Posts Tagged: ‘visual kei’

GOTHPUNK Shop, Searching for Goths in Seoul, and Experiencing Gwiyomi

May 19, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

When it comes to underground subcultures, there are a couple of things you may not have known about South Korea. Earnest, unironic ska music is alive and well (no really, it is), they have a unified hardcore scene, a small but incredibly alive and welcoming punk scene, but their goth scene is uh…kind of in the dark.

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That being said, I was incredibly excited to recently find the dark clothing and accessory shop, GothPunk, located in Hongdae, Seoul. It’s a small but well-stocked shop full of goth import items from popular brands such as Kreepsville 666, Alchemy Gothic, Vivienne Westwood, Anna Sui, 6% doki doki, and h. Naoto, just to name a few. A goth clothing store is an incredibly unique find in South Korea. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Korean people who have even heard the term “goth” before, and when I asked about local goth parties or meetups, D’arc, the owner of GothPunk laughed before he uttered the devastating words, “I think goth in Korea is done.”

DSC_0935As Tak and I talked further, I started to get the impression that goth wasn’t so much “done” in Korea, as much as it’s lying dormant, due to a recession. GothPunk used to share the streets of Hongdae with another goth shop, Beetlejuice, but that storefront has recently closed its doors. Tak explained that he felt like traditional goth was over, but that’s not to say a new incarnation of the subculture may not reemerge. (more…)

PA Renaissance Fair & Demon Mage Cosplay

November 30, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Belated-Thanksgiving, everyone ^^ I hope you had a lovely holiday full wining, over-dining, and long, awkward conversations. There are a lot of things I’m thankful for, and right at the top of my list is my large, close-knit family. Every time I visit we try to make it memorable, and one of my favorite family outings this year was to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.

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My family was a little resistant to the idea of dressing up at first, but when I found out they’d booked the trip the weekend right before Halloween, I explained to them that it was non-negotiable–”you have absolutely no choice” I think were my exact words. Though the Renaissance Faire has an obvious, err, Renaissance theme, there are no strict rules you need to adhere to. In previous years I’ve seen everything from Ghostbusters to werewolves to Spock and Kirk galavanting about amidst the jesters and maidens. That being said, my father went as a vampire prince, my mother as a maiden, my grandmother as a glam witch, and I went as a Demon Mage.

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Interview with La Carmina: Travel Host, Fashion Blogger, Mermaid-Haired Goth Globetrotter

November 14, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

SONY DSCAnthony Bourdain may be considered the punk rock rebel of travel hosting, but he’s certainly not alone, and it’s safe to say he has some stiff competition. Has Bourdain ever encountered aliens at a Tokyo fetish club, posed with Lolitas in Austria, or explored lip sewing body modification in Vancouver? No…not quite, but let me introduce you to someone who has…

Meet La Carmina–a gothic globetrotter with her finger on the pulse of all things dark and alternative. She blogs, hosts travel shows, writes books, and goes on countless underground adventures across the world. And while La devotes herself to a career that is unconventional, and not to mention, often unpredictable, she originally dedicated herself to a far more structured path–attending Yale Law School.

So how exactly does one make the leap from the world of law to a world of fetish bars, exotic restaurants, and international goth clubbing? And what are some of the obstacles to be faced and points to consider when making such an unexpected life transition? Here’s what La had to say about it all.

Gothic Style Blogger, La Carmina

FV: As your fans see on your website and TV appearances, these days you travel the world–from Tokyo to Budapest–highlighting underground culture and chronicling your unique travel experiences, but ultimately, it all began with your blog. If you were to go back to 2007, when you first started your blog, did you ever imagine that this was the direction your life was heading? What you did envision for your future?

La: Never in a million years. In 2007, very few people had blogs, and the social network landscape was very different (remember Myspace’s dominance?). With a few early exceptions, there was no precedent for blogging being a path to something larger, such as doing books, TV and worldwide travel. Because of this, I had no expectations when I started — but I quickly found that I truly enjoyed blogging. (And not everyone does.) To this day, I get excited to create new posts and share my passion for alt fashion and culture. At the time, I hoped I would eventually find a creative career where I was my own boss, but I didn’t think blogging would be the key to opening so many doors.

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Photo Set: Creepy Kids and Cereal Killers

October 31, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Halloweeeeen, friends! ^_^

Monster Cereal hits the stores but once a year and what better way to celebrate the arrival of this seasonal spooky goodness then with a photo set? To tell you the truth I only tried three of the cereals (I recommend Yummy Mummy). I’m actually not supposed to eat cereal, nevermind sugar, but I like the idea of Monster Cereal so…

Here’s some costumed fun for the holiday with a bit of behind-the-scenes anecdotes throughout:

Killer Gothic Lolita: The entire time those pictures were being taken, my grandmother was standing off to the side  (odd timing for a visit) repeatedly asking “What are you doing? It’s not Halloween, I don’t understand, why are you doing this?” Sometimes the best response is to pause then just say “the Internet.”

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Photographer: Carlos Phillips Images //Model: Riss

Ultimate Fruit Brute

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Model: Markus AD (more…)

Dark Style in the Summertime: Don’t be a Melty Goth

July 1, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

I bring it up because I’m guilty of it myself, but more importantly, because I care. Last year I was stubborn. I didn’t care to conform to the changing weather–I decided that the sun should somehow conform to me. I worn tight black bustiers in the sweltering heat, black tights under shorts with knee-high boots, and I refused to stop layering. But my friends, you deserve more than constant discomfort. You don’t deserve sweat pooling down your back or forced smiles to prevent those around you from saying “I told you so”. Instead of fighting summertime, embrace it and learn to work with, not against it.

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Dress: h. Naoto / Hat: Payless / Sandals: Offbrand

As I say all of this, realize that I have a primarily black wardrobe, and have no intentions of changing that. What you need to rethink in the summertime is not necessarily colors, but fabrics and fits. Think breathability, movement, and if you’re going to wear something fitted take advantage of light fabrics, cutouts, and short hems. And c’mon, if the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, take some time to seriously reconsider anything involving boning, pvc, lace sleeves, latex, or shoes that lace up beyond the knee…

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AnimeNext 2013: The Cosplay, The Fashion, The Antics

June 11, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

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It’s hard to know where to start. If I didn’t have a blog, I’d be tempted to say “what happens at an AnimeNext, stays at an AnimeNext,” or “the first rule of anime cons: don’t talk about anime cons.” But I won’t cop out, especially since I took so many pics of my adventures. Though even with a full con recap, there are still some things that can’t truly be explained, and you had to see for yourself. For example, watching Link and Hello Kitty have a krump off while two young vocaloids squeeled with glee from the sidelines is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. And cosplay burlesque–I definitely didn’t expect to see Richter Belmont whipping the clothes off of sexy vampires, or April O’ Neil gyrating in turtle pasties…

Atmosphere, Events, and Antics

I take it for granted that people reading this already know what an anime con is, but if not, it’s basically a con for all things relating to Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comics), gaming, and even branching out to include Japanese music, fashion, and some Korean pop culture. I’ve been to regular comic conventions in the past, but this is not the same, with the glaring difference being the amount of cosplay. If you don’t show up in costume, you’re in the minority.

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So You Wanna Be A Mummy Punk…

April 14, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Our subcultural landscape has become so flooded that there are an increasing amount of discrepancies over whether recently emerging subcultures truly exist or whether they’re simply hipster indulgences taken too far. Just because the New York Times wrote about Seapunk, does that really make it a thing? And do I need to acknowledge Street Goth just because people blog about it?

While these are both questions  up for debate, I’m certain there’s one thing we can all agree on, and that is the legitimacy of the underground Mummy Punk scene, and the need for Mummy Punk to grow and expand into a more visible subculture.

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Unlike jokey flash in the pan subcultural movements, Mummy Punk is not only grounded in fashion, but also music, history, and cinematic lore. But while I could regale you with a long essay about the history, you’re most likely here for the fashion, so here’s a short, basic primer for those new to the scene:

The Fashion: While there is no absolutely definitive Mummy Punk look, the style is often defined by deconstruction, asymmetry, tattered fabrics, bandage-print, and gauze.

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Stay Warm, Transform Into A Sophisticated Muppet Birdperson

November 12, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

This is my favorite time of year for fashion–right when it’s chilly enough to rock a bunch of layers and look polished in decorative scarves and peacoats, but not so cold that we have to pull out all the hardcore winter wear and look like a bunch of awkward, bundled idiots (no one looks cool in a bubble coat…no one).

I rounded up a collection of sweaters and outerwear I’m currently lusting over, and looking back at my picks, I primarily favor one of two things–sophistication or some serious Muppet-ation.

I can’t say I’d actually wear this brown dip-dyed explosion of faux fur, but I’m pretty pumped that it exists, and that there’s at least one girl out there that’ll be bold enough to spend her winter as some sort of glam Chewbacca.

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Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux Had a Visual Kei Baby

November 6, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

I’d been kicking around the idea of doing a visual kei shoot for some time, but it took a lot longer to find a taker than I’d expected (though in everyone’s defense, I kept bringing up surgical masks as my lead-in). But meet the newest addition to the Fashion Vandals crew, Jo Kielar–he apparently had an inner Jrock frontman dying to get out all along.

In addition to getting a new model on board, I was also fortunate to have a partner helping put everything in motion. The talented Chuckie Moore took care of all hair and makeup.

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WNGTOBWFA Cosplay Dance Party

July 29, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

Friday night I got a bunch of friends together and we had our “We’re Not Going To Otakon But We’re Fun Anyway” dance party. It was a small, pretty casual hangout–just a handful of people drinking bubble tea and dancing to anime theme songs and DDR remixes–but it was pretty awesome to see the costumes everyone came up with.


The previous weekend, I hosted a craft night at my apartment. I got started on my Balzac-lyric-emblazoned face mask and my friend effortlessly created an Espeon (it’s a Pokemon, for all you non-nerds) hoodie in just a few hours.

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