Goth style more about independence than about label and looks

Published 10:33 pm Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fayth Herring is a striking young woman of 16.

She coats her eyes in dark eye-liner, she has chains on her wallet and her fingernails are usually black. Oh, and don’t forget the corset.

The Natchez High teen is one of only a handful of people living in Natchez who could be labeled as Goth.

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In fact Herring is reluctant to label herself as anything really, though she does admit her wardrobe has a gothic flair.

“I like the look,” she said. “It’s like anything else, it’s a way to express yourself.”

Goth is a style turned lifestyle that got its start in the 1980s in England. It’s a little punk, a little intellectual.

And it’s fading off, at least in these parts.

Herring said her style is rare in Natchez, and she has to travel to Baton Rouge to do her clothes shopping.

“Most of the stuff I wear comes from Hot Topic (a clothing store,)” she said.

And the stuff Herring likes to wear normally turns a few heads.

Fayth’s mother Brandy was very surprised about her daughter’s fashion choice.

“I thought ‘Oh my God, she’s into Satanism,’” she said. “I was very worried for a minute there.”

Brandy said she has since come to realize that her daughter was only going through a phase.

“That’s what kids do,” she said.

“Sometimes people ask if I’m a Satanist,” Fayth said. “Obviously I’m not, I’m really happy all the time actually.”

But the strange looks that black nail polish often gets comes with the territory.

Aside from the nail polish, the chains on the wallet and the tattoos, Herring’s favorite part of her wardrobe also turns quite a few heads.

And the corset is one her mom wishes she’d go without.

Admittedly it’s not an obvious fashion choice but she likes it.

“I want her to be seen as a person not as an object,” Brandy said. “Between the thigh high boots, fishnets and the corset, it kind of freaks me out.”

But Fayth dresses herself, and in general mom is OK with it.

“She wants me to wear a sweater over (the corset),” Fayth said. “Other than that she doesn’t mind the way I dress.”

Area teachers have had lots of experience with Goth.

Natchez High School teacher Frances Doss has been in front of the classroom for 27 years.

“That was one style I never could understand,” she said. “But they were never bad students.”

In fact Doss said her Goth students were generally quiet.

“I don’t think any of them were bad kids,” she said.

And Fayth is no exception.

“I’m not a bad person,” she said. “It’s only an outfit.”

Fayth’s mother said she can see that Fayth is moving into other more normalized fashion trends.

“She’s getting away from that now,” she said.

But as Fayth moves, trending away from Goth, she said there’s one thing she will not leave behind anytime soon.

“Eye-liner,” she said. “I cannot live without eye-liner.”