SISTERS OF THE BLACK MOON: HOW TO BE A SUMMER GOTH

Gabriela Herstik meets Goth queens Sisters Of The Black Moon, and delivers some style tips for dressing the part in the summer heat…

Sisters of the Black Moon first opened their “matte black gates” in February of 2010, when a road trip turned into an epiphany. Founders Sara Larocca-Ramm, Alecia Marcum, and Rachel Hunt found the path they were on was no longer serving them, they decided to shift course – and so the numinous universe of SOTBM was born.

With a careful edit of designers, all with an occult and metaphysical aesthetic, SOTBM has cultivated a community of like-minded people while creating an ethical shopping experience. Think everything from exaggerated black capes to quartz and moonstone jewelry and constellation candles.

But perhaps most notable is SOTBM’s own unisex label – the current theme of which is EMBERS, with the emphasis on more structural pieces than previous collections.

We love the Moon-white crop tops and floor length skirts with harness details, and the stark black cloak dresses and in sheer, airy tunics. For all the dramatic undertones, there’s a sense of ease and versatility to the collection, which is designed to take the wearer from day-to-day tasks to gatherings and rituals held under the full moon.

More than anything else, the goal of Larocca-Ramm, Marcum and Hunt is for the souls who cloak themselves in SOTBM to feel confident, comfortable and empowered – a nurturing energy that’s amplified when you learn all three women are mothers. Check out our edit of their online store below, as well as 5 styling tips for summer Goths!

:: Play with proportions ::
When it’s sweltering out, the last thing you want is layers of fabric clinging to your skin. Play with proportion instead. Shorts or a skirt with chunky black boots are a sure fire way to look dark and not overheat. A good pair of leather ankle boots or combat boots will look extra edgy, especially when you’re showing a little leg.

:: Go sheer ::
Goth doesn’t mean layering on the heaviest black fabrics you can find. Instead, try layering sheer fabrics over one another – a great look, especially when they’re both in airy black. If you’re feeling extra spunky, a sheer top with a sheer bra is an empowered look.

:: Light leather ::
Whoever said leather isn’t for summer was completely misinformed and needs a talking to! Leather looks sexy when the sun’s out; plus, it’s the ultimate form of fashion rebellion. A leather choker feels especially appropriate with 90’s inspiration in full swing, while a good pair of leather shorts is equally sexy-tough.

:: Makeup mania ::
If you really don’t want to cake on layers of foundation, commit to your summer Goth look with a bit of smudged black eyeliner, a slinky cat eye and some dark oxblood lipstick. If you’re more adventurous try a full-on black lip and some striking brows. Oh, and never tan. Meowww.

:: Always accessorize ::
Keeping your outfits simple and adding dark accessories is the ultimate way to stay Summer Goth. Tie some long black sleeves around your waist, grab a vintage black wide brimmed hat and load up on occult inspired jewelry. Think onyx and quartz, paint your nails black, grab your favorite pair of pointy black boots or heels and you’re off!

SistersOfTheBlackMoon.com

Maude Nieblungen Shroud Dress, $264
Paula Hagerskans Branch necklace, $466
Paula Hagerskans Cone Ring Moonstone, $340
Moonshine essential oil blend by Naked Eye Beauty for SOTBM, $34
Peg & Awl Constellation Candle Block, £23

WOMAN IN BLACK: DRESSING TO HONOR THE DEATH CARD

When she decided to shave half her head and dress only in black, it was an homage to the unyielding potential of the Death card, says Gaby Herstik. Photos: Alexandra Herstik

My passion for what lies beyond the life we see, for spirituality and the occult, began when I was 12. That passion is something that alienated me, but it also gave me what I needed to truly find myself at a young age. At 16 I shaved off half of my long, brown hair, and began the process of fully growing into myself and finding my own personal style.

I decided to attend the University of South Carolina to study fashion merchandising and print journalism, an unusual decision considering Columbia, USC’s home, doesn’t necessarily condone pitch black hair, bright red lips, half shaved heads and eccentric clothes; all the hallmarks of my look.

But I never even considered attempting to change myself to blend in to my surroundings in Columbia. Early on my freshman year, I made a conscious decision to pretend I was in New York City, and to dress how I wanted to dress no matter what. No matter the side eyes, the questioning glances or the open mouth gapes; I decided to wear whatever it was that made me feel powerful, beautiful and capable.

It wasn’t until I truly owned my inner strength that I was able to become a Death Queen. Personally, I feel the most like a goddess when I wear all black, preferably with some faux leather and some high, high heels, and I choose what I wear for no one else but me.

But being a Death Queen is about more than clothes. It means understanding that endings are an unavoidable part of life, and that the beginnings that come from these endings are infinitely and vastly more powerful. A true Death Queen sees the positive in everything. A Death Queen understands that she can tap into her inner power to create her ideal reality.

Which brings us to the Death card. Death is number 13 in the classic tarot deck, a number that brings to mind its own macabre imagery – namely black cats and cursed Fridays. But Death herself rules transformation in the biggest and most powerful sense of the word; to draw Death is to draw new opportunities and ventures. Death literally represents the opening one door and the closing of another, and, when life feels either too structured or unsettling, often an open door is all you need.

And perhaps that is what defines a Death Queen; tapping into the unyielding potential within yourself to understand the importance and power of change, namely through the properties of death. Being a Death Queen isn’t a morbid fate, and nor is it a stifling existence that leaves you constantly dancing on the edge of life.

At first, change can seem intimidating and scary, ominous and eerie. Death is a forlorn concept, and its card is tainted by society’s portrayal of what it represents, not what it actually is. Death represents big, commanding change. Yes, it most definitely represents the end of something, but the new beginning it ushers in overpowers that ending by eons. Death is an energetic worker who helps you start fresh and start powerfully; if you want control of new beginnings, tapping into the energies of Death and her card is the surest way to go.

In this sense, a Death Queen is a woman who dances between the realms and uses her own power to manifest the most beautiful and positive situations she can, even when times get tough. She remembers that sometimes our judgments cloud our reality, and that being open, aware and present are the best tools in dealing with a tough time.

It’s not always easy to understand the language of your soul, but owning your inner Death Queen means creating a reality that you’re proud of; it means understanding that every ending is a new beginning. In this way a true Death Queen is a woman who’s drawn to examine the darker reaches of the soul, but is innately light.

Being a Death Queen means no more than owning every dark crevice your being, and then using this to create the most beautiful reality you can, to serve you in this life and beyond.

Read more from Gabby Herstik at www.breathingfashion.net

@GabyHerstik