Lockdown has sparked creativity in unexpected places, whether it’s movie makers crafting short films from home, kitchen artists testing out innovative new recipes, or people simply rediscovering the simple joy of sketching and painting. 

Expressing yourself through fashion is slightly trickier though – with stores and boutiques closed or much changed, picking up new garments is trickier, and chances are you’d have nowhere to show them off anyway.

There is one exception though – Nintendo’s hit game of life-in-miniature, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The Nintendo Switch game, which launched in March, allows players to create their own fashions and share them online with others, all while living out an idyllic life on a tropical island. Thanks to the game’s multiplayer features, people can even visit each other’s islands and hold impromptu fashion shows.

To celebrate that creativity, Creative Bloq is highlighting some of the best fashion designs players have created in the game. Each week, we’ll look at some of the finest couture that players have put out into the wild, grouped by different themes.

This week, we’re getting a little bit creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky by looking at some of the best gothic fashions that islanders have been creating for Animal Crossing New Horizons.

“Gothic” is a broad category when it comes to fashion though – it’s not all black leather decorated with bats and spiderwebs. While we’d be remiss to ignore that classic dark side of the aesthetic, we’ll also be looking at elements of Elegant Gothic Lolita style, witchy couture, campy Halloween fun, and even a dash of cyber-goth to show the diversity of looks you can add to your virtual wardrobe.

01. Magic & Moonlight

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Conjuring up dreamy visions of fairy tales and warm magic, this look is positively supernatural. Its rich palette of purples and golds gives this outfit an almost royal look, but what really sets it apart is the astonishing level of detail that designer Mia has put into the piece. From the flourishes of golden sequins at hem and cuffs, to the smart collar, there’s real attention wherever you look. 

Mia also uses smart visual tricks to create the illusion of layers to the garment, and contrasts horizontal lines at the waistband with vertical lines of the dress to make the outer layer really pop. Most bewitching of all though is the almost hypnotic lower part of the dress, where those same vertical lines combine with virtual sequins to create a forest of stars – all capped with a gorgeous bow at the rear. This is a look that will really cast a spell over you.

02. Hedge Witch

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This dark creation from designer FancyAlly blends midnight imagery with a touch of natural magic, for a powerful combo. The glow of the moon pendant and the gentle green of the vines really stand out from the black of the blouse and the grey of the pinafore, respectively, while the shades chosen on those parts of the garment ensure that the grey and black don’t blur together. There’s subtle attention to detail wherever you look, too – from the speck of gold at the top of the pinafore, indicating a zipper or clasp, to the smaller flashes of green at the shoulders, this is a look that really sings.

03. Cyber Heart

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Gothic by way of Tron, designer Oshun has put together an elegant but transformative look here. This high-necked gown with full length sleeves combines an almost Victorian flair with undeniably futuristic influences. The trick is in the clash of patterns and colour – the former, with its intricate lines, evokes 19th century elegance, but the latter tricks the eye into seeing circuitry, a motherboard on fabric.  However, it’s the almost skeletal approach to the detailing, all centred on the inverted heart at the chest, that really sells this as a masterpiece of cyber-goth design.

04. Blue Lace Lolita

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Shifting tones, this pastel blue piece from creator Mint is the pinnacle of the “Sweet Lolita” side of gothic fashion. The use of a coat template for this dress allows for a wider skirt, while a keen eye for pixel placement adds to the sense of layering, creating the look of ruffled underskirts that are intrinsic to the style. Up top, the delicate bows, frilled sailor collar, and flourishes across the torso help complete the look – and if blue isn’t your preferred colour, Mint has also created this impressive number in pink.

05. Skele-dress

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From the classic black and orange colour scheme to the campy bone motif, this outfit from designer Ally screams Halloween. The cartoony skull on the chest, so prominent it could double as a superhero emblem, joined by dog bones around the skirt, make clear this is a fun look, but there’s plenty of clever detail tucked in here. The puffy sleeves have intricate banding on them, while the bottom of the skirt uses shading to create the appearance of deeper ripples in the fabric. There’s no trick here – this is a real treat.

06. Gothic Ball Gown/Coat

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Who doesn’t love a good red-and-black colour combo? Luckily, we’re spoilt for choice here, with two matching options again from talented designer Ally. The Gothic Ball Coat is undeniably the more detailed of the two, with its use of chains, buckles, and ornate buttons, but the Gothic Ball Gown is more refined and graceful, with uninterrupted clean lines and the red outer layer draped luxuriously on top of the midnight black dress, with a single locket at the neck. Whichever you wear to the ball, you’ll be making a statement.

07. Goth Jacket

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Mention “goth” to a layperson and this is probably what they’ll picture: a long, black leather coat, a surplus of belts, chunky buckles, studs and rivets for detailing, decorative chains, and a few extraneous holes in the garment. That’s exactly what Maxwell has created here – and it’s fantastic. This is an archetypal goth look, a monochrome wonder that practically begs you to update your Islander’s look with black hair to match. Perfect for playing around with the sadder Reactions in-game. 

08. Kreepy Kawwii Hoodie

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A delightful contrast of gentle pastel colours and spooky imagery here, courtesy of the appropriately named designer Batty. Although the hoodie itself is nice and simple, the outfit pops thanks to its gnarled trees, graveyard seen, and cluster of wispy ghosts – this is a look that tells a story. This pattern is also available on different garments and in alternate hues from Batty’s creator page.

09. Skeleton Dress

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A darker approach the the idea of a skeleton dress, this look from designer Luna combines something close to an actual skeletal structure with fabric detailing for a wonderfully spooky look. Arm, leg, and ribs, and a spine aid the former aspect, while the flow of the dark grey dress layer – which, fittingly enough, looks as if it’s draped over a whalebone hoop skirt – and the trinkets around the belt make this a stand-out piece of fashion. Smartly, it’s not straight black and white – the use of shades of grey gives this almost an animated look, as if it had leapt from the screen of a Betty Boop cartoon.

10. Pastel Goth Lolita

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Who says gothic looks have to lack colour? Designer Lutra didn’t get that message, as this fun and colourful outfit demonstrates. The splashes of colour around the skirt have an almost grafitti-like aspect to them, all wild licks and paint drops. Meanwhile, the narrow belt, marshmallow braid, ice cream scoop sleeves, and bubblegum bow at the back combine with touches of ‘gothic maid’ framing to make this dress look like it’s straight out of a sweet shop. 

Check out the designer’s bold ‘Vivid Goth’ palette swap on the same dress for an even more vibrant combination of gothic influences with strong colour, too!

For details on how to access these designs in your own game, see our handy how-to guide in our first column!

Next page: Summer wear…

Creative Bloq created this content as part of a paid partnership with Nintendo. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of Creative Bloq.