Scene (subculture)

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American scene kids, mid to late-2000s

The scene subculture is a contemporary subculture which has been common in the United States, Europe and Latin America from the late 2000s until the mid 2010s. People (most often in their teens to 20s) involved in this style are called "scene people," "trendies," "scene kids," or sometimes "scenesters".[1]

History and evolution of fashion[edit]

Origins (late 1990s to early 2000s)[edit]

German girl wearing pop punk fashion, associated with the early European scene subculture

The scene subculture began in United Kingdom during the late-1990s when some members of the chav subculture began to experiment with alternative fashion,[2] and took fashionable characteristics of indie pop, emo,[3] rave music, and Japanese Visual Kei style. Due to the internet, especially fashion and makeup tutorials on YouTube, scene fashion had spread to America and Australia by the mid-2000s.[4] The fashion originally included typical pop punk clothings like tripp pants, stripes, tartan, spiky hair, Chucks, Vans, and trucker hats derived from grunge and skate punk fashion.

The name was originally derived from "scene queen", a derogatory term within the 1970s glam rock scene for any heterosexual musician who pretended to be gay and later applied to poseurs within the UK goth, heavy metal and punk subcultures.[5][disputed (for: blatant nonsense)  ] By the 2000s, this term was replaced with "scene kid", later shortened to "scene." It was widely used by members of the American skater subculture to put down younger hangers-on viewed as being more interested in alternative or designer clothes than skateboarding.[6] Later, "scene queen" itself was adopted by leading female members of the modern subculture who were unaware of its original meaning, like supermodel Audrey Kitching.[7][8]

Evolution (mid–late 2000s to present)[edit]

Scene look with stretched ears.
Scene girl with short hardcore punk inspired hair

By 2008, the scene subculture had become a common sight in Britain and the US, superseding the earlier emos, goths, skater subculture, and Moshers.[9][10] By this time, the fashion evolved into androgynous, matted, flat and straight hair sometimes dyed bright colors, drainpipe jeans,[11] cartoon print hoodies, shutter shades, promise rings,[12] checked shirts, and lots of very bright colors.[1] Scene girls often wear thick eyeliner.[1] The fashion was influenced by the fashions of emo, preppy and glam.

It's stylistic origins are from japanese Visual Kei and styles seen on Harajuku Bridge. Mainly sub genres of Visual Kei such as Kote Kote Kei, Oshare Kei and Decora Kei helped Scene to develop hairstyles, accessories and makeup. Users from Social Network site Myspace started to upload Selfie photos showing hairstyles with dyed hair and spikes, black skinny jeans, heavy silver necklaces, heavy makeup and flashy or black T-Shirts. At first this new trend was attributed to singer and fashion designer Jeffree Star, being considered something original, but sooner many blogs and YouTube videos started making comparisons between Scene and Visual Kei. For example, many of the hairstyles used by Scene Kings and Scene Queens were at first used by members of japanese bands like The Gazette (band), Dir En Grey, X Japan, Girugamesh and An Cafe. However, the style was still considered as "unique" and even influenced bands like Black Veil Brides, Falling In Reverse, Blood On The Dance Floor and Escape The Fate.

In some parts of the United States, in particular California, scene kids incorporated elements of hip-hop, emo, preppy, and indie fashion. During the early 2010s, popular clothings included skinny jeans, trucker hats, Nike shoes, mismatched neon green, fluorescent yellow or hot pink socks worn with sneakers or Sperry Top-Siders boat shoes, 2fer and layered shirts, tees and polos, Vans, Levi's 501 jeans,[13] Dickies shorts, pocket watches,[14] flannel shirts, thin ties, Chucks, Keds, vintage tees,[15] plain tees with contrasting edging, and Vans.[16] Shirts and hoodies with messages such as "cool story bro" or the logos of music such as Blood on the Dance Floor, Brokencyde and Jeffree Star became popular among scene kids.

By 2012, many scene kids had abandoned the cartoon print hoodies, skinny jeans and studded belts in favor of a more hardcore/skate punk look with wifebeaters, plain hoodies, combat boots, Vans, tapered jeans, and stretched earlobe piercings,[17][dead link] except in parts of Latin America, like Fortaleza, where late-2000s scene and emo fashion remained common.[18] Short hair replaced the androgynous styles of the late 2000s, with many scene kids opting for messy cropped hair with colors dyed in, or adopting the Hitler Youth haircut associated with indie kids and the contemporary skater subculture.

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Scene has often been confused consistently with emo.[1][2] Many people involved in the emo style have accused scene of ripping off emo.[1][2] Music associated with the scene subculture, including Brokencyde and Blood on the Dance Floor,[19][20] have received lots of criticism for their music and were major controversies in 2009 or the 2010s. For example, Brokencyde is generally panned by critics. contributor Michael Swaim said the band sounded like "a Slipknot-Cher duet".[21] British comic book writer Warren Ellis considered Brokencyde's "FreaXXX" music video "a near-perfect snapshot of everything that’s shit about this point in the culture".[22] A writer for the Warsaw Business Journal attempted to describe their music: "Imagine an impassioned triceratops mating with a steam turbine, while off to the side Daft Punk and the Bee Gees beat each other to death with skillets and spatulas. Imagine the sound that would make. Just try. BrokeNCYDE is kind of like that, except it also makes you want to jab your thumbs into your eyeballs and gargle acid."[23]

The New Musical Express stated in a review of I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!, that "even if I caught Prince Harry and Gary Glitter adorned in Nazi regalia defecating through my grandmother’s letterbox I would still consider making them listen to this album too severe a punishment."[24]

August Brown of the Los Angeles Times writes:

"This 'Albucrazy'-based band has done for MySpace emo what some think Soulja Boy did for hip-hop: turn their career into a kind of macro-performance art that exists so far beyond the tropes of irony and sincerity that to ask 'are they kidding?' is like trying to peel an onion to get to a perceived central core that, in the end, does not exist and renders all attempts to reassemble the pieces futile."[25]


A girl with pink-dyed hair wearing clothings derived from emo, indie pop, and hip hop fashion

During the early 2010s, several governments have proposed banning scene and emo fashion as antisocial, and a corrupting foreign influence over the youth. Middle Eastern Islamists believe the tight, brightly colored, scene clothing is immodest and, when worn by men, a sign of homosexuality. In Gaza, teenage boys who were wearing skinny jeans have been arrested and beaten by the police, and forced to have their hair cut.[26] Scene and emo girls have also been threatened with jail, because their brightly dyed hair flouts Islamic female dress codes.[27]


Brazilian pop group Restart, well known for wearing brightly colored scene or "Colorido" clothings.
Breathe Carolina are an example of music that is involved in the scene subculture.

Often the scene subculture has been associated with emo, post-hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, electronica, pop punk and indie rock. Some groups and artists in music associated with the scene subculture include Brokencyde,[28] Blood on the Dance Floor,[29]Dot Dot Curve,[30] 3OH!3, Scene Kidz, Breathe Carolina,[31][32]Jeffree Star, Millionaires, and Design the Skyline.

In Latin America, scene clothing and androgynous hairstyles are often worn by teenage fans of bubblegum pop groups like Restart.[33] In response to the (sometimes violent) backlash against emo kids, especially in Mexico, teenagers of both genders began wearing bright colors and cartoon prints, rather than black.[34] From the late 2000s until the mid 2010s, these fans, known as Coloridos, were a common sight in northern Brazilian towns like Fortaleza.[35]

In other media[edit]

  • Wyldstyle, a character from the 2014 Lego movie, wears a typical brightly colored pink and blue scene hoodie. Her hair, with long bangs, electric blue streaks, and small ponytail, was often sported by scene and alternative girls during the early 2010s.[36]
  • Some teenagers wearing identifiably scene clothes and hair with brightly dyed bangs appear as background extras in the Japanese segments of Babel.


  1. ^ a b c d e Caroline Marcus "Inside the clash of the teen subcultures" Sydney Morning Herald 30 March 2008
  2. ^ a b c "The Scene Kid Subculture vs. Emos – News Article". 29 March 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Grant Woodward Finding Emos ...and goths, moshers and scene kids Yorkshire Evening Post 9 March 2007
  4. ^ Marina Yakhnis "'Scene kids' will destroy democracy" 14 December 2006 The Times-Delphic
  5. ^ Robert Urban, Robert Urban. "Ragged Blade Reviews: Queen's Freddie Mercury and his Legacy" Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  6. ^ Shreddin' it up (2008), page 145
  7. ^ Audrey Kitching's website.
  8. ^ Audrey Kitching: Fashion disaster.
  9. ^ "Switch". BBC. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Travis Haight "New Haights: Scene kids ought to receive a crash course on their group" 23 May 2007
  11. ^ "Apparel". Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  12. ^ ^ a b Haenfler, Ross (2006). Straight Edge: Hardcore Punk, Clean Living Youth, and Social Change (p. 11). Piscataway: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-3851-3
  13. ^ Levis 501s
  14. ^ Pocket watches
  15. ^ Farah Averill. "T shirt trends". Retrieved 2012-01-21. 
  16. ^ "Vans". Retrieved 2012-01-21. 
  17. ^ Fashion (2011-01-12). "Hardcore punk fashion". Retrieved 2012-01-21. 
  18. ^ "Adolescence, 'emo' culture and health: the viewpoint of Fortaleza's teenagers". Adolescência e Saúde magazine, UERJ (Rio de Janeiro State University). Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  19. ^ "Blood on the Dance Floor at Nile Theater, 4/5/2012". Phoenix New Times. April 6, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Blood on the Dance Floor Discuss Jesus and Allegations in New Song". Music Feeds. April 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ Cracked article
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Tech Eye: Fresh ideas, sour tunes". Warsaw Business Journal. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  24. ^ Album Review: Brokencyde - 'I'm Not A Fan, But The Kids Like It!'
  25. ^ LA Times review
  26. ^ Gaza hairstyle crackdown
  27. ^ Emo girls arrested
  28. ^ Brokencyde | Biography - AllMusic
  29. ^ Evolution - Blood on the Dance Floor - Allmusic
  30. ^ "Review: Dot Dot Curve :) - Everyday is Halloween EP". Change the Record. August 9, 2009. 
  31. ^ POZ Review: Breathe Carolina - RELOADED - Property of Zack - Aug 30 2012]
  32. ^ "Review: Breathe Carolina - Hello Fascination". Change the Record. August 20, 2009. 
  33. ^ Colorido music
  34. ^ Emo bashing in Mexico
  35. ^ Adolescence and Emo
  36. ^ Lego Movie

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]