We Asked Gen Z to Review Millennial Subculture Fashion

From emo to nu-rave, nobody is safe.
Clubbers, Wax On at Stylus, Leeds University Union 2007

Millennials had multiple subcultures to guide them through their wayward teenage years, and almost all of them are now quite hard to look back on without feeling ret hot with embarrassment.

Still, they were important: born out of various music scenes, they birthed some iconic fits, made young people feel like they belonged and, in many cases, gave Daily Mail writers something to complain about.


A lot of Gen Z trends also have their roots in these subcultures – would the e-girl exist today without the bold aesthetic moves of the Blink-182 fanbase circa 2002, for instance? She would not.

I spoke to a load of Gen Zers about the subcultures of the 2000s, and what followed was in part a prolonged roast, and in part an exhibition of Gen Z’s collective ability to use the phrase “it’s giving...” in almost any sentence, regardless of context.


Betty Curse and friend Derek in the crowd at Reading Festival August 27, 2006

Photo: Jo Hale/Getty Images

“Okay, it’s giving full-on Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross, in kind of a fun maximalist way? But the man’s pants are ridiculous. Who decided cropped khakis should be a thing? I do honestly love the dress, though. Mixing patterns is always cool, and it’s a bold statement (I also want to make it clear that being compared to Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross from their A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out phase is NOT a good thing)” Esther, 17

“Oh my god, there’s so much wrong with this. The more you look, the more you see. The bow tie and regular tie is a bold move right out the gate. To be fair, I quite like her dress? But he has lost his sweet mind.” Olivia, 18

“The lost property cupboard if it was run by the religious education department.” – Raj, 19



New rave guy

Photo: Everynight Images / Alamy Stock Photo

“Wow, OK. So I love the cyber theme – it’s atrocious in a sexy way – but I’m not sure about the patterns used? The cape sort of looks like a quilt.” – Eva, 16

The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time

“That jacket is fucking incredible. The glasses are really a statement. Honestly I would wear all of these things today. Even the hoops. So many subtle little details, but so good.” – Esther, 17

“I don’t know why, but my first thought was ‘minted’ from Horrible Histories.” – Joey, 17

“Ron Weasley at Bristol uni” – Raj, 19

Clubbers, Wax On at Stylus, Leeds University Union 2007

Photo: PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“This legit looks like the cast of The Mighty Boosh. It’s like when you’re eight and you try on all of grandma’s fanciest clothes and pretend to be a grown up.” – Olivia, 17

“Huge fan. Love everything about the colour scheme. They’re so co-ordinated – blue and yellow is such an awesome combo, too. I LOVE the middle left’s shirt and makeup. The dude in brown seems like he’s trying to seem like he’s from the 70s with the polo and weird bangs deal, which is cute. Style trends persevere.” – Esther, 17

Quadrophenia directed by Bowie” Raj, 19


Two goths

Photo: Paul Thompson / Alamy Stock Photo

“Kinda cool. Not sure about plaid corsets, though.” – Liam, 18

“It kind of reminds me of if Christian girl autumn met goth? With the little booties and the shape of the jackets? I don’t know.” – Esther, 17


“Oh, I fuck with this wholeheartedly. I cannot criticise any of this - I do pity their hair, though. Stunning. I love them.” – Eva, 16


Two men in Hip Hop / Indie styles, London 2005

Photo: Paul Hartnett/PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“Aside from glorifying serious issues, the absolute worst thing Skins did was normalise clothing like this” – Raj, 19

“I’ve never really understood ripped jeans, if I’m honest. To me, it’s always looked like someone’s tripped and hasn’t had a chance to change. The hair isn’t working for me, either. The one on the right looks kind of cool, though. I’d wear those red shoes. Also, are they posing outside a nursery? Not the choice I would’ve made.” – Olivia, 17

“It’s giving Oli London, but actually Asian. Definitely fits the hip-hop brief, but I’m not sure it looks great.” – Eva, 16

“Roadman vibes x Effy Stonem – the collection” – Liam, 18


Emos and moshers drinking

Photo: Ed Thompson / Alamy Stock Photo

“Eau de la Lynx Apollo mixed with Mountain Dew.” - Raj, 19

“I thought they cancelled Insomnia gaming festival? These lads look like they get their fashion advice from Scott Pilgrim and CEX workers.” – Eva, 16

“You know, this one is actually timeless. There are people in my American high school in our year of the lord 2021 that look exactly like this.” – Esther, 17