diseased and middle aged. There really isn’t anything that I dislike since I am in my own bubble of existence. I am just me being me.
6. What do your parents think of it? My mom was with me when I got my first undercut in 88, so she has always been very supportive of me and has said that if she had been my age she would also be goth. I have a cool mom. My dad died back in 85. I honestly think that his death had a lot to do with me becoming a weirdo. I was already an outcast for being poor and having a dead parent so morphing into a goth/punk weirdo wasn’t a huge step for me to take. In fact just about everybody into goth/punk music back then was some sort of societal reject.
7. Eyebrows or no eyebrows? Eyebrows, because I look like crap with them shaved off.
8. What is my favourite band? I have a holy trinity of all time favourite bands; Samhain, Christian Death (mostly Valor) and The Dead Kennedys (Jello only). Those three groups have probably influenced me more than anything else. I actually got to tell Valor that in person the other month which was cool as hell. Uber goober Rozz fanatics may get mad at me for liking Valor’s music more than the music of Rozz but I just don’t give a shit. Seriously. Stay angry and irrational over something that happened about 40 years ago, it’s entertaining.
9. My opinion on Marilyn Manson? This question is a bit young for me since I was already in my twenties when he reared his very ugly head. I remember seeing people younger than me at the clubs in the late 90’s trying to look like him and it was hysterically funny. The fact that it came out that he is an abusive asshole didn’t come as a shock to me. In the wise words of Jello Biafra:
You ain’t hardcore ’cause you spike your hair
When a jock still lives inside your head
10. What were my baby bat days like? I didn’t really experience that because I was so all over the place musically. However, it kind of sucked being into both punk and goth bands at the same time back over 30 years ago because according to some people I was too punk for goth and too goth for punk. The punk subculture was way more welcoming to me and I actually gained the nickname Vampira because of dressing in all black and loving the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. It was actually a bit tough being a woman into those three bands back then; they were considered ‘guy’ bands because of the violent imagery and horror content of the songs. I have always been into horror and sci-fi films and novels so I identified very heavily with those bands and they spoke to me a lot. Kids these days get into the fashion first and then the music, but back then it was the opposite. I listened to goth and punk music first and then slowly started dressing ‘dark’. Even back then I did a lot of DIY type projects so I always painted my own leather jackets and upcycled clothing. However, there was a US clothing chain called Contempo Casuals who sold a whole lot of weirdo friendly clothing. Just about every single person I knew back then had a least a few pieces of clothing by them. I had a pair of black crushed velvet leggings from there that lasted me about ten years. No joke! So the older people in the US saying that all they did was thrift is a total lie, and they know it. I even found a long multi-layer black lace skirt in a regular mall store back then.
So, that is it! I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it. As you can see my experiences are a bit different since I was also into punk and got into the music first. It was a road of discovery for me, not a destination. Especially considering that the term ‘goth’ wasn’t even used in my area until after I was already listening to the music.
As I have previously stated before on this blog I do not accept anything for free for reviewing products. I have always felt that it is really disingenuous to accept free swag and then brag about it online. That is what so many younger content creators are doing within the online goth/punk communities these days and I find it really boring and trite. This is all to say that I bought every single item that you see contained in this post.
Have you never seen these Samhain shirt designs before? Me neither, and that is why I had to get them. Out of Glenn Danzig’s three different bands Samhain is the one that doesn’t have the insane level of gear that the other two have, so it is difficult to find items of the band that are out of the ordinary. This seller on Etsy has designs that I have never seen before so I am assuming that they came up with them themselves. I mean some of the elements of the designs I am familiar with, but I have never seen them quite like this before. They cost me about £18.00 each and for the price they are really good looking. The red is a little orange in places but you can’t notice that unless you are looking up close. All in all I am very happy with this purchase.
I have been buying a lot of patches lately. Some are going to be for the Glenn Danzig themed jacket while some others will be used in projects in the future. I especially love the hand-painted severed heads Misfits patch. It’s such a work of beauty that I had to order more patches from her. If you are into Glenn Danzig at all, or like spooky imagery, you will spend money at her shop.
If a band that you like has little to no merchandise Etsy is a great place to find gear. Make no mistake, you should always look on Bandcamp first but Etsy is there for you if you happen to like bands that broke up decades ago. The only thing I would make sure to do is read the reviews of the products, because there are people on there selling substandard gear out of China. In fact there are whole stores on there that do that. When in doubt do an easy reverse image search, because that will tell you if multiple stores are selling the exact same item.
I haven’t made a music themed jacket in a little over thirty years, Seriously, it has been that long. Why? Because I am a fangirl of so many different kinds of things that it makes it difficult for me to just focus on one aspect as to who I am.
I have been massively listening to the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig lately, if you haven’t noticed, and an idea popped into my head a few weeks ago; make a Glenn Danzig themed jacket! Originally I was going to use a New Look striped jacket that I got on clearance, but after some thinking I am going to use the one below instead. It’s another New Look clearance jacket that I got about five years ago.
If you are a fan of Glenn you know that the number 138 is a Misfits reference. I had sewn those numbers onto the jacket a few years back so in reality it was already started. Over the last few weeks I have been scouring Etsy for cool Misfits, Samhain and Danzig patches and I have found some really unusual ones. Also, I will be putting some spooky little patches on it as filler because to do otherwise would be blasphemous. On top of that I have bought a bunch of cone studs. I just have to be patient for all of the goods to trickle in. I don’t want to start until they are all here. If I have some that I won’t use I will just save them for a future project.
I really hope that this inspires you to create something of your own. I believe in you and if you ever have any questions about how to proceed with a DIY project please feel free to contact me because I would love to help if I can.