Your guide to Health Goth, a fashion lifestyle for the Ebola era

As we sat on a bench outside of a coffee shop in post-industrial Brooklyn recently, a friend showed me an image on his phone. It was a black-and-white Adidas flip-flop, the kind you see everywhere in gyms, high schools, and suburban malls, but its sole had been extended in Photoshop six inches, turning it into a kind of platform shoe. The image was strange but oddly familiar. Walking along the sidewalk in front of us was a parade of skinny hipsters dressed in monochromatic, strangely proportioned workout clothing and clunky shoes branded with glaring athletic logos, just like the image. “This is Health Goth,” he said. “Haven’t you heard of it?” 

I admitted that I had not. Health Goth is a lifestyle that combines the traditional Gothic ethos of morbidity with the wearing of tight, black, highly branded athletic gear that fits in at the gym just as well as the club. It’s a countercultural rebellion for an era obsessed with fitness, sterility, and the worship of the body as a temple for a god who outlawed gluten.

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