The Art Of Today’s Subcultures

words and designs by zoee

Put down your glasses of Long Island Tea and step out of your trendy brunch outfit – the influencer era is very nearly over and dead. Instagram influencers are having gradually diluted effects on their audiences, what with people calling bull on their photo-shopped pictures and ubiquitous workout mirror selfies (we get it, you went to spin). With the community of Instagram being more commercialized, the spaces become decreasingly genuine and everyone’s a critic. Want to upload a photo of that new book you’re reading? Sure, but only after you Meitu your fingers, add like 4-5 filters and photoshop in that latte you had yesterday.

Subcultures are often spun out as a response to the current social climate and these new ones floating around the internet are the Gen Z’s answer to a highly critical and manufactured social media era. New words and styles are being formed everyday by these folks and if you’re feeling bewildered and need some guidance to warm up to these terms (what is sksksks? And how do I pronounce it???). We thought we’d appeal to you old souls with some classic renaissance paintings because you know, #juxtaposition. Yeah, we have fun.


Girl With Pearl Earring 

An E-girl exists at her prime online, validified by her Twitch and/or TikTok presence and emanating a cutesy and wide-eyed allure. The E-girl style is an eclectic mix of pastel, anime-style clothing, with touches of punk and goth.

The e-girl thrives in the irony of the style. This type of semi-ironic sense is apparent in the “e-girl factory” themed videos where a regular looking girl (whatever that means) drinks some “e-girl juice” and transforms into a winged liner, heart stained cheeks and pastel hair sporting girl.

This emphasizes the notion that the subculture is very much manufactured and deliberate. She is that girl that pokes fun at herself before others can do it. The e-girl style is also often not shown around in public, but rather, exists as an identity to be explored in the comforts of one’s room. That’s why e-girls thrive on apps like Tiktok, where the community embraces candid and unedited content.

Speech: uwu / *giggles

Dressing: A sailor moon tee, and pink glitter barrettes

Habitat: Her bedroom

vsco girl

The Birth Of Venus 

Like the e-girl, the VSCO girl finds her community on apps away from the banks of the mainstream. While most of us use the VSCO app mainly to edit our selfies, VSCO girls post content there because the community is a lot more accepting and welcoming than one would find on, say, Instagram.

VSCO personalities also exist beyond the spaces of the app and are masquerading around the interwebs as the metal straw wielding, dewy-faced manic pixie girl. She adopts the slang of whatever white girls are speaking now and often, in a non-ironic way. She’s that one friend you have that carries her Nalgene bottle in her Fjallraven backpack and posts photos of the sunset. She carries her collapsible metal straw on a keychain and Burts Bees her lips after every sip from it. She’s the glowy, effortless girl with vibes that are a nod towards the 90s.

Speech: And I oop / sksksk

Dressing: Scrunchies on scrunchies and Birkenstocks (or crocs if she’s a braver one)

Habitat: Any Brandy Melville store


Portrait of a Young Man in Red

While not a particularly new phenomenon, the sadboi is usually defined as the fuckboi masquerading as a sensitive and emotionally aware guy, His life soundtrack and role model is Drake and is usually slumped over, contemplating about how his latest failed relationship made him grow emotionally.

You’d hardly find him meeting girls at a club because no one can hear his “you’re not like other girls” and “I just relate to your emotional state so much” over that loud bass. The sadboi thrives on dating apps where he can take his time to craft out an emotional and sensitive first message.

Speech: “I know I have a lot of commitment issues and anxieties I’m actively trying to work on and that’s why I can’t commit to you right now”

Dressing: Bucket hats, soft hoodies made out of boyfriend material

Habitat: At the latest and mostly-empty Lang Leav reading with his new beau


Divine Comedy 

Not to be confused with the sadboi, the soft boi is more culturally aware. He would never quote Lang Leav but rather Yeats and doesn’t spend his time on his appearance (or he would have you believe). He sports the disheveled I-woke-up-like-this hair and often clad in his trusty Chelsea boots.

He sneers at the sporty football-playing boys because he simply isn’t like the other guys and has a lifetime membership at The Projector.

Speech: “Have you heard that Aphex Twin song?”

Dressing: Knitted maroon sweaters and Chelsea boots

Habitat: At the latest Wes Anderson film screening

fiat 500 girl

Venus Of Urbino 

Ah, the Fiat 500 girl. She is a British classic and thanks to the weaning influence of Instagram, a plausible soon-to-be has been. She is what you get when you drench someone in a mix of trashy reality TV, Hennessey, Victoria Secret perfume and glitter pumps. The fiat500 girl is always somehow recovering from a hangover, constantly caught up with the Kardashians, and whose career goal is to be famous enough to have her own personalized shopping quote like the good folks of Love Island.

She WILL be that girl on your feed posting her yoga selfies to show off her yoga pants or have a personal discount quote for Daniel Wellington. The Fiat 500 girl is a perfect example of a product of consumerism, and she knows and embraces it too.

Speech: “Use my quote to get 15% off!”

Dressing: A Fashion Nova bodycon dress, falsies and acrylic nails

Habitat: In her Fiat, of course