Flaite (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈflaite], FLY-teh) is a Chilean Spanish slang used to define urban youth of low-socioeconomic background by linking them to vulgar habits and crime. The stereotype of the flaite is from a low socioeconomic background, tend to be a delinquent, travel in groups, and like chavs, have a distinct style of dress.
The flaite stereotype wear sneakers such as Nike Dunks and other basketball or soccer shoes. They usually have short haircuts (called "sopaipilla", because it looks like that fried pastry) accompanied by jockey caps. They enjoy wearing flashy accessories, known as bling-bling, as well as tightly worn jeans. Some youth from middle to upper socioeconomic backgrounds follow the fashion style of the flaites but wearing baggy jeans, which is believed by some to be evolving into a subcultural group.
The origin of the word is uncertain. One theory is that it is derived from the Nike Air Flight shoe produced for basketball player Michael Jordan. Because of the shoe's popularity in Chile and the flaites' limited means to obtain it, it was counterfeited. It is the preferred style of shoe by flaites who began to call the shoes Flighters; in Spanish, the pronunciation of the English name evolved into "flaites". People wearing the shoes came to be called flaites. Australian residents of Chile of non-Chilean descent refer to themselves as "guaiteflaites", a pun on the centrifugal residential self-segregation of wealthier Chileans (i.e. white flight), distinguishing themselves from gringos, which generally refers to white North Americans but may be applied to Germanic, Celtic or Slavic people generally.
- Bogan (Australia and New Zealand)
- Dres (Poland)
- Gopnik (Russia)
- Chav (UK)
- Maloqueiro (Brazil)
- Low culture
- Roxana Fitch, Jergas de habla hispana, Ed. BookSurge, North Charleston, 2006, p. 56
- (Spanish) Las Ultimas Noticias Benetton transforma al "flaite" chileno en ícono de la moda
- (Spanish) Red de Televisión Chilevisión La moda de los "Chilean Flaites"
- Chilenismos : a dictionary and phrasebook for Chilean Spanish by Daniel Joelson Pgs. 4-5
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