What is Goblincore: Celebrating The Wild, Dirty, and Ugly

Woman wearing a white goblincore outfit

Goblincore is a lifestyle trend that celebrates nature, individuality, and beauty in even the most unpleasant materials. More than its appreciation that encompasses the unattractive elements of life and nature, people also rave goblincore for its various benefits. With this guide, you can learn how to adopt or merely find out more about this controversial yet popular lifestyle trend.


What is Goblincore?

close-up photo of a goblin
Photo by Boris Krizmanic on Unsplash

Goblincore is a trendy lifestyle that celebrates the wild, dirty, and ugly aspects of life and nature. People also refer to it as crowcore, dirtcore, cottagegoth, and feralcore. Although goblincore comes with various titles, the same culture and manner of living are still very much evident in each one.

Escapism is a popular theme in this lifestyle, as its adopters have the same desire to scuttle to the woods and become a wild, unbothered entity of the forest. This yearning runs deep due to their mutual hate over societal capitalism and strict norms. They refuse to be controlled by and limited to these set of standards. Moreover, they wish to be the sole curator of their world by coming up with their own ideals and goals. 

While goblincore’s aesthetic may be chaotic, wild, and gritty, it is also a form of self-care. Merely doing what you wish and being able to set your own standards can provide a sense of bliss and calm that modern-day living can’t afford to give. True enough, goblincore offers a sense of individuality and freedom that appeals to many—regardless of age, sex, or status. It is a community that instills a love for nature and most of all, yourself.


What is a Goblin?

To define goblincore, one can first try learning about what goblins are. Ancient tales and folklore define goblin as little, green-skinned creatures. Traditionally, people describe them to have piercing voices and ugly features. They are known to collect ‘shinies’ which could be in the form of pretty much anything, as long as it catches their eye. Above all, goblins from folklores are perceived to be ugly and bad creatures who deceive and steal with their goblin hands.

Indeed, it won’t come as a surprise if you are one of the people who say, “I don’t like goblins.” Traditional literature and media truly did depict them in negative ways. Notably, even some adopters of goblincore wish to change their lifestyle’s name and culture associations into something else due to the anti-semitic aspects of goblins in media.

Many people heavily associate goblins with the Jews—portraying them with big moles and hooked noses. Some even go as far as make them subjects of Halloween memes and online trolls. However, due to the rise of goblincore, many people advocate for a more positive and inoffensive definition of what goblins are. True enough, adopters of goblincore refer to themselves as goblins. 

For them, their goblin culture consists of their mutual disapproval for capitalism, collecting unique pieces, and being who they wish to be—without the dictation of societal standards. They refrain from acknowledging the anti-semitic associations of goblins with their way of living. Most of all, being a goblin for them means more than their escapist fantasy—it also grasps a sense of self-care and an accepting society.


Goblincore’s Rise to Fame

Tiktok app on iPhone placed on a white table
Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Adjacent to other developing lifestyle trends, goblincore became popular thanks to various online platforms. This lifestyle was first founded on Tumblr. Goblincore Tumblr posts convey the same gritty visuals through dark forest Tumblr photos. Goth bathroom designs, outfits, and décor on goblincore Tumblr posts also depict the gloomy yet ethereal aesthetic of the lifestyle. Many people have come to love and enjoy such visuals. Eventually, goblincore became popular among the LGBTQ+ community. The lifestyle’s escapist aspects help provide a safe haven and accepting community for queer people who experience mistreatment and judgmental notions from others.

Eventually, goblincore reached various other platforms and obtained more community members. The lifestyle chiefly rose to fame on the video-sharing platform, TikTok. Here, adopters of the lifestyle show where do goblins live and even share goblincore memes—contributing to the trend’s booming online presence.


Goblincore vs. Cottagecore

Aside from goblincore, cottagecore is also one of the upcoming lifestyle trends that people have come to love and adopt. Since they are both relatively new, people confuse these latest living styles with each other. Indeed, goblincore and cottagecore have various aspects that can help you distinguish one from the other and ultimately, be in the know about these latest trends.



Woman wearing a red and white goblincore outfit having picnic outdoors
Photo by Mark John Ajero from Pexels

The evident difference between goblincore and cottagecore lies in their aesthetics. Cottagecore is a dreamy, wistful lifestyle that has lovely pastoral visuals. The cottagecore aesthetic is full of whimsical and forest-related elements such as flowers, fruits, animals, and even bodies of water. In terms of fashion, laidback and pastel-colored clothing are popular among cottagecore adopters. These include flowy Ella Moss dresses, buttoned tops, flower crowns, and breezy skirts that feel cozy while wading through streams or running past fields of fall flowers.

Woman in nature wearing a goblin-inspired outfit and holding a black umbrella
Photo by Ali Karimi on Unsplash

While cottagecore embodies ethereal and dreamy visuals, the goblincore aesthetic displays a much grittier and darker vibe that can be typically seen in Halloween movies. As such, dark goblin clothing is popular among the trend’s adopters. These are paired with warm, earthy colors that became goblin fashion’s go-to tones as well. Goblins also wear plaid patterns, overalls with pockets, and durable boots that go best for having long walks while collecting all sorts of stuff in the forest. Like cottagecore, goblincore also has a lot of nature-related elements in its aesthetic. The difference is that the latter embraces even the components of nature that people don’t typically find pleasing, such as moss, dirt, and mushrooms.

Compared to the typical modern outfits and looks that most people go for, both goblincore and cottagecore convey unique and ethereal aesthetics. Indeed, people who adopted these lifestyle trends can feel an otherworldly feeling due to the unique clothes they wear and unconventional elements that they appreciate.


Admiration for Nature

Woman sitting on a cliff
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

The central theme of goblincore and cottagecore revolves around the peace and pleasure that a person can acquire from being one with nature. As such, adopters of these lifestyles enjoy being outdoors and appreciating natural elements. While the cottagecore community reveres the exemplary beauty of nature, goblincore does this admiration in a much different way.

Goblins’ appreciation for nature encompasses even the dirty, wild, and rather unpleasant aspects of it. While one can see dirt as a dirty or even disgusting natural thing, a goblin sees way past its repulsive features and admires it for giving life to various plants and animals. Goblins also find beauty in similarly unattractive elements of nature such as mushrooms, fungi, frogs, vines, and moss. Due to this rather unique and chaotic aspect, goblincore has been tied with the dark magic aesthetic. This includes collections of animal bones, rocks, and dark, eccentric pieces as home decor.


Escapism and Self-care

Heart doodle against a rainbow-painted palm
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Escapism is also one of the leading similarities between cottagecore and goblincore. These escapist lifestyles both aim to provide a sense of freedom and bliss to their adopters. They evoke the same wistful, ethereal feeling of living in your own different world—away from capitalist societies and rigid social standards. For one, both adopters of these lifestyles are mostly queer or part of the LGBTQ+ society. Being a part of an accepting community lets them escape the judgmental and oppressive aspects of modern societies. These lifestyle trends serve as a haven that lets them be who they wish and do what they want.

More than being lifestyle trends, goblincore and cottagecore are also very much alike in their self-care advocacies. They encourage self-care through their escapism aspects as well. Mundane, unhurried activities such as writing poems or basking in the sun are popular among the cottagecore community. Similarly, goblins love collecting various sorts of shinies and rocks—all while revering the beauty and life that nature has to offer. Through these unplugged activities, one can focus on minding only their peace of mind and overall well-being.

Ultimately, goblincore and cottagecore provide a sense of belongingness through their communities’ mutual aesthetics, ways of living, and advocacies. Their similar, profound desire to escape the busy lifestyle that modern times presented have been manifested in various ways. Whether it is through letting time fly without doing much or fading into the woods to be a chaotic, mystical creature—both lifestyles can help achieve an otherworldly and safe refuge for the weary and tired.


Benefits of Living a Goblincore Lifestyle

Beyond the unique goblin culture and trendy goblin clothes, the goblincore lifestyle also provides other significant advantages. More than being a trend, it is a way of living that gave birth to an accepting community of people with the same interests and ideals. If you wish to adopt this lifestyle, you will be pleased with how you can feel special, safe, and progressive in an unconventional yet delightful manner.

You can experience the best of goblincore living through the following benefits:


Being Nature-Friendly

Photo of a green plant in hands
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Goblins find capitalism revolting—and with good reason. Capitalistic production has significantly contributed to the Earth’s destruction. Due to this economic system, the planet now faces various types of pollution, deforestation, and even loss of biodiversity. That said, taking part in goblincore goes beyond collecting its goth DIY trinkets or adopting its gritty fashion. Revering and taking care of nature is a response that goblins have developed against capitalism’s destructive facets.

Upon adopting this lifestyle trend, you will find that being nature-friendly offers both prompt and long-term benefits. For one, you will feel a refreshing outlook on dropping capitalistic influences and materiality. Learning how to recycle and utilize old materials could help you appreciate the goblin culture and save the environment at the same time.

Your eco-awareness will also thrive as goblincore lets you focus on how to reduce negative impacts on the environment. So instead of going to a heavily-chained department store for your needs, you can simply find and collect old materials to decorate your home or style your clothes. Indeed, this unique yet peaceful lifestyle is fascinating in its eccentric, progressive, and nature-loving way.


Finding Yourself

woman running through a field against the sunset
Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

There is an innate sense of peace in finding one’s self. However, it can be hard to attain if rigid societal standards try to limit what you wish to do and control who you aspire to be. With goblincore, your individuality can make you find a place in the world. Ironically, adopters of this lifestyle achieve this by going against mainstream aspects of modern living.

Finding what you love in unconventional stuff and activities can be truly liberating. Goblin culture offers a sense of freedom in determining what you find beautiful—letting you collect eccentric pieces and wear unique oversized goblin clothes. Adopting this lifestyle means being the primary and sole creator of your own ethereal world. You, alone, will determine what is ideal, beautiful, captivating, and significant—helping you feel a sense of individuality manifestation and attainment.


Goblincore in Popular Media

Goblincore has been a popular topic of funny memes and popular internet trends. Goblin Tumblr posts and TikTok videos made the lifestyle trend garner more public attention and establish a stronger online presence. Before its fame, goblincore’s aesthetic and way of living have also been evident in various shows, movies, and even songs.

Some examples of goblin culture in popular media include: 


“We Want A Rock”

Just by the title of this track, one can already say that it is truly a goblincore­-worthy song. “We Want A Rock” is performed and popularized by the alternative rock band They Might Be Giants. One can interpret this song in many ways. For one, some can perceive it as a response to the capitalist lifestyle that modern times exhibit. The narrator talks about a more bearable manner of living by relishing in prosthetics and string-coiled rocks. Of course, this aligns with goblincore’s culture and lifestyle.

Moreover, goblins are associated with collecting shinies—most of them include shells and of course, rocks. The catchy tune of “We Want A Rock” evokes this goblincore feeling of appreciation and fondness for such simple yet delightful things.


Howl’s Moving Castle

Studio Ghibli films never fail to exhibit an ethereal, mystical feel. One particular Ghibli movie, Howl’s Moving Castle, depicted goblincore’s similar otherworldly world. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 2004, the movie was inspired by a 1986 book of the same title. It features a lot of adventures and fictional creatures that could have you immersed in its unique, magical realm. Indeed, it is one of the best movies on Netflix that you can watch to get a feel of the goblin culture—particularly in terms of collecting shinies.

Aside from its enchanted features, what makes Howl’s Moving Castle an even more goblincore-worthy film is the moving and rather cluttered castle it features. This particular fortress is owned by a character named Howl who was voiced by the talented actor, Takuya Kimura. If you were able to watch this film before, you might be familiar with this iconic fortress filled with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. Indeed, Howl has a penchant for collecting and gathering unique yet extraordinary pieces—similar to what goblins love to do.


“In The Woods Somewhere”

Leave it to Hozier if you wish to experience a soulful and ethereal goblincore state. “In The Woods Somewhere” is a track from the Irish musician’s self-titled album. The song’s lyrics exhibit themes that align with the goblin culture’s ideals and ways of living.

Starting strong with finding one’s self in a forest, “In The Woods Somewhere” perfectly depicts the lifestyle trend’s otherworldly aspects. Moreover, themes of darkness and other natural elements tied to a goblin’s way of living are evident in the track. The lyrics “I found something in the woods somewhere” also evoke a goblin’s sense of reverence and captivation in nature. Whether the narrator found something pleasing or not, surely there is nothing too wild or too ugly for a true goblin at heart.



Goblincore is heavily associated with going absolutely wild and running off into the forest, something that the green-skinned ogre named Shrek is known for. This ogre is a fictional character from the Shrek film which was voiced by Mike Myers. Other actors of the film’s notable cast include Eddie Murphy, John Lithgow, and Cameron Diaz.

Many people know Shrek for his deep desire to live alone in his swamp which is located in the heart of the forest. His home décor? Moss, fungi, and dirt, of course! Moreover, a goblin’s aspiration to escape everyone else and leave troubles behind is very much evident in the beloved character, as well. Above all, Shrek does what he wants without thinking about what others have to say. Shrek may be an ogre, but he undeniably has characteristics that the goblin culture instills in its community.


The Bottom Line 

Due to the stresses of daily modern living, people resort to various ways to escape such troubles. Indeed, we feel so much restlessness in the world. This is especially true with so many expectations and challenges that present themselves day by day. Goblincore serves as a vessel for reaching ultimate self-care while also being a more progressive and nature-loving individual. 

In unprecedented times, there is nothing wrong with pausing and taking the time to take care of yourself. Whether it is in the form of plunging into a tub infused with bath bombs or dropping everything to live in the woods, you can attain self-care in your own special way. Without a doubt, goblincore highlights this important aspect and most of all, the attainment of peace of mind and acceptance for who you truly are.