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Article 26 - October 18, 2010
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Rise of the Undead:

Mass Popularity of Vampire Fashions

Chic weekly article THE FASHION UNDERGROUND Rise of the undead mass popularity of Vampire Fashions

By Jessica Lynn Harris

     Stephanie Myers’ The Twilight Saga has brought the vampire back in fashion--literally speaking (and in literature, as well). Whether you love or hate the swooning protagonists Bella and her love triangle with dashing eternal Edward and manly werewolf Jacob, the influence of this series cannot be underestimated. These books and films have sparked a new interest in other young adult vampire novels, like The Vampire Diaries and The Vampire Academy. And among vampire stories competing for popularity is Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires Series and the HBO show based on them, True Blood.


     The Twilight Saga (though, perhaps not single-handedly) has taken what was once a niche community (vampire fans) and popularized it. Vampires are more accepted by and present in mass culture than ever. Beyond literature and tv series, teenagers have taken to vampire fashion. South Park’s season twelve finale “Ungroundable” highlights the similarities and parodies gothic fashion and vampire fashion: pale skin, dark hair, black clothing, heavy eyeliner, corsets, fishnet, and the occasional black lipstick or nail polish. 

Websites, like Sanguinarious, allow teen vamps to share information and give tips about coping with being a “real life vampire,” and this article, Latest Teen Fad: Vampire Teeth reveals a teeth-sharpening phenomenon.


     The only thing I find truly surprising about this trend is that it is a trend--vampires have stopped lurking among the shadows of fringe society. Before vampires were ubiquitously popular and sparkly, the vampire trope has been essential to the gothic subculture since the early 1970s. Whether it was Bauhaus singing about Bela Lugosi, Dave Vanian of The Damnedcostumed on stage like Dracula, or young adults haunting clubs dressed like characters from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles--the vampire has been eternally present. 

Steeped in the tradition of vampirism--from Dracula to the Cullens--is a sense of nobility and consequentially, fashion. While at the Fashion in Fiction conference at Drexel University this month, I learned that Henry Irving, an English stage actor in the Victorian era, tried on over thirty collars for the cape in the costuming for his role as Dracula before he found the right one.


     Since Bela Lugosi, vampire films seem to attract artistic and fashionable persons, whether gorgeous Glam Rocker David Bowie in The Hunger(1983) or New Romantic Adam Ant in Love Bites (1992). However, I would argue the best dressed hunter is by far Buffy, of Joss Whedon’s seven season television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She patrolled cemeteries, and dusted and beheaded vamps in the latest boots, short skirts, mini dresses, and leather pants, all accompanied by witty quips. 

No doubt, vampires have transformed throughout the years: Dracula with his velvet cape, infamous collar, and poet shirt; the punky mullet-rocking vamps of Lost Boys; bleach-blond bad boy Spike and the traumatized, trench coat clad Angel of Buffy fame; and now the white collar fashions of the Cullen family. The vampire trends of today’s young adults borrow from all of this.


     Whether you are a critic or a participant in the vampire craze, remember that it is nothing new. Vampires have been creeping about for ages, though only now can they been seen in sunlight.  


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copyright 2010 Love To Sew
Article 26 October 18, 2010




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