Sydney youth tribes- meet the SLASHIE


Just read an interesting article on Sydney youth tribes by Sascha Molitorisz where she profiled a handful of Sydney youth tribes. The most interesting part of the article was more the behavioural traits that are now crossing all elements of youth culture.

Last year I wrote abit about youth displaying CHAMELEON like behaviour whereby they dip in and out of different subcultures at any one given time and that they hate to be seen as one dimensional. They have splintered personas and their online identities are carefully constructed to reflect this. It was great to see my thoughts confirmed by Sasha who spoke about ‘shallow membership of many tribes replacing embedded membership of one tribe’. The emergence of social media platforms has meant that the opportunities for self expression have been magnified and kids these days are judged by how ‘interesting and diverse’ their Facebook pages are in terms of the experiences/photos/ events they are attending.

So as Sasha says, ‘tribalism is labyrinthine’, meaning it’s super complex and kids these days belong to many different groups, all at once. Kids today don’t just define themselves as an Emo or Gamer or Skater. This chameleon type behaviour is personified by the HIPSTERS who’s whole subculture is about picking different elements of other subcultures and mashing it together to form their own take on it. It’s all about the resistance to definition.

This has given rise to the SLASHIE – a term created by the boys at Pedestrian TV…a ‘slashie’ is a kid who sees himself as a complete hybrid..they’d call themselves a ‘DJ slash photographer slash skater slash entrepreneur’. Slashies are fluid beings, their self identity is being built around the fact that they lead multi-dimensional and quite spontaneous lives and over a weekend are more than capable of dipping in and out of different subcultural interest groups.

Sasha’s article is posted here and it goes into detail on the following tribes: The Emo’s , Supergeeks, Jock Dollys, Gangstas, Punk Lite, Glamazons, Techno Bohos and the mercurial Hipsters.  She’s hit the surface on urban tribes but if you dig deeper you’ll find alot more sub tribes for example there are many different types of ‘Gamer’ tribes who would form part of the Supergeeks as well as the fact that youth tribalism in Sydney and Melbourne is very much class and ethnic based, like in most big cities. But that’s a post for another day.

Influencer Interview with an arbiter of cool: Meet Erica

Erica partying at Playground Weekender

Erica partying at Playground Weekender

I’m lucky enough to work with a super cool chick called Erica who totally has her finger on the pulse when it comes to youth culture, especially in the music space. We’re collaborating on some cool projects and I wanted to get her viewpoint on one part of youth culture I’m weak on, the world of music. Love your work E.

What do you think are the most popular/interesting youth ‘tribes’ at the moment? What’s emerging?

The ENTREPRENEURS – I’m amazed at how many 20 something’s and younger are starting their own businesses and non for profit projects in really niche areas. They have the eye for the angle and the drive to make it happen. They’re leaders in their peer group and it’s not uncool to be successful

The ALTERNATIVES – tattoos are back and have been in for a while. Think full sleeved tattoos and facial piercings. Interestingly they are actually very ‘normal’ and mainstream. Even the beautiful glam girls are getting in on this scene, thanks to Kat Von D and celebs like Megan Fox.

 The DRESS UP- friends that fancy dress at any given opportunity. The spontaneous fancy dress trend has been emerging for the last few years and continues to grow. You’ve seen them at festivals, at the beach, at mates parties. It’s all about having a laugh and becoming someone else for the night. (i’ll admit my group falls into this category)

What’s the most important thing for a brand to think about/understand when looking to engage with youth?

You need to have a reason to belong and a right to be talking with them.  You need to understand exactly what tribe you’re talking to and the language they speak. If you get it wrong you’re immediately on the outer. It’s all about gaining credibility over time and once you’ve got it to keep following through

Ask yourself what you offer them, what’s your awesome brand experience that they can take away with them and preferably share with their mates….. Some things haven’t changed over the years – now more than ever kids love free shit.

What’s the key formula for putting on an amazing youth event/experience in the music space?

Younger consumers actually embrace brands presence at music festivals and other events, they’re savvy enough to know that hosting big events costs money. What upsets them is when a brand either (a) doesn’t try to engage specific to their environment at all (eg just sticking up  a tent with some promo staff in it) or (b) tries to be too ‘down with the kids’ and ends up getting cast as a try hard.

 There are lots of genres of music popular with youth: 80’s, hip hop, indie, folksy, electro, reggae….what’s going to be big this upcoming summer do you think?

80’s is going to be huge, huger than it already has been with the electro phase that’s been around for a few years . We’re already seeing it with  the success of La Roux – who’ve been upgraded from the Gaelic to the Enmore with fairly limited push from their record company. It’s permeated into fashion, i noticed that at the start of this year the chambray shirt and Degrassi Junior High wardrobe was back….

Aussie Hip Hop continues to go from strength to strength. I was at Splendour this year and the Hill Top Hoods drew the biggest crowds of the festival.

 Do teens/20 somethings belong to many different music tribes at once, or are they fixated on one genre typically?

You’re still definitely more ‘something’ than ‘something else’. Like an indie with an emo slant. Or a Rock chick who likes a side of hip hop and a dash of pop.

It’s all about being a chameleon with musical taste.

With the ipod playlist came the freedom to have all sorts of music genres at your fingers tips- and to proudly share them with the world  🙂