Alternative Subcultures At Chatham

Alternative subcultures divert from mainstream fashion and politics, because of this being alternative or “Alt” has become popular amongst teenagers.

The importance of music, politics, and fashion sense varies in subculture. Many teens find alternative subcultures appealing because of how it goes against social norms and gives them a safe space to express their identities.

Punk is often considered the first alternative subculture. Punk began in the late 1950s to early 1960s, often being called “Garage Rock” or “60s Punk.” Punk beliefs rely heavily on anti-capitalism, individual liberties, and upcycling. This subculture may be particularly easy for students to partake in due to the DIY-nature of the culture. 

Punk fashion tends to consist of battle jackets, spiked hair, and ladder laced combat boots. This may vary from each punk subculture. The most notable ones are Garage Punk, Crust Punk, Punk Rock, and Hardcore Punk. 

Battle Jackets are a, usually jean, vest or jacket with homemade pins and patches. Ladder lacing, or lace code, is a specific style of lacing with certain colors of laces to represent different beliefs. 

The most well known subculture is goth. Much like punk, there are numerous kinds of goth, such as Nu Goth, Mall Goth, Trad goth, romantic goth, etc. Goth as a subculture began in London during the post-punk movement of the 1980s. 

Goth fashion tends to be eccentric with a lot of dark and dramatic elements. Goth is heavily focused on music. The politics of this subculture tend to focus on individuality, creativity, cynicism, and a dislike of social conservatism. 

 Most Goths believe that to be goth you don’t have to dress the part as long as you still listen to the music and follow the politics. 

Grunge originated in Seattle in the 1980s as a more mainstream and socially accepted bridge from post-punk and heavy metal. 

Grunge politics tend to focus on anarchical distrust of authority, support of women, fighting gender norms, and tolerance of being different from society’s standard view of how people should dress.

Grunge fashion tends to be more laid back with a relaxed style. Many people have loose broken-in clothing such as Doc Martens, flowy skirts, distressed blue jeans, band tee-shirts and flannel as an accent. These clothes can be easily obtained by students from a local thrift store. 

Emo came to arise in the 1980s as an off-shoot of Washington, D.C’s hardcore punk scene. Emo as we know it today, however, became popular in the early 2000s.

Emo politics focus on individual emotional expression, being a loner, and “sticking it to the man” so to speak.  

Emo fashion is associated with layered and dyed hair, skinny jeans, band t-shirts, and numerous studded or grommet belts. Many emo kids also wear knee high converse and paint their nails black. 

Scene originated in the early 2000s from Emo. The term scene became popularized through the use of “Scene Queen,” which had originally been used in a sexist manner, but was reclaimed by scene kids. 

There are numerous different eras of Scene, such as MySpace Scene, Youtube Scene, Tumblr scene, and My Digital Escape Scene. Scene outfits tend to include Tutus, skinny jeans, neon-colored fishnets, fingerless gloves, brightly colored tights, kandi bracelets, and extreme side parts with excentric hair extensions.  

Scene politics tend to revolve around hyper-feminism, breaking gender norms, and breaking social norms. 

Students may find it fun to express themselves through this more upbeat subculture. 

E-Kids, most popularly known from E-girls, is a gender neutral movement that originated in the late 2010s on TikTok and Tumblr.

E-kid fashion includes pleated skirts, oversized pants, oversized sweaters, oversized or tied up t-shirts, over-the-knee socks, leg warmers, kandi bracelets, brightly colored strands of hair, and “cutesy” or bright makeup. Dyed Mullets, bobs, and pigtails are notable hairstyles amongst e-kids.

E-kid politics are centered around anti-conservatism, fighting gender norms, hyper-feminism, diversity, anti-ableism, and movements such as Black Lives Matter.

E-kids are the most common to see nowadays, as it is the most recent subculture.