This is a reblog of a post I wrote six years ago. It was a reaction to the commodification of witch culture. Six years on, it still feels relevant. Especially since I have spent the last year furious writing a book on this history of women accused of witchcraft in Scotland. I’m reprinting the post here with some updates.
Self portrait from 2012
So being a witch is in – even Urban Outfitters is getting in on the haute occult game, selling crystals and divination tools, usually the wares of the local, independent pagan or New Age shop. This look is a simple resurrection–it’s Stevie Nicks’ bohemian style, but paired way down: 1970s Victorian-inspired dresses in black, layers of jagged hemmed garments worn in an undefined silhouette. If you look like you just stepped out of your chicken-footed cottage, you’ve got it right. It’s all the rage. But what if the rage is you, and has always been? How do you ride the tide of fickle fashion when the High Street is cashing in on what you love? I say, keep doing it, and do it like you mean it.
The upside of all this is now that these trends have names–Dark Mori, Nu Goth, etc., I’m able to find my style sisters–like-minded souls on Instagram and Pinterest, mutual style inspirations and co-cacklers. Though this subculture has been overly aestheticised and commodified, there is one striking development–community. There are many of us coming out of the broom closet and we are finding each other.
How we adorn ourselves is our most immediate form of self-expression– it can be the most intimate descriptor we have of ourselves. When fashion takes these shapes and ideas and sells them back to us, we have to keep playing and keeping things true to our own identities while supporting other independent, pagan, heathen and witch-friendly businesses.