Post 4: Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic – Gothic/Dark Academia


The Cottagecore aesthetic and the Gothic/Dark Academia aesthetic are two very different principles and philosophies of art. Cottagecore focuses on simplicity and nature in the countryside. I will provide a summary of Cottagecore by restating a blurb from my first blog post on aesthetic exploration:

Cottagecore aesthetic encapsulates the essence of simple living, countryside charm, and a peaceful connection with nature. This movement draws inspiration from a romanticized interpretation of western agricultural life, embracing values like gardening, sewing one’s clothes, and a rejection of modernity. Let’s explore the intricate characteristics of Cottagecore, where cottages, farm animals, and wildflowers paint a picture of peace.” [1]

The opposite of the Cottagecore aesthetic would include dark photos, various amounts of books and literature, and skulls next to candles [2]. The colors would either be dark, or sharp muted black and grays; unlike the soft, bright, natural, colors of Cottagecore. I would define the contrasting style of Cottagecore to be Gothic/Dark Academia.


I decided to choose two different yet similar aesthetics as my opposing side. While Gothic is based around Gothic architecture and literature, the style of fashion, hobbies, and environment differ from Cottagecore [3]. For example, Cottagecore focuses on light pastel and green clothing and talks about the art of sewing. In contrast Gothic aesthetics in fashion focus on dark, mysterious and genderless forms [4]. Along with the contrasting styles and principles within the Gothic Aesthetic, I also think the more modern style of Dark Academia gives a very unique outlook to the differing styles. Dark Academia is known for its uprising on the platform called TikTok. This aesthetic took on as a trend where millions of people used this desired style throughout their social media. This consisted of fashion styles, social media feeds, and trends dating back to the 19th and early 20th century. While this specific style revolves around social media and technology, which contrasts greatly with the natural and countryside style of cottagecore, Dark Academia has components inspired by gothic and classic aspects [5]. [6]


For my upcycling project, I am going to take pre-existing clothes and fabric and patchwork the materials to make a new use. When using a Cottagecore style, I gravitate towards a light wash style of jeans, various green and beige colored fabric, and flower shaped patches to achieve this overall aesthetic. When deciding on how I would approach this similar project but in a different aesthetic, I had many different ideas. I could stick with something very similar by creating a patchwork style pair of jeans or I could create a different element and upcycle a different article of clothing. For the purposes of this post I will be focusing on a textile component that is similar to the patchwork jeans but in the desired aesthetic.

Based on my inspiration pictures, [7] [8] [9] I would like to repurpose an old pair of jeans that I do not wear anymore. Since my desired aesthetic would be Gothic/Dark Academia I would use a pair of dark wash or black jeans. I like the techniques as seen in the inspiration photos that incorporate patchwork as well as other techniques. For example, I like how the bleach designs on the dark jeans give off a similar style that fits the Gothic aesthetic. If I were to create a patchwork jean project in this designated aesthetic I think it would be somewhat easy to create, but since the styles are very different from Cottagecore, I would most likely need to look into different materials that would fit the color scheme and design.


[1] Higgins, Courtney Jay. “A Beginner’s Guide to Cottagecore.” The Good Trade, 29

Nov. 2023,




[2] “Dark Academia Home Decor Aesthetic: Gothic House, Fantasy House, Dark

Home Decor.” Pinterest, 12 Oct. 2023, 

[3] Wiki, Contributors to Aesthetics. “Gothic.” Aesthetics Wiki, Fandom, Inc., Accessed 14 Feb. 2024. 

[4] “Gothic Fashion.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Jan. 2024,


[5] Bateman, Kristen. “Academia Lives – on Tiktok.” The New York Times, The New

York Times, 30 June 2020,


[6] “Pin by Kiwidragonn on Clothes: Gothic Outfits, Goth Outfits, Alternative

Outfits.” Pinterest, 3 Jan. 2022, 

[7] “Goth Skeleton & Butterfly Print Wide Leg Jeans.” Is That The New Goth

Skeleton & Butterfly Print Wide Leg Jeans ??| ROMWE USA,



Accessed 14 Feb. 2024. 

[8] “AnotherChill®: Shop 2000S Outfits & Vintage Aesthetic Fashion.” AnotherChill®

| Shop 2000s Outfits & Vintage Aesthetic Fashion,



utm_campaign=custom_feed. Accessed 14 Feb. 2024. 

[9] “Pin by Gregori Ribeiro on Customização: Custom Jeans DIY, Denim Hacks,

Upcycle Jeans.” Pinterest, 6 Feb. 2024,


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3 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic […]

  • Riley Menke
    May 7, 2024 5:48 pm

    Hello, I like the direction you decided to take on considering the opposite of gothic. I would have liked to see a sketch or example of what you would have done for this opposite. Would it have a completely different shape too?

  • Hi Emilee, I like the opposite you have decided on. A common theme I have been noticing is that the opposite aesthetics are very similar yet very different to the original aesthetic. From my brief understanding of Cottagecore and Goth, it seems there are quite a few similarities. How much overlap would you consider there to be and at what point would the significant overlap cause them to be too similar?


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