Now that autumn is rearing it’s cosy head once again this year, the dark academia trend is following suit. Many TikTok users have been creating dark academia themed videos. They’ve also been talking about their favourite dark academia books and films. But what actually is ‘dark academia’?

What is Dark Academia?

Dark Academia is a type of aesthetic. It aestheticizes gothic-type universities, writing literature and poetry, and often the study of Ancient Greece.

It romanticises universities like the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and several Ivy League schools. Why? Well, these schools have a prestigious reputation for their higher academia. They also have very gothic architecture on their campuses.

Dark academia fashion is also part of the trend. Plaid skirts, blazers, tweed and shirts are all worn by those channelling dark academia. The trend resurfaces in autumn because of the autumnal fashion sense that comes with it, as well as the darker, colder nights making everything slightly gothic.

What are some examples?

Donna Tartt’s novel, The Secret History, is perhaps the greatest example. The book follows a group of classics students at an elite college in New England and a subsequent murder. Tartt goes into great detail in describing the students’ fashion, their college and their studies.

The Secret History serves as the basis for many trends on the aesthetic. Many TikTok users make edits of The Secret History to aestheticize their page.

Other edits on TikTok include images of rainy days, grand university buildings and prep school uniforms. Some TikTok users dress up in dark academia clothing too.

Other users dedicate videos to promoting some of their favourite dark academia books and films. Several movies include Kill Your Darlings, Dead Poets Society and Mary Shelley. Some trending books are If We Were Villains, by M. L. Rio, and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

To access the trend on TikTok, just type it in the search bar. Soon you will find yourself in a whole new world.

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