Tumblr girl aesthetic – emo reborn?

By Sara Valle-Martínez (top image courtesy of Deva Fernández)

Back in the beginning of 2010, people moved from MySpace to Tumblr, a social media platform in the form of a blog that allowed users to post and reblog photos and texts of all kinds. With the death of MySpace, emo kids were left with nowhere to showcase their music preferences and their dark and gloomy style.

Even though Tumblr opened in 2007, it didn’t gain popularity until 2011. This entailed the creation of the 2014 Tumblr girl – that is, the emo girl reborn. And it’s happening again. 

The classic emo fringe may not be back, but the platform combat boots, band T-Shirts, skinny jeans, pleaded skirts, Converse and coloured hair are.

“I absolutely love it. I was a big fan, especially when I was younger. I grew up with it,” said Maria Majtyka, 21, a full-time student. “I think the [staples] vary, but it’s like a grunge vibe: denim jackets, fishnets, even bandanas at some point.”

The term “emo” comes from the word “emotional”. The urban tribe symbolised a shift in the way teenagers saw themselves, with a more self-aware and meaningful connection to music. Emo teens were all for validating their feelings and expressing their emotions.

“For me music was a big influence,” agreed Deva Fernandez, 30, a transportation coordinator who has a vast repertoire of rock and alternative concert experiences under her belt. “I still wear Vans and skinny jeans. For me, it’s still about the music because it’s what I like and the people I look up to.”

Music festivals like Vans Warped Tour in the USA or Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK were the perfect locations to spot Emos in the wilderness. Now, Ticketmaster is organising the When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas. It’s a good reminder for people that “emo is not dead”.

Deva Fernández and her friends with All Time Low’s member Rian Dawson. Photo courtesy of Deva Fernández.

Planned performances include those from ParamoreMy Chemical RomanceThe UsedJimmy Eat World and Avril Lavigne amongst others. And thus, those who were teenagers back then, are dusting off their hair straighteners and ironing their skinny jeans. Hold the side-swept fringe.

Whilst some youngsters may sneer at these performers in confusion, some others consider these “oldies” relevant again. But is it really still about the music?

“I don’t think it’s about the music anymore. Most of the people who wear band T-shirts like Guns n’ Roses, Metallica and things like this, have never listened to their music,” added Fernandez. “It’s just fashion now.”

The celebrities that are bringing the style to the spotlight now are Megan Fox and even one of the Kardashians. Their connection to rock and alternative music because of their beaus, has pushed them to revamp their wardrobes. And so, the style is back in!

But the origin of the aesthetic does not date back to the 2010s. In fact, some argue that the 80s were a massive influence. Some emo girls and boys even backcombed their hair – hairspray was always at the top of the shopping list.

“It’s definitely regurgitated. I’m not into it, so I don’t really think it’s original. Why would you choose such a boring style? There’s so many other things much more interesting,” said Yong, store manager at Blue 77 vintage clothing.

“Usually trends repeat themselves. There’s a thing that’s like a twenty-year cycle but, as we are using social media more, everything is just much faster. So, all of that kind of gets thrown out of the window and we’re repeating things that happened less ten years ago,” said Ludo Monse, 19, a full-time student.

Ludo Monse’s style is based on Tumblr girl fashion. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

Machine Gun KellyYungbludWillow Smith and Beabadoobee are some of the musical artists who also dress the part. Other performers like Charli XCX and Olivia Rodrigo have incorporated a more upbeat attitude to the aesthetic. So, with the reawakening of Tumblr girl fashion, is emo also coming back?

“That’s definitely going to come back,” said Monse. “You can’t have Tumblr without some melancholic thoughts.”

Link to published story: https://hollowayexpress.org.uk/tumblr-girl-aesthetic/

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