Subcultures are microcosms that develop within the framework of an existing culture, often as a result of the norms and rules laid down by that culture. Urban subcultures have been seen to primarily originate in the youth of a country and often gain prominence across all demographics. Music serves as a strong catalyst in the case of subcultures like cyber-punk, emo, metallers etc while others like the hipster subculture draw on history. Whatever the case maybe, studying subcultures is an important sociological effort aimed at better understanding the parent culture that they originate from. A subculture is also a strong reflection of the times we live in since it perfectly funnels the emotions of an entire generation.
But the most elusive bit about studying subcultures is the fact that they are extremely dynamic, so much so that what may be in vogue one year is often replaced with something totally different the next year. This also serves to highlight the highly volatile nature of the times we live in.
As we stand on threshold of yet another year, let’s take a closer look at some of the subcultures that are sure to dominate the cultural landscape this year.
1) Haul Girls –
A term familiar to Youtube enthusiasts, Haul Girls basically takes the concept of binge shopping to a whole new level. It began with a number of young Youtubers going on a shopping spree and then making ‘Haul’ videos that basically show off the purchases. In the span of a few short years, this concept has turned into an entire culture of people going out, buying expensive stuff and showing it off online. The Haul Girls themselves defend it by claiming that it’s not just about showing off, but also about letting viewers experience different lifestyles. Whatever the case maybe, the idea is no longer a zone for girls, more and more guys too are joining in the fun making the term Haul Girls something of a misnomer.
2) Seapunk –
The idea of seapunk basically kick-started as a simple joke on Twitter, which was then made into a Facebook page. And soon, thanks to the eerily symbiotic nature of the Internet and youth trends, it developed into a full-fledged mainstream subculture dominated by turquoise hair, distinct dressing style and seapunk music. What’s really interesting is just how much seapunk has already influenced mainstream music too, a number of singers and performers like Azealia Banks, Rihanna and Taylor Swift have used strong steampunk themes in their videos, forever making seapunk a legitimate subculture.
3) Soft-grunge –
Soft-grunge is the millennium’s answer to the 90s grunge era, and it’s a fairly lukewarm response. While the 90s was characterized by angst and rage against the system, soft-grunge seems to be all about indifference and vanity. It seems to have derived from the indie music festival culture and largely owes its inception to events like Coachella and SXSW. Original grunge music is not such an important part as the clothes, making it seem more of a fashion trend. But soft grunge proponents do seem to have their own music icons too in the form of Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira, Lana Del Rey amongst others. Clothing brands have already caught on to the trend and deliver a range of apparels in the soft-grunge style.
4) Gopniks –
The term Gopnik is basically a social slur used in Russia and other post-soviet countries and usually refers to young, lower-class suburban males who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. In time, these ‘Gopniks’ seem to have developed into a proper subculture, albeit, one characterized by discontent and disrespect for the law. The typical Gopnik will be clad in tracksuits and will often be seen squatting and munching on sunflower seeds. These traits might seem to extremely specific but they do stem from a certain ethos.
5) Cyber Goths –
With the growth of the goth and cyber-punk subcultures, somebody was bound to mash up the two into something else entirely. To the untrained eye, cyber goths might look like your regular goths or punks but the distinctions are there for all to scratch their heads over. Unline traditional goths, cyber goths look to the future and prefer to listen to only electronic music. They also have more neon shades to their typical goth outfits and believe that their style is the true future.