Dark avant-garde fashion - Style, design, concept

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Dark Avantgarde Mode – Design, Konzept und Stil


Dark avant-garde: the edgy subgenre of avant-garde fashion. It presents itself as rough and dark, it disturbs and provokes, fascinates, and deconstructs. It breaks aesthetic norms, questions the status quo, and ventures into unknown territories and shadow worlds.







Black is poetry without words.

- eigensinnig wien







Dark avant-garde fashion – a few words in advance


The essence of dark avant-garde fashion eludes precise definition; it intentionally harbors elements of ambiguity. Dark avant-garde fashion revels in its contradictions. This approach elevates it to a metaphor for the complexities of life, filled with opposing forces. It captures the essence of concurrent realities, engaging with profound existential questions and, thereby, distinguishes itself as more than mere fashion.

Our essay of dark avant-garde fashion takes us on a journey to discover its origins, its critical concerns and what makes it distinctively compelling. This scholarly inquiry is dedicated to uncovering the signature elements of this dark aesthetic clothing genre.

The supremacy of black, innovative cuts, and unique silhouettes - these elements define avant-garde fashion. The inquiry extends to the fabrics and techniques utilized. What are the creators' guiding principles? We seek to convey our viewpoint. How does eigensinnig wien align with the dark avant-garde fashion movement?

Additionally, we delve into the wellsprings of inspiration fueling this shadowy sartorial expression. From the introspective depths of the 'dark night of the soul,' through the cosmic enigma of dark matter, to the brooding allure of dark romanticism, we trace the influences that shape this distinctive aesthetic.

Through this article, we uncover the layers of a fashion genre that is as rich in substance as it is in style.






What is avant-garde fashion?
What is the meaning of avant-garde fashion?
How to define dark avant-garde fashion?
The core identity of eigensinnig wien's dark avant-garde fashion
Art and fashion – What does avant-garde fashion have to do with art?
Dark Romanticism and Existentialism: further inspiration sources for dark avant-garde fashion
Black as the color of dark avant-garde fashion
The most famous dark avant-garde fashion designers

Gothic style, grunge style and beyond: related styles of dark avant-garde fashion







An experimental dress in the style of dark avant-garde fashion by eigensinnig wien 






Shop Avant-garde clothing




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What is avant-garde fashion?

Across all spheres of creativity, be it fashion, arts or music, an avant-garde faction inevitably emerges. Yet, the term 'avant-garde' can be somewhat of a misnomer. Directly translated from French as 'ahead of the guard', in fashion contexts, it doesn’t refer to trendsetting.

Rather, being avant-garde means operating beyond the traditional limits of the field. Designers within this space don’t chase trends; they operate independently of them.

Within the avant-garde fashion spectrum, dark avant-garde fashion stands out as a distinct segment. Marked by its pioneering spirit and experimental approach, it defies traditional fashion rules and expectations. Its essence ranges from boldly provocative to quietly minimalist.

It is defined by its departure from the mainstream, exploring fresh pathways and undiscovered landscapes. Dark avant-garde fashion, particularly through its commitment to black, manifests as mystical, defiant, and textured.




Subcultures: The nurturing ground

Emerging from the rich subcultural soil of the late 1970s and 1980s, dark avant-garde fashion is deeply influenced by the gothic, punk, and industrial movements. Alongside these, the gothic style also came into being, its elements now integral to the dark, enigmatic attire and accessories of the dark avant-garde aesthetic.

This has given rise to a distinctive dark aesthetic, markedly removed from conventional trends, and rich in radical concepts and questions about existence. The dark avant-garde captivates universally, representing the visible crest of a vast, black iceberg, asserting its presence with confidence and strength.



What does avant-garde fashion mean?

Avant-garde fashion is synonymous with experimentation, pushing boundaries and the limits of conventional design to forge new paths. Characterized by its original designs, atypical silhouettes, and the employment of pioneering materials and techniques, it rests on a conceptual framework. Fashion, within this context, is elevated to an art form, with clothing serving as both a mode of expression and a medium for artistic exploration.







The only constant in life is change.

- Heraclitus







What is the meaning of avant-garde fashion?

The definition of avant-garde fashion is as elusive as its meaning is profound. At its core, it signifies a rebellion against the status quo, constantly seeking to redefine the landscape of fashion with innovative designs and concepts. The meaning of avant-garde fashion, thus, is not merely in the garments themselves but in the ideology they represent, challenging conventional definitions of fashion and beauty.

Arriving at a clear-cut conceptualization of the dark avant-garde is an elusive task, and rightfully so. This fashion philosophy is characterized by its affinity for the indistinct and the intangible, flirting with the boundaries of control as an integral part of its essence.




In love with uncontrollability

Uncontrollability, a profound concept introduced by sociologist Hartmut Rosa, highlights the human quest for predictability in an increasingly uncertain world. This desire manifests notably in the modern pursuit of self-optimization - a quest that, according to Rosa, often diminishes our sense of vitality, essential for fostering resonant connections.

This notion of uncontrollability is embraced as a source of creativity for avant-garde fashion designers, inviting us to see the unpredictable events of life as the raw material for innovation.



Frankl, the Stoics, and Existentialists as philosophical foundations for dark avant-garde fashion

The essence of dark avant-garde fashion is deeply entwined with existentialism's assertion that individuals have the agency to reinvent themselves and mold their futures. This perspective, which favors potentiality over current circumstances, reflects a life philosophy that transforms failures into successes, as espoused by Viktor Frankl, the pioneer of logotherapy and existential analysis, who acknowledged the human spirit's defiance against preordained paths.

Similarly, Stoicism underscores this approach by emphasizing the importance of calmly accepting what cannot be changed, boldly altering what is within our control, and wisely discerning the boundary between permanence and possibility.

Individuals drawn to dark avant-garde fashion are influenced as much by its philosophy as by its aesthetic qualities. Characterized by their distinctive nature, these individuals are dedicated to self-expression and the constant questioning of societal norms. They choose to convey their uniqueness and resilience in a manner that eschews color, drawing strength from the contradictions that life presents.






How to define dark avant-garde fashion?


How to define dark avant-garde fashion?



While NZZ describes dark avant-garde as a fusion of gothic, dark metal, and Victorian couture, we at eigensinnig wien view it as inherently more complex. This fashion genre is characterized by its fluidity, undergoing constant transformation. It is elusive, punctuated by mysterious dark spots that persistently elude definition.

Consider these descriptions as mere touchstones, not as inflexible principles.



Dark avant-garde fashion is experimental

Dark avant-garde fashion designers experiment with materials, forms and silhouettes, positioning itself within the realm of deconstructivist and anti-fashion. This style frequently diverges from conventional fashion methodologies, incorporating techniques like fabric distressing, raw edging, and unbalanced tailoring in predominantly all-black ensembles for both women and men, often characterized by their asymmetrical designs.

Layering plays a crucial role, with a preference for black and textures that range from leather and velvet to lace and mesh, creating a look imbued with theatricality and drama.

Abstract patterns and decorative elements, such as collars adorned with studs or chains and an array of darkly aesthetic rings and bracelets, are frequently embraced.


Dark avant-garde fashion is innovative

Embracing experimentation and the unknown, this genre boldly traverses new frontiers, meriting its classification as futuristic. It confidently departs from the conventional comfort zone dominated by mainstream fashion.


Dark avant-garde fashion unites contradictions

This fashion philosophy straddles temporal boundaries, evoking elements of both historical reverence and futuristic speculation. It embraces the spectrum of utopian dreams and dystopian realities while deconstructing gender roles, advocating for an androgynous expression.

A confluence of past and future, where nostalgic aesthetics intertwine with visions of tomorrow, crafting a narrative that oscillates between melancholy and insurrection. This sartorial blend harmoniously unites the anarchic spirit of punk with the refined elegance of haute couture, embodying a dual homage to historical reverence and futuristic ambition.

The dark avant-garde fashion engages in a sophisticated play with Victorian motifs, presenting them with an innovative edge. This approach turns the little black dress into a testament to both progress and nostalgia, and redefines black drop-crotch pants as a manifest of rebellion within the fabric of modern fashion.


Dark avant-garde fashion dress made by eigensinnig wien

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Dark avant-garde fashion is subversive

Rooted in the Punk, Gothic, and Industrial movements, dark avant-garde fashion draws from these subcultures' rebellious spirits and subversive elements to counteract the established norms of high culture.

Avant-garde suits and harem pants, along with oversized blazers and other voluminous garments like avant-garde dresses, deliberately seek to disrupt and challenge. They consistently resist conformity. Emerging from the underground, dark avant-garde fashion now strides the high fashion scene, embodying a bold statement of high anti-fashion, depending on one's perspective on this dark aesthetic clothing style.


Dark avant-garde fashion is not afraid of the dark sides of the soul

This fashion deliberately engages with taboos, refusing to deny the existence of darker forces or the unconscious mind. By highlighting these facets of the human condition, it aligns itself with the principles of analytical psychology, as developed by Carl Gustav Jung. "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung


Dark avant-garde fashion is rebellious

Embracing a stance of rebellion, this fashion form navigates against the currents of societal expectations and established fashion norms, revealing its insurgent spirit with varying degrees of intensity.


Dark avant-garde fashion is conceptual

Dark avant-garde styles, such as the sleek black pant suits tailored for women and the fluidly draped harem pants, transcend the boundaries of mere aesthetic appeal, embodying profound narratives and philosophical undercurrents.

Influenced by the depth of existentialism, the introspection of romanticism, and the rebellion of dadaism, these fashion statements serve as a canvas for intellectual and artistic exploration. They navigate the complexities of human existence, challenging our perceptions and inviting us to question the very fabric of reality.

In this sartorial dialogue, each garment becomes a testament to individuality, a rejection of the conventional, and a celebration of the enigmatic. Dark avant-garde fashion, in its defiance of mainstream norms, not only captivates the eye but also stimulates the mind, encouraging a deeper engagement with the existential questions that define our era.


Dark avant-garde fashion delves into societal issues

With its roots deeply embedded in questioning the status quo, dark avant-garde fashion transcends mere style to interrogate societal conventions and current affairs.

Utilizing cuts and silhouettes as its language, it communicates complex narratives about the world today. This fashion form encourages a critical gaze, pushing boundaries to explore the intersections of fashion, culture, and politics. As such, it stands at the forefront of societal commentary, using the runway as a platform for engaging with and reflecting upon the world's complexities.




The core identity of eigensinnig wien's dark avant-garde fashion

Our creative vision manifests through avant-garde fashion, with black playing the lead role. This choice illustrates our open yet passionate embrace of black, dedicating our work to exploring its profound allure and making it the focal point of our aesthetic journey. Read more in our homage "A tribute to the darkest of all colors".

Since establishing its roots in 2012, eigensinnig wien has pursued a singular vision: to weave the essence of human defiance into the fabric of avant-garde fashion. The brand embraces obstinacy in its many guises, recognizing that within each individual lies a shadowed form of defiance that clothing can both reveal and transfigure. Read more in our style guide for obstinate women, here one for obstinate men.


Toni Woldrich, a trailblazer in avant-garde fashion design, leads a cadre of artistic talents at the Viennese label. This collective genius is the driving force behind the label's distinctive collections, which are brought to life in their avant-garde fashion store in Vienna. This space transcends conventional retail, merging the worlds of fashion, art, and theatrical display in a singular, immersive experience.

Our avant-garde fashion label has garnered widespread recognition, notably the 'Men’s Fashion Austria' Award in 2022 from Shopping Guide Austria, underscoring our international acclaim. Our collection, inclusive of plus sizes and designed for a variety of occasions, is complemented by the bespoke tailoring services available in our workshop.




How does our dark avant-garde fashion come about?


At the beginning there is the idea.

eigensinnig wien's collection draws from the intellectual and cultural bedrock of philosophy, art, and music, presenting avant-garde fashion that celebrates the legacy of historical icons. The names of these garments reflect a deep engagement with the thoughts, theories, and artistic visions of their namesakes, blending conceptual depth with aesthetic appeal.

Elevating the monochrome clothes, this dark avant-garde collection brings to life the names of Freud, Camus, Coltrane, Suttner, De Beauvoir and Didion through its meticulously designed black avant-garde suits and harem pants, celebrating their contributions in style.

The vibrant echoes of Slipknot's metal anthems and Thom Yorke's avant-garde tracks resonate through our design philosophy, shaping a collection that defies conventional fashion norms. This harmonious integration of music and design crafts a narrative that's as compelling as the tracks that inspire it, offering a wardrobe that's not just worn, but experienced. It's a homage to the art of music, inviting wearers to explore the depths of their own style against the backdrop of these musical giants.


From the abstract minimalism of 'Black Square' by Kazimir Malevich to the conceptual depth of negative space and Hartmut Rosa’s resonance theory, our dark avant-garde fashion is a testament to varied artistic influences. The essence of Wabi-Sabi, as articulated by Leonard Koren—'Limit everything to the essentials, but do not remove the poetry'—permeates our designs, creating a raw yet poetic aesthetic that is unmistakably ours.

Drawing on the intricate landscapes of the psyche's shadow, the inherent contradictions within human actions, and the profound experience known as the 'dark night of the soul', our collections reflect the resilience found in overcoming life’s deepest challenges.





Pare down to the essentials, but don't remove the poetry.

- Leonard Koren




In the realm of shadows, we find clarity. Our gaze delves into the abyss where others shy away. This pursuit of darkness is not mere fascination - it's an exploration that widens our vistas, fostering growth and elevating consciousness.

Dark matter, the cosmos's enigmatic force, serves as a profound muse. Invisible and yet omnipresent, it shapes galaxies and challenges our understanding of the physical world. Like this cosmic puzzle, our inspiration is drawn from the unseen, the overlooked.

The sources of inspiration are, in essence, everywhere.



The cycle of avant-garde fashion creation

Our design ethos in dark avant-garde fashion is a testament to perpetual transformation. We engage in a dance of creation and destruction, deconstruction, and reconstruction - crafting garments that transcend traditional boundaries. The dominantly black attire, from pantsuits to oversized pieces, emerges from these experimental endeavors.

In our process, the journey transcends the destination. It's an invitation to the unexpected, to the beauty of uncontrollability, manifesting in all-black ensembles that accentuate the wearer's uniqueness.

Guided by the ideals of visionary thinking, unconventionality, and provocation, we redefine creativity. Our journey is one of constant evolution, always moving beyond, thinking ahead, embracing the cyclical return to our creative genesis. This ethos is embodied in our dark aesthetic clothing - a celebration of the beauty inherent in the process.






What characterizes the dark avant-garde fashion of eigensinnig wien?


Two people in all-black outfits in the dark avant-garde fashion style of eigensinnig wien



Genderless and dark avant-garde fashion in plus size

eigensinnig wien stands at the forefront of avant-garde fashion, crafting pieces that defy easy categorization. Our collections celebrate androgyny, featuring an expansive range of gender-neutral and unisex options available in sizes XXS to 3XL.

Dark avant-garde fashion from eigensinnig wien seamlessly transitions from daily wear to the boardroom, social gatherings, or matrimonial celebrations - each ensemble adaptable through styling and accessories. We curate a diverse selection to empower the full expression of your unique persona.



High-quality natural materials in dark avant-garde fashion

Selection of premium natural materials underpins the exclusivity of our designer fashion. Belgian linen, Japanese cotton, and ethereal silk define our offerings, complemented by the warmth of merino, the resilience of alpaca, the finesse of wool, and the opulence of cashmere. Artisanal buttons crafted from metal, horn, or wood further distinguish our avant-garde fashion.

Discover our silk clothing for women in summer here.



Unconventional cuts and silhouettes

eigensinnig wien's avant-garde collection is defined by its innovative tailoring. Our repertoire spans elegantly traditional to modern oversized aesthetics. Noteworthy are our signature trousers with a distinctive low crotch and the asymmetrical lines that define each item, creating an aura of individuality and sophistication.

Our fashion carries a subtle yet impactful rebellion, marked by unconventional details that symbolize a quiet deviation from the mainstream.

The exceptional men's suit and the designer trouser suit for women are among our most well-known creations. Here you will find a blog post about men's suits including tailored suits, here an article about oversized suits for women in avant-garde style. 



Favorite color for our avant-garde fashion: black.

Explore the depth of our monochromatic collection, where black reigns supreme, offering a timeless canvas for our avant-garde designs for both men and women.

Discover our all-black outfits for men – black avant-garde fashion and black clothing for women in an all-black look.

Read more about our avant-garde fashion for women and men here in our blog article.

Read in our article "What is avant-garde?" about the most important questions and answers regarding avant-garde.

In our "Avant-garde style guide", you will find suggestions and inspirations for this profound fashion genre.






Art and fashion – What does avant-garde fashion have to do with art?


 What does dark avant-garde fashion have to do with art?



Dark avant-garde fashion draws profound inspiration from the art world, notably from expressionism, surrealism, and dadaism - movements that infuse this fashion genre with depth and complexity.




Capturing dark, intense emotions and the distortion of forms, expressionism mirrors the emotional and aesthetic intensity found in dark avant-garde fashion, from the dramatic silhouettes to the impactful textures.



This movement's exploration of dreams, the subconscious, and the supernatural finds its echo in the irrational and surprising elements of dark avant-garde fashion, infusing designs with an otherworldly quality.



With its foundational break from convention and the mainstream, dadaism's rebellious ethos resonates strongly in dark avant-garde fashion, manifesting in everything from oversized black sweaters to steampunk-inspired ensembles.


Gothic and Film Noir

The intricate details of Gothic art and architecture, along with Film Noir's iconic interplay of light and shadow, inspire dark avant-garde fashion's aesthetic, offering a rich palette of visual and thematic elements.

The aesthetic principles of Film Noir, a genre that reigned supreme in the American cinematic landscape of the 1940s to the late 1950s, cast a long shadow over the realm of dark avant-garde fashion. The term "noir," translating to "black" from French, perfectly encapsulates the genre's signature visual tone: a world of deep shadows, stark light-dark contrasts, and an enveloping nocturnal ambiance.

Originally named by French critics in the 1950s, Film Noir's influence seamlessly transitions into the modern era through the neo-noir movement. This contemporary adaptation weaves the timeless elements of classic noir with modern narratives and stylistic innovations, a transformation that mirrors the evolution seen in dark avant-garde fashion, with both realms sharing a deep-rooted affinity for the dramatic and the mysterious.


Avant-garde fashion as an art form

Avant-garde fashion challenges the ordinary, transforming garments into wearable art that conveys creativity, craftsmanship, and commentary, redefining fashion as a platform for expression and innovation.

Read more about this in our article "What does avant-garde fashion have to do with art?" 

Avant-garde fashion as an art form





Dark Romanticism and Existentialism: further inspiration sources for dark avant-garde fashion

Dark Romanticism as a catalyst for dark avant-garde fashion


Dark Romanticism, hailing from the 19th century and delving into humanity's darker, mystical qualities, remains a pivotal inspiration for fashion. Its essence is vividly captured in dark avant-garde fashion, presenting styles that are as enigmatic as they are stylish.

Highlighting intense feelings of melancholy and longing, the movement imbues dark avant-garde fashion with a depth that aims to transcend the external. It's designed to elicit emotions, resonating with both the individual it adorns and those who behold it.

In the discourse on fashion's perceived shallowness, Clifford Leo Harris's words stand out, quoted by Katja Eichinger in 'Fashion and other neuroses': "You haven't even scratched the surface of my superficiality." This statement offers a deep dive into the complexities masked by apparent simplicity.

Influenced by the somber, mystical, and uncanny aspects of Dark Romanticism, a unique aesthetic has emerged. This aesthetic, rich in dark allure, permeates various dark avant-garde fashion creations, manifesting its distinct essence.

The intense relationship with nature, a recurring theme in Dark Romanticism that celebrates untamed landscapes, finds expression in dark avant-garde fashion. This connection is evident in the selection of natural materials and the incorporation of organic forms, often characteristic of artisanal garments.

The eerie essence of Gothic literature, with its dark atmospheres and fascination with the unknown and supernatural, enriches Dark Romanticism. This influence extends to dark avant-garde fashion, characterized by dark hues, non-traditional cuts, and unsettling embellishments, crafting an unmistakably mystical aesthetic.



In both Dark Romanticism and dark avant-garde fashion, there is a profound appreciation for the fleeting aspects of life, mirroring the principles of the Japanese Wabi-Sabi aesthetic. Dark avant-garde fashion manifests this philosophy through its choice of faded fabrics, intentionally incomplete seams, and a general embrace of the aesthetically raw and imperfect.





Dark avant-garde fashion is rebellious, distances itself from traditional fashion conventions and seeks alternative forms of expression.





Existentialism as an inspiration source for dark avant-garde fashion


Existentialism, a profound philosophical movement from the 20th century, delves into themes of individual existence, freedom, and responsibility. It's marked by the contributions of thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir. This philosophy's emphasis on the individual's search for meaning in an ambiguous world has deeply influenced various cultural domains, including dark avant-garde fashion.

By embracing existentialist concepts, dark avant-garde fashion designers elevate their creations beyond simple beauty, incorporating elements of emotion, thought, and existential significance into each piece.

Existentialism celebrates the art of individual self-expression and the value of personal freedom. This philosophy shapes dark avant-garde fashion, encouraging a departure from mainstream norms to forge a distinct, personal aesthetic that manifests in bold, edgy ensembles.

At the intersection of existentialism and style, dark avant-garde fashion explores the quest for meaning and existential dilemmas. It achieves this through innovative designs that resonate deeply on an emotional level, reflecting existential concerns.

Dark avant-garde fashion's edgy outfits are a testament to existentialism's characteristic rebellion against societal expectations. These creations diverge from mainstream fashion, exploring unconventional paths to articulate a distinct voice.

Drawing from existentialism's focus on living authentically, dark avant-garde fashion reflects this concept through its adoption of unconventional materials, avant-garde cuts, and unique designs. This fashion form becomes a medium for expressing personal narratives and authenticity.



By incorporating unconventional materials and designs, dark avant-garde fashion serves as a canvas for exploring the transient nature of human life. It locates beauty within transience, echoing existentialist thoughts on the fleeting experiences that define our existence





Black as the color of dark avant-garde fashion


Black as the color of avant-garde fashion



Black is the predominant color in dark avant-garde fashion for several reasons:



Black represents darkness

Beyond its visual depth, black represents the essence of obscurity, a cornerstone of the dark avant-garde movement. It's associated with the realm of secrets, enigmas, and the yet-to-be-revealed. As articulated in our our blog post "The darkest of colors: A tribute to black": 'Where one sees nothing, one can suspect everything,' suggesting black's role as the ultimate surface for projection, where observers meet their own inner selves.


Black creates contrasts

Black, known for its dramatic impact and ability to form striking contrasts, is a fundamental component of dark avant-garde fashion. This choice of contrast is not incidental but a sought-after effect, designed to set these fashion pieces apart from the conventional, thereby underlining their unique identity.


Black is elegant

Black stands as the epitome of elegance and sophistication, radiating a timeless allure perfectly in sync with the innovative spirit of dark avant-garde fashion. This color not only signifies style but also complements the avant-garde's bold expressions.


Black is versatile

Moreover, black is celebrated for its neutrality and versatility. It shifts the spotlight to textures, cuts, and shapes, enabling these elements to stand out without the interference of color.


Black and subculture

In the world of subcultural movements — Gothic, Punk, and Industrial — black reigns supreme, significantly shaping the aesthetic of dark avant-garde fashion. It's not just a choice of color; it's a statement, embodying the subversive and the alternative as forms of expression.


Black is timeless

Black and avant-garde fashion share a common trait: timelessness. Both reject the fleeting nature of trends, instead aiming to leave a lasting mark on the artistic landscape. Black symbolizes this commitment to enduring expression and profound impact


Black is not just black

Ubiquitous in both fashion and the broader artistic world, black is a color of immeasurable depth and nuance. Though it might seem uncomplicated at first glance, a deeper exploration unveils a rich complexity that has enamored artists, designers, and fashion experts.

Below, we explore some of the most iconic types of black, celebrated for their particular qualities:


Shades of black


Deep Black

This shade embodies an intense, profound blackness, with its minimal reflection forging a depth unparalleled in elegance and formal wear.


Matte Black

The epitome of modern sophistication, matte black mesmerizes with its light-absorbing, smooth finish, perfect for a statement of contemporary chic.


Glossy Black

Diverging from the understatement of matte, glossy black dazzles, infusing accessories and shoes with a lively, eye-catching sheen.


Charcoal Black

A nuanced blend of black and gray, charcoal offers a versatile choice that softens the intensity, making it perfect for both daily wear and business attire.


Onyx Black

Mirroring the lustrous sheen of its namesake gem, onyx black exudes luxury and depth, a testament to understated opulence.


Raven Black

As enigmatic as the bird it's named after, raven black boasts a subtle metallic shimmer, akin to the reflective sheen of a raven's feathers.


Jet Black

This uniform, deep black is reminiscent of the glossy allure of jet gemstones, known for its mirror-like shine.


Ink Black

Deep and compelling, ink black captures the essence of precision with its ability to define sharp, clear lines in fashion designs.


Pitch Black

An abyss of color, pitch black harkens to the depths of night, absorbing light in its intense darkness.


Smokey Black

Evoking the ephemeral nature of smoke, this softer, gray-tinged black lends a mysterious, understated elegance to any ensemble.



Avant-garde labels, notably eigensinnig wien, skillfully navigate the subtle intricacies of black, employing its various shades to introduce depth, texture, and a touch of emotion into their fashion lines. Opting for natural materials - linen, cotton, wool, silk - they accentuate the distinctive essence of each black hue, crafting pieces that stand as icons of refined sophistication.

The exceptional ability of Vantablack to absorb almost all visible light makes it a noteworthy material, positioning it as one of the darkest known. While it transforms objects into flat silhouettes in astronomy and art, the challenging production and complex nature of Vantablack render it a novel yet limited addition to the fashion world.





Black is a chameleon without colors.

- eigensinnig wien






The most famous dark avant-garde fashion designers

Several designers and brands are often associated with the dark avant-garde style, including:


Rick Owens

Rick Owens, often celebrated as the "lord of darkness", is renowned for his groundbreaking avant-garde creations. Merging a stark, post-apocalyptic vision with premium materials and refined tailoring, Owens crafts fashion that is both raw and sophisticated.


Yohji Yamamoto

Yamamoto stands out for his exceptional skill in weaving together traditional Japanese design with contemporary, often deconstructed, fashion sensibilities. His work is marked by a devotion to the color black and an affinity for fluid fabrics, creating silhouettes that challenge and transcend time.


Ann Demeulemeester

A distinguished member of the Antwerp Six, Demeulemeester is celebrated for her poetic fashion narrative that elegantly interlaces gothic and bohemian elements, crafting a distinct, emotive aesthetic.


Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons)

Rei Kawakubo, with Comme des Garçons, ventures beyond the dark avant-garde to redefine the frontiers of fashion and beauty. Her collections, often imbued with a contemplative darkness, daringly disrupt conventional beauty paradigms.


Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh is acclaimed for his forward-looking designs, characterized by a bold emphasis on form and structure. His palette, while primarily anchored in black, is enlivened with metallic and reflective materials, envisioning a future both stark and shimmering.


Hussein Chalayan

Chalayan’s fashion narrative is rich with innovation, employing materials and technology to weave tales of identity, migration, and the human-technology interface. His designs, often somber, delve into deep, complex themes, inviting reflection and dialogue.


eigensinnig wien

Toni Woldrich’s Vienna-based avant-garde label, eigensinnig wien, is a celebration of obstinacy and uniqueness. Drawing inspiration from philosophy, art, culture, and the Japanese Wabi-Sabi aesthetic, their predominantly black collections are a homage to individuality, named after influential figures.



These visionaries redefine beauty through darkness, challenging fashion’s norms with relentless innovation and an unyielding quest for expressive freedom.





Gothic style, grunge style and beyond: related styles of dark avant-garde fashion


Dark avant-garde styles at eigensinnig wien



Dark avant-garde fashion distinctively sets itself apart from related styles such as gothic, grunge, dark academia fashion, female darkwear, quiet luxury, and post-apocalyptic fashion. Yet, it shares a profound connection with these movements, weaving a rich tapestry of dark elegance and rebellious spirit.




Gothic style


A woman in a black dress in gothic style by eigensinnig wien



Emerging from the late 1970s and early 1980s, the gothic movement transcended its musical roots to weave a rich tapestry of culture, touching fashion, art, music, and literature. Esteemed for their embrace of the romantically macabre, gothic dresses and other garments marry the allure of darkness with the elegance of bygone eras in both attire and accessories.

Characteristics of gothic style include:


Dark and mystical palettes

Dominated by the eternal allure of black, with accents of rich reds, deep purples, or ethereal whites.


Historical and romantic influences

Garments echo the grandeur of the Victorian, medieval, and Elizabethan epochs, showcasing corsets, flowing skirts, frilled shirts, and lace-trimmed finery.


Iconic adornments

Accessories adorned with timeless symbols—crosses, skulls, Ankhs—complemented by lace gloves, distinctive hats, and unconventional footwear.


Theatrical makeup

The gothic visage is characterized by dramatically accentuated eyes and lips, favoring shades that whisper tales of the night.


Haunting hair artistry

Locks tinted in the darkest of hues or vibrant unconventional colors, often styled in intricate designs or enhanced with extensions.



As it evolved, gothic fashion splintered into a kaleidoscope of subgenres - each with its unique aesthetic and philosophical tenets, from cyber goth, neo gothic style, eco goth, to Victorian fashion and beyond.

Read more about gothic style and the designer gothic style clothing available at eigensinnig wien in our article "Gothic style and avant-garde fashion".




What defines grunge style?


A woman wears a grunge style outfit in black and white from eigensinnig wien



Emanating from Seattle's late 1980s to early 1990s, grunge fashion is inextricably linked with the era's pivotal music scene. It embodies a refusal to conform, drawing from punk's rebellion, indie's distinctiveness, rock's raw edge, and the practicality of workwear.

Key features of Grunge style include:


Effortlessly casual

A preference for clothing that bears the marks of life, embodying a sense of authenticity.


Iconic Pieces

The quintessential flannel shirts, oversized tees and sweaters, distressed denim, and a penchant for vintage.


Dark and earthy tones

A preference for deep, natural shades like black, charcoal, olive green, and burgundy that evoke a connection to the earth.


Layering mastery

A mix-and-match of fabrics, creating a casually disheveled look that seems effortlessly thrown together.


Grounded footwear

A tribute to functional beauty with robust boots, casual sneakers, and shoes that bear the journey's marks.


Unadorned beauty

A minimalist approach to beauty, embracing the allure of the natural and the tousled.


Subtle embellishments

Complemented by understated jewelry and accessories that add a hint of personality.



Discover more about grunge style and the luxury grunge style clothing you can find at eigensinnig wien in our article "An avant-garde approach to the grunge style".





How would you describe dark academia fashion?


A woman and a man in Dark Academia style on a historic square in front of eigensinnig wien



Dark academia fashion emerges as a sartorial homage to the pursuit of knowledge, drawing inspiration from the hallowed halls of 19th and early 20th-century European academia. It embodies a deep reverence for literature, the arts, and the humanities, all while enveloped in a cloak of mystique and nostalgic melancholy.

Essential elements of dark academia style include:


A scholarly palette

Anchored in rich, somber hues - black, charcoal grey, and deep brown - it also embraces warm, earthy undertones with hints of burgundy and forest green for depth and vibrancy.


Textures of tradition

Prestige is woven into the very fabrics of this style, with a predilection for wool, tweed, silk, and cotton, offering both texture and a tangible connection to the natural world.


The wardrobe of a scholar

The dark academia aesthetic is defined by structured blazers, knit sweaters, formal shirts, and vests. Feminine pleated skirts and masculine tweed pants are complemented by classic outerwear, while scholarly accessories like scarves and vintage timepieces add layers of narrative.


Literary footsteps

Footwear choices such as Oxfords and brogues tie the look to its academic roots, offering a nod to both the functional and the ceremonial aspects of scholarly life.


Refined accents

Accessories are thoughtfully chosen to complement the intellectual vibe - reading glasses and vintage briefcases, alongside understated makeup and effortlessly chic hairstyles, round off the dark academia ensemble.


Dark academia fashion is more than just attire; it's a reflection of a life dedicated to intellectual curiosity and the philosophical exploration of life's profoundest queries. This style has captivated the hearts of the youth, finding a vibrant community on social media where literature and gothic academic settings converge in a celebration of learning.

Learn more about dark academia fashion and the black academia style clothing available at eigensinnig wien in our article "Dark academia fashion for men and women".





What is avant-gardist Japanese fashion?


Japanese avant-garde fashion with special collar detail from a men's shirt in eigensinnig wien



Renowned for its innovative and influential aesthetics, avant-gardist japanese fashion distinguishes itself through distinctive features that make it unique on both the international fashion stage and in cultural discussions.

Here are its essential characteristics:


Deconstructed elegance

By rethinking garment structure, Japanese designers unveil new dimensions of fashion, engaging in a dialogue of deconstruction that redefines elegance.


Asymmetrical clothing and layering

Captivating in their complexity, these pieces employ asymmetrical designs and layers to unfold their full splendor dynamically, setting the benchmark for asymmetrical fashion.


Minimalist chromatic harmony

Adopting a minimalist color scheme, the movement prioritizes form and texture, allowing simplicity to narrate a profound visual story.


Sculptural silhouettes

These garments are not merely clothes but architectural endeavors that expand and redefine the body's contours, blurring the distinctions between wearer and wear.


Futuristic style clothing

Embracing innovative materials, Japanese avant-garde fashion ventures into the future, presenting a visionary take on textile innovation.


Influences from art and philosophy

Infused with the richness of Japanese art and philosophy, each piece carries a cultural and intellectual depth, transcending fashion.


Practical artistry

Despite their avant-garde appearance, these garments offer comfort and functionality, proving that art can be both wearable and practical.


These characteristics together produce a fashion that is not just clothing but a form of wearable art. Avant-gardist japanese fashion remains at the forefront of fashion innovation and inspiration.

Explore japanese avant-garde fashion and the japan-inspired avant-garde fashion at eigensinnig wien in our article "Navigating avant-garde japanese fashion".




What does steampunk style mean?


A woman wears designer sunglasses and black clothing in the style of steampunk fashion by eigensinnig wien



Steampunk style emerges as a captivating blend of Victorian elegance and industrial innovation, rooted in a fantastical version of history where steam power shapes the world.

Victorian elegance with a modern edge

This style pays homage to the late 19th century, reimagining corsets, sweeping skirts, distinguished tailcoats, and iconic top hats with a contemporary twist, weaving past and present into a seamless garment.


Industrial revolution reimagined

Accessories echo the industrial age, featuring mechanical gears, brass buttons, and intricate closures that celebrate the era’s mechanical ingenuity.


Adventure in leather and metal

The adventurous spirit of steampunk is captured through the use of sturdy leather and striking metal accents, from utility belts to aviator goggles, embodying a rugged elegance.


When the future entwines with the past

Steampunk’s essence lies in marrying futuristic visions with Victorian grace, presenting a layered narrative of time-travel elegance.


A tapestry of accessories

The style is renowned for its eye-catching accessories, including vintage pocket watches, artisanal jewelry, and bespoke goggles, all reinterpreted with modern flair.


A palette of earth and metal

Its color scheme favors earth tones and rich darks, highlighted by the metallic sheen of copper, bronze, and gold, offering warmth and sophistication.


The mark of craftsmanship

Steampunk distinguishes itself through meticulous craftsmanship and personalized details, ensuring each piece tells its own story of innovation and artistry.



Steampunk outfits are not merely a trend; they are a celebration of imagination, blending historical depth with technological wonder, a narrative elegantly unfolded at eigensinnig wien.

Find out about steampunk style and the designer steampunk styles available at eigensinnig wien in our article "What does steampunk style mean in fashion?"





Glam rock style


A woman wearing black designer fashion in glam rock style by eigensinnig wien



Emerging in the early 1970s, glam rock is a fusion of music and fashion, renowned for its flamboyant, theatrical style. It challenges traditional gender norms, celebrating self-expression and the uniqueness of the individual.

Here are the essential features of glam rock style in fashion:


Glittering foundations

The quintessence of glam rock is its penchant for sparkle - glitter, sequins, and shiny fabrics transform the wearer into a beacon of light.


Bold impressions

The glam rock palette is fearless, favoring striking animal prints and vivid geometric patterns that command attention.


Sky-high style shoes and boots

Elevating every ensemble, platform shoes and boots are universal, transcending gender with their bold heights.


Androgyny unleashed

Glam rock plays with androgynous elements, merging makeup, hair, and fashion to blur and redefine gender identities.


Accessories that speak volumes

Extravagance extends to accessories - voluminous sunglasses, dramatic belts, and ornate jewelry are staples of the glam rock aesthetic.


Defined by denim and drama

The fashion insists on skin-tight jeans and slim pants, balanced by extravagant outerwear, crafting a daring visual dialogue.


Theatrical expression

Dramatic makeup and hairstyles are not just additions but essential components of glam rock, underscoring its theatrical essence.


Luxury meets rebellion

Leather and satin are the materials of choice, rich in texture and attitude, they encapsulate the glam rock spirit.


Glam rock fashion is an ode to extravagant self-expression, a boundary-pushing phenomenon vividly captured in the exclusive collections at eigensinnig wien.

Read about glam rock style and the designer glam rock style available at eigensinnig wien in our article "Glam rock style guide for the obstinate ones".





What is the meaning of female darkwear?


Female darkwear distills the essence of the darkwear movement into a sartorial philosophy for women, marrying dark aesthetics with streetwear elements and high-fashion sensibility.

Characteristics of female darkwear include:


Shades of the night

The color scheme delves into the depths of night - black intertwined with shades of dark gray and navy, evoking a powerful, underground vibe.


Materials that fuse form and function

Embracing high-tech fabrics and innovative materials, female darkwear prioritizes functionality without sacrificing style, featuring garments designed for the modern urban nomad.


Architectural designs

Its design ethos is minimalist yet profoundly expressive, focusing on the silhouette and incorporating practical, stylish elements like innovative closures and versatile straps.


Intersecting inspirations

From the digital intrigue of cyberpunk techwear to the disciplined allure of military aesthetics and the boundary-pushing nature of avant-garde fashion, female darkwear draws from a well of eclectic influences to create a unique, edgy look.


Silhouettes of empowerment

Offering a variety of silhouettes, from streamlined to boldly oversized, each piece is a testament to the style's commitment to freedom and empowerment.


The finishing touches

Accessories are integral, with expansive scarves, cutting-edge sunglasses, and statement-making boots amplifying the distinctiveness of the darkwear ethos.



Female darkwear is an emblem of a lifestyle that values the non-traditional, embracing the depth of individuality and the essence of modern urban culture and contemporary art. It is a style that boldly crosses traditional fashion frontiers, firmly rooted in the now yet always looking to the future.






What is the philosophy of quiet luxury style?


Quiet luxury stands as a beacon of understatement and sophistication in the world of fashion and lifestyle, championing the virtues of subtlety, exceptional quality, and timeless design. This philosophy eschews the flamboyant for a confident elegance that captivates without clamor, cherished by those with a discerning eye.

Essential features of the quiet luxury style include:


Materials of uncompromising quality

The hallmark of quiet luxury lies in its devotion to superior material - fine silk, sumptuous cashmere, pristine organic cotton, and artisan-crafted fabrics. Selected for their exquisite texture, enduring quality, and ethical sourcing, these materials underscore the ethos of sustainable luxury.


Timelessness over trends

Quiet luxury is characterized by its commitment to clean lines, refined silhouettes, and a minimalist color palette. These design principles ensure the longevity of each piece, transcending fleeting trends to become enduring staples of elegance.


Minimalist style

Embracing a "less is more" philosophy, quiet luxury prioritizes the perfection of fundamental forms and structures, steering clear of unnecessary adornments for a pure, minimalist aesthetic.


Discretion over display and attention to detail

Exceptional craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail are central to this philosophy. Every seam, cut, and finishing touch is executed with precision, ensuring each piece offers unmatched durability and comfort.

An invitation to personal style

Quiet luxury empowers personal style exploration, encouraging individuals to select pieces that resonate with their unique essence and make a distinct personal statement.


Quiet luxury caters to those who seek luxury in quality, comfort, and nuance, offering a refined counterpoint to the cacophony of the modern world, a testament to the enduring allure of simplicity and the profound impact of subtlety.




What is the post-apocalyptic fashion style?


In the realm of high fashion, post-apocalyptic style emerges as a profound narrative of survival and resilience. Inspired by visions of a world reshaped by cataclysmic events, this aesthetic embodies a fusion of functionality and avant-garde artistry. It transcends mere clothing to become a statement on endurance in the face of dystopian futures.

Characteristic features of post-apocalyptic fashion include:


Survival-oriented design

The focus on items designed for durability and utility, such as heavy-duty boots and functional outerwear.


Sustainable creativity

Utilizing recycled materials and DIY customization, this fashion ethos speaks to a resource-conscious future.


Dystopian aesthetics

The aesthetic leans heavily on dark, aged appearances to reflect the harsh reality post-disaster.


Protection and defense elements

Incorporating gear such as armored parts, gas masks and goggles meant for defense underscores a theme of preparedness.


Echoes of wanderlust and warfare

Drawing inspiration from military and nomadic lifestyles, the attire is crafted for the modern-day urban explorer.


The strategy of layers

Employing layering and oversized garments offers adaptability and shelter, symbolizing a pragmatic approach to fashion.


Post-apocalyptic fashion thus becomes a canvas for expressing a narrative of endurance and aesthetic ingenuity, marrying functional principles with a distinct visual language.








About the author:

Journalist, copywriter, and author Martha Miklin has been writing and thinking for eigensinnig wien since 2018. Her work gracefully weaves together elements from philosophy, music, literature, art, and psychology, creating a tapestry of thought that is as unique as it is enlightening.




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