One thing I’ve noticed about Fashion Week so far is that it makes me feel like I’m back in high school. If I have to cover one more party presided over by mean girls with empty stomach breath who think I am trying to lie my way into their lunch table, I may regress, Twin Peaks style, to my angsty 16-year-old self. It’s fitting, then, that for her Spring/Summer 2012 runway show yesterday, Gerlan Marcel decided to draw inspiration from one of the few areas couture has yet to touch with a ten-foot-pole made of Nine Inch Nails CDs: late nineties mall Goth.

“I was really inspired by the Hot Topic aesthetic, but it was about taking these ideas to a more refined place, to give them the attention to detail they have long deserved!” Gerlan told Paper Magazine of the collection. “It’s Nickelodeon Goth Mall Witch!”

Seeing these looks on the grown-up equivalent of the popular kids is somewhat…confusing. You see, when I was a late nineties mall Goth, kids excluded me from their cliques and said mean things about me behind my back. This is the signature look of social outcasts, not fashionistas. Then again, after two decades of widespread wear by suburban teens all over the world, maybe it’s about time mall Goth had its moment in the sun. It’s hard to complain about cultural appropriation when the people having their culture appropriated are largely white and middle/upper class. I also realize that many fashion people were once social outcasts themselves, hence their obsession with recreating the social hierarchy of high school (with themselves at the top this time, naturally). So I guess I would fall slightly on the side of…ambivalently amused? At least she steered clear of the horrid double appropriation that is “witch house.”

(Photos by Rebecca Smeyne for Paper; many more at