In the first of a series of “goth life” interviews, I am talking to Emma Jayne Swanton. I’ll be talking to a bunch of people whose style (and let’s face it, life) I admire.

Emma is a freshly graduated artist, environmentalist, feminist and ofc, a firm goth girl. Read on for our chat about style inspo, female friendships and tattoos.

Who or what are your style inspirations?

Anything and everything that inspires me or spikes my interest! At the moment Joan Jett and the movie Heathers (Winona forever!). Colours, scents, sounds… Whatever. What I wear depends largely on what music I’m listening to the art I’m enjoying or the films I’m watching. I recently watched True Romance for the millionth time and I dug out my blue boots because Alabama is an angel. Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World is another influence; I love cool girls who dress for themselves. Clothes are a fun tool for expression. I’m really into pin badges and patches too.

What’s your favourite go-to outfit?

This summer it’s been plaid shirts and paint covered boyfriend jeans. Total scruff. Although I did discover how much I love dungarees recently. Other than that am I allowed to say pyjamas? I’m an indoor kid at heart.

Which brands are you loving at the moment?

I’ve been obsessed with Long Clothing for a while, it’s so witchy. O-Mighty are excellent because you cannot beat slogan tops. I’m also a big fan of UNIF, although wearing colour is a challenge for me. Black or nothing!

How would you describe your art to someone who hasn’t seen it?

Pretty sad. It’s usually about feelings of longing and there are often teeth involved. I only make stuff that resonates with something I’m feeling at that time, so it’s very personal. I cast in bronze and love to screen print. It’s all pretty DIY, which I prefer.

You’re vegan – how much does this form a part of your identity?

A large part I guess, because it’s super important to me. It affects all of my buying choices. I’m a pretty big environmentalist and I love animals. I work at Lush and we’re big on waste reduction and ethical trading, so caring about animals and the planet is a huge part of my day to day. There is nothing more punk rock than caring about the planet. It’s not an elitist thing either, anything that anybody can do to help the world is better than nothing… Everyone has different situations and circumstances.

What do your female friendships mean to you?

Everything! I’m a big fan of girls supporting other girls and building each other up.. Sisterhood rules! I hate the idea of life being some kind of self regulated competition; we gain and learn so much more through mutual support. Girls should be elevating each other. Me and my girl gang have an online chat and it’s the go to place if you need support or love or a kick up the butt! They’re just the best girls and humans that I know. Aaaah, I’m getting all smushy!

Do you ever struggle with your body image? How do you cope with it?

Completely! Who doesn’t? I usually kick it by watching some Buffy and realising I’d rather be a badass than worry about how I look. We live in a society that profits from our self doubt and it really sucks. We are so much more than our bodies. People should be worrying about their minds and their characters. Celebrate diversity!

You have a lot of tattoos – which are your favourites?

That’s so tough! I love them all. I really like my lucky rabbits foot because I’m quite superstitious in some senses. Probably the Buffy Summers I’ve got tattooed on the back of my calf though, she’s a babe. Ruth at Red Tattoo in Leeds is the best portrait artist.

You recently got tattooed by Grace Neutral. Tell me about that.

Being tattooed by Grace is always a good time! She’s an authentic artist, she’s living her life in a very expressive and open way. Stick and poke is a fun way to be tattooed and it heals super quickly. When I got my sternum done I did question my life quite a bit during the sixth hour though. Also she bakes vegan cookies, which is an easy way to my heart.

You can follow Emma on her personal Instagram or her art Instagram here.

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