Arts & Culture

Fashionably Dead

A store for all your ghoulish needs

written by Hilary Stamper
October 30, 2009 5:51 pm

Just down from Pizza Corner on Blowers Street there’s a little store known as Fashionably Dead. The small yet attention grabbing shop is filled with dark, Beetlejuice-like apparel, patent leather bags, menacing jewellery and boots that could literally kill someone. It is tucked away behind the surf shop and the tattoo parlour.

It is a relatively new store on the block and caters to those who find their style influence from the more morbid aspects of our world such as skulls and cobwebs. After three years of being an online retailer, Fashionably Dead came across the perfect space for them to open up a physical store location.

Store owner Kate Rankin is perched behind the front counter.

“October is definitely a very busy month for us because of Halloween – it’s crazy.”

Rankin fits the prototype of one who subscribes to “dark fashion.” She wears all black with matching long black dreadlocks and has several piercings and tattoos. However, she is so approachable and kind that it makes me wonder how she was drawn in to a culture that fuels itself on the dark and the scary.

“Back a long time ago I was kind of into Pagan and Wiccan culture and that probably influenced me somewhat to be into darker fashions, but for the most part, I just love spooky things.”

The average customer for Fashionably Dead could be, as Rankin says, “from any walk of life.”

“We get the 40-year-olds in here looking for dresses and we get teenage kids in here. Regular customers are 20 to 30 year olds who are really into horror.”

Of course during October, Rankin says the store gets a ton of new customers looking for Halloween outfits or costumes.

“Halloween is a chance for people who do not normally dress in dark fashion to feel comfortable,” she says. “Regular customers just see Halloween as a more accepting shopping season where they can get everything they love everywhere. Like bats and stuff.”

Halloween at Dalhousie usually results in first-year girls showing off their freshman 15 in sexed-up costumes and a whole lot of drunk. For kids, Halloween is an opportunity to get free candy like it’s their job. Goths see Halloween as a chance to celebrate their subculture of creepiness.

To shed light on this, I asked Kate what she was going to be for Halloween.

“Are you familiar with Victorian Post-Mortem photography?” She answered. I was not. “Well basically people used to have their family portrait taken with a deceased family member’s cadaver as a way to commemorate their life, so I figured I’d go as one of those Post-Mortem Cadavers.”

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