Unraveling the Gen-Z subcultures that will be important to retailers as TikTok starts to mature and takes more of an active role in fashion.
‘E-Girl / E-Boy is slang that combines the words ‘electronic’ with ‘girl’ or ‘boy’. Generally, the label represents people who have a large presence online and tote a specific style influenced by skate culture, goth, KPOP and cosplay.’Know Your Meme
Enter the E-Girl and E-Boy, an evolution of emo boys and scene queens, influenced by anime and reborn on TikTok and Twitch. Get clued up on the alternative dress style, now sweeping the mainstream and taking Gen-Z by storm.
These subcultures will be important to retailers as TikTok starts to mature and takes more of an active role in fashion. The platform is set to be embraced by the upcoming fashion shows, which are placing a focus on virtual coverage to cater to the vast number of Chinese buyers, journalists and stylists unable to attend due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Reach out to an EDITED retail expert to learn about how to tap into similar emerging profiles like the E-Girl and E-Boy with the world’s largest retail data source.
The E-Girl aesthetic
A melting pot of subcultures
The E-Girl draws on fashion influences from many style tribes. They are touted as the modern day scene queens, but their look is also blended with elements of emo, cosplay, anime, grunge, skater, hip-hop and BDSM. A contrast of dark and light, their wardrobes range from pastel color schemes to dark and grungy aesthetics.
The anti influencer
The E-Girl emerged as an antidote to the heavily-filtered Instagram influencer, challenging the standards of beauty often perceived through social media. While the ‘E’ refers to electronic, according to Urban Dictionary, the name also dates back to 2009 as a derogatory slur for female gamers. It’s been reclaimed with this movement and is now used with pride.
Unlike the VSCO Girl, their wardrobe isn’t made up of a specific set of brands. E-Girls enjoy vintage shopping and buying via resale platforms, where the term is currently attributed to over 70k items on Depop.
They’re building a brand
With 800 million monthly active users worldwide, TikTok is an enticing platform to achieve viral success. E-Girl’s are native to the platform and are purchasing items specifically for their video aesthetic.
The E-Boy aesthetic
They’re digitally native
You’ll find this cohort on TikTok in a clip backed by Mac Demarco’s ‘Chamber of Reflection’ showing how he transforms from an ‘ordinary boy’ into an alternative E-Boy. Or he’ll be trying to woo E-Girls by lip syncing to Billie Eilish while rolling back his eyes and biting his lips. On TikTok, the hashtag #eboy has over 100 million views while Instagram has over 38,000 posts tagged with the term.
They’re not afraid of makeup or accessorizing
E-Boys champion gender fluidity and are comfortable incorporating beauty into their aesthetic with black nail polish, eyeliner and shapes like heart stamps under the eyes. Haircare is also important here as the E-Boy is known for his flopping lock.
Jewelry has always been part of the emo boy wardrobe. Now, instead of ear stretchers and snake bite piercings, singular earrings and accessories adorned in chains are must-haves.
Skating inspirations are key
Like the E-Girl, the E-Boy aesthetic is a melting pot of subcultures, drawing influences from many style tribes. In addition to evolving from the emo subculture of the early-mid 00s, nods to 90s grunge are of note here with Thrasher tees an essential part of the uniform.
Gaming is important
A key activity for E-Boys who are also present on the live streaming platform Twitch. Their love of gaming influences the relaxed, oversized silhouettes in their wardrobes, differing from the skinny jeans synonymous with their emo and scene predecessors.
Product trends to buy into
As E-Girls love nostalgia, chokers are a great way to include ‘00s accessories at entry-level price points, where new arrivals are up 26% YoY in the US. Chains or black leather styles with charms or O-rings are styles commonly noted on TikTok
Thanks to the success of puff sleeves, sheer fabrications have been a success across the US and UK, as new styles are up 18% and 91%, respectively. Popularity can be seen Update long-sleeved tops with netting and merchandise layered under crop tops or band tees to build a story for the teen customer.
Then, drawing on both nostalgia and anime influences, tartan and plaid mini skirts are a key piece in the E-Girl wardrobe. Currently, the US has seen more new styles with a 104% increase YoY.
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The studded belt was an essential accessory for emo boys, paving the way for chains to enter the mass market. Not just for belts, this detail can also be incorporated into jewelry to further resonate with this subculture at an entry-level price point.
As one of the most accessible items to buy into to capture the E-Boy aesthetic, earrings arriving in the US and UK are up 26% and 51% YoY, respectively. Zara and Topman currently offer the largest selection of earrings categorized for men. To emulate the E-Boy aesthetic, invest in singular earrings or mixed packs with crosses, daggers, small hoops and spikes.
With the emphasis this cohort places on gaming, relaxed trouser styles are essential, shifting away from the super skinny silhouettes favored by the emo boy. E-Boys are tucking joggers into combat boots and, like the E-Girl, checks are a popular print. The US and UK are currently seeing a 68% and 21% increase in new plaid jogger styles.
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