Eoin Brady examines the fashion faux-pas of electro gigs.
Unbeknownst to those who only hear electronic music when Kanye West appropriates it, electronic music, electronica or electro (the less syllables used, the better, but it could be some time before referring to it as “eh” gains popular acceptance) has been getting popular in trendy circles recently.
Acts such as Animal Collective, Battles and Jape are breaking in to the mainstream with increasing ferocity. A little subculture seems to have sprung up around electro, with its own dress code, tastes and social standards. Or is it that it happened the other way round? Did a subculture of floppy-haired waifs jump on the obscure, unfashionable genre and re-invigorate it?
Either way, the chicken found its egg and they have proceeded to form a happy omelette together.
Electro gigs are a bit different to your regular wingey-indie gig or testosterone-driven rock show, and not just because of the beeps and bleeps that make up the soundtrack. People will look strange (or downright frightening if Coppers is your regular spot). The scene has a unique fashion genre, ridiculous to the untrained eye but the norm to those in the know.
An ensemble that has been termed ‘the gay lumberjack’ is one such formulaic style now. Ankle-constricting jeans are teamed with oversized plastic high-top trainers. A check shirt (hence the lumberjack label) and asymmetric hair complete the look. The female take on this get-up isn’t particularly different: if anything, it occupies a place on the sartorial spectrum somewhere between the ‘gay lumberjack’ and conventional girls’ clothes. The cramped confines of the sold-out Justice gig will host a wide foray of both sexes fashion faux pas.
Mercifully, the Nu Rave craze has subsided into insignificance, but unfortunately, as spotted at the recent Crystal Castles gig, neon styles can return with a vengeance (Ting-Tings, I’m looking at you.)
However, not everything that the spectacularly over-rated Klaxons encouraged was wrong. Glow-sticks are a fun part of any evening, but only if their wielders are being facetious. Serious glow-stick users either have taken a lot of something or want people to think they have.
With hip-hop increasingly deriving influence from the electro scene, so too do the electro kids borrow fashion tips from their more urban counterparts. Shutter-shades in all their illogical glory, as made famous by Kanye West, pop up at any self-respecting electro gig. Our female friends also drape themselves in pimped out gold ‘ropes’, carefully combined with an obscure band t-shirt to achieve that ironic, ‘indie-is-so-over’ look.
This being said, not everyone who enjoys trendy electro is consumed with standing out. There will inevitably be the guy in his Converse and beige Topman hoodie, conservatively head-bopping to the beat while his luminous, leg-warmered girlfriend does the ‘space robot.’ Judge him not! He is not an undercover Garda scouting for pill heads; he is merely someone who appreciates the music, which is really what the electro-scene is about.
And so you are introduced to the people you will meet at electro nights. Now that you can identify them and dress like them, you can frequent the Button Factory or Crawdaddy on Wednesdays again, safe in the knowledge that you’re part of a rather trendy omelette.