wechat sharing

A Day in the Park with Shanghai's Goth Community

Capturing one of Shanghai's flourishing subcultures

 

Shanghai's subcultures are flourishing. You can see it in the surge of home-grown phenomena like wenqing ren (China's artsy answer to the Williamsburg hipster) as well as imported identities like cosplay, punk rockers and heavy metalists. It's a colorful canvas of youths expressing themselves, and if you look hard enough, you'll even find a few darker brushstrokes. Enter Shanghai's small but strong Goth community.

 

 

They're a rare species here. Population figures aren't entirely known, but our closest estimates are based on a WeChat group of about 25 to 30 members. And yet, sightings aren't as rare as you'd think. They can be spotted regularly at the Xuhui Riverside Park near the old railroad tracks.

 

Here they convene in broad daylight (and you thought they were a nocturnal lot, didn't you?) for a bi-weekly picnic. "As you can see, half of our community is here," chuckles Veronica Feng as she gestures to seven other people.

 

 

Some nosh on fine cheese and homemade spring rolls. Others take long drags off their e-cigarettes. It's a small assembly, but they're committed. It has to be more than 30 degrees out, and even in this stifling heat most of them are wearing black.

 

 

Even among these eight it's a diverse group of people, equal parts foreigners and locals. Some are in Goth-adjacent lines of work. Nana Saoirse, who organizes the picnics, manages the metal bar Inferno, for instance. There are also computer programmers and health food store workers in the fold.

 

A variety of personalities means a variety of outward expressions, too. “It's not like being a Goth means you can only have one style. I have clothes (in many colors) of all styles and combine them together," explains Ma-Li Boonriam, who moved to China from the Netherlands five years ago.

 

"People always think vampire or traditional Goth styles from the 80's are the entire representation of Gothicism, but...it has evolved a lot from that," Feng adds.

 

 

This is true. Countless unique Goth subsets have emerged over the years. You have your vampires; your Victorians with their penchant for lace corsets and ruffled dresses; there are Lolitas, who dress in all black; and there are steampunks identifiable by their military-inspired outfits.

 

But for Saoirse this isn't just some elaborate fashion show. "It's about listening to the music and watching movies such as Dracula and Phantom of the Opera.”

 

Simple pleasures and common interests. Fair enough. That's enough of a reason for this bunch of people to meet up every other week. And while they may be tightly knit, "we're always open to new members," says Ma-Li, eager to point out as she takes a slow sip of red wine. "The more the merrier.”

--
Follow us on WeChat:
read more city weekend shanghai

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

TEDx Puxi Shanghai

By: Sophie Webber -

"Yes! And...": What to Expect at the Upcoming TedxPuxi Talk
TEDxPuxi will feature eight speakers sharing their insights, stories and experiences.
Read More
volunteer shanghai foundations charities

By: Cityweekend -

Your Guide to Volunteering in Shanghai
Want to make a difference in the world? You've got plenty of choices in Shanghai.
Read More
stepping stones china looking volunteers

By: Wansien Lee -

Calling for Volunteers: Stepping Stones is Looking for...
Here's your chance to give back. Stepping Stones China is on the look out for volunteers for their Classroom Teaching Program.   The Classroom Teaching Program gathers over 200 Stepping Stones...
Read More
Greg 20HS 1200

By: Sophie Webber -

Wellness Warriors: Greg Byler of Byler Holistic
Alternative medicine in Shanghai with Caritas practitioner Greg Byler.
Read More

Comments

Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us