Why Gen Z likes to dress up as e-girls

Divya Hoon likes to call her e-girl style aesthetic. The 20-year-old fashion student from Noida has been “stuck with” since 2020, when she saw videos online of teens wearing the e-look: hypersexual outfit, brightly colored braids, pink blush on their noses and cheeks, little hearts under the eyes. Think anime meets emo. Soon, Hoon swapped her basic T-shirts and mom jeans for e-girl basics like mesh tops, ripped black jeans, and second-hand corsets.

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E-girls have been around in online gaming communities since the late 2000s. But over the past couple of years, especially after the pandemic, the aesthetic – influenced by K-pop and skate culture – has become more popular among young people, including musical artists like Billie Eilish and Doja Cat, as a way to rebel against the image of social media. – perfect beauty standards. Such is the increase in interest as the Lyst shopping app saw a 16% increase in searches for skirts inspired by the animated show Sailor Moon last year, and a 20% increase in sales of mesh t-shirts.

Dressing as an e-girl online is more liberating than having long hair, flawless skin and flawless makeup, says Delhi singer-songwriter Viepsa Arora, 20. She also likes to create her e-girl avatar. “Conventional beauty seems inaccessible to me. This style makes me confident and pretty. And when you feel confident, you feel more like yourself, ”she says.

Arora insists the trend isn’t entirely new – it’s a modern iteration of the emo and goth aesthetic. “I have been wearing fishnets and eye makeup since I was 13 years old. But it’s definitely become a more permanent part of my personal style now, ”she says.

Like many of her peers, Arora buys essentials for electronic girls from brands like Zara and Urbanic while exploring local markets and thrift stores for unique finds.

For gay rights activist and YouTuber Nishtha Berry, 24, embracing the e-girl trend had more to do with “feeling connected” with herself. Inspired by K-pop artists, she wears oversized sweaters, blazers and shirts, pairing them with a spiky hair fade style, minimal makeup and a single dangling earring. “When I was a kid, my mom made me wear skirts and dresses, and I always felt like a different person in them,” says Berry. “Being an e-girl helps me express myself.”

It also helped her become more comfortable going out. “People assume I’m a guy, which makes me feel a lot safer in public, especially around men,” she says.

However, 19-year-old Vrinda Suri doesn’t like going out with her e-girl look. “It’s just a nice way to express your dark side online,” says Suri, who prefers attention on social media rather than in real life. But Hoon, who has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram, wants to be recognized everywhere and everywhere. With the ambition to become a global fashion influencer, she began documenting her styling experiences, including pairing e-girl makeup with the Y2K aesthetic of the early 2000s. “It gives me the impression. to be in a ’90s romantic comedy. “

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