Hot Emo Summer is here – grab your eyeliner and get into it

My Chemical Romance is touring again. Hayley Williams was on stage at Coachella. Travis Barker has married a Kardashian. That’s right – emo is really hot again.

There have been rumblings of a big emo revival for a little while now.

After all, tickets for the MCR gigs went on sale back in 2019 and the shows have been pushed back thanks to the pandemic, so this is in part due to the hand fate dealt us.

With the ever-nostalgic trend cycle swallowing up the 00s and spitting out the current Y2K trend, combined with the full-scale return of live music, and the celebs doing… all the things they like to do, it feels like the ripples of emo are turning into a tidal wave.

Instead of skinny jeans we’ve got a very angsty Batman covered in eyeliner (swoon) and telling poor Alfred that he’s not his real father while he listens to Nirvana and scribbles in his little diary. Thick-soled Matrix-esque boots you would have been bullied for in school have been seen on everyone from Dua Lipa to Bella Hadid lately. Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox have been out there drinking each other’s blood.

Agustina Panzoni, Depop’s trends and category manager, points out some interesting numbers, saying: ‘We’ve seen listings tagging “emo” have risen by 52%, alongside a 27% spike for tartan and a 40% increase in searches for Dr. Martens – two staple pop-punk aesthetics.’

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Not only that, but they’ve also seen a 17% increase in searches for leather in the last month, as well as rising popularity for Tripp NYC, vintage Hot Topic and Hysteric Glamour.

Serena Lee, Fashion Lecturer at the London College of Contemporary Arts, says this big emo resurgence could partly be down to the ‘cyclical’ nature of fashion trends, and to the fact that the world’s been through an awful lot lately.

‘Trends always come back around but this time the world is recovering from the effects of lockdown, the war in Ukraine and the rising cost of living,’ she explains. ‘The prospects for the next generation are fraught with difficulties.

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‘Fashion and music are an escape for many generations and the 2000s are having a revival. Gen Z is a tech and fashion-savvy generation and many people consume and re-enact 2000s music videos or make up new dances that go viral on social media sites.

‘This time around, an emo summer is a celebration of difference, a lighter and brighter, but no less emotive expression of self.’

Here at Metro.co.uk, we have already explored how the pandemic turned a bunch of us back into angsty, isolated, horny and unmotivated teenagers – living with parents, trapped in our rooms, and suddenly thrust back into society with a little (or a lot) more baggage and a powerful need for impulsivity and hedonism.

Surely it’s no surprise then that emo, a subculture hooked almost entirely on overdramatic catharsis, is rearing its heavily eyelinered head right now?

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Agustina tells us: ‘We’ve emerged from lockdown keen to shed our health and wellbeing innocence, as the days of home workouts and a clean “that-girl” aesthetic dwindle.

‘The “emo revival” has been brewing for the past few years, heavily influenced by a resurgence of pop-punk music tastes, most recently solidified into mainstream culture by the likes of MGK, Yungblud, Willow Smith and Olivia Rodrigo.

‘It celebrates the alternative – a throwback to the Y2K days in which Myspace and Avril Lavigne reigned supreme.’

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Yes, you could absolutely argue that emo, like punk and goth, never truly died, especially among the angsty teens who whom it truly belongs.

Back in 2013, Vice wrote about an emo revival not being a thing because it never really went anywhere, and in 2019, they pointed out that Gen Z was ‘keeping emo alive’. i-D argued that ‘the emo revival is officially here’ nearly 13 months ago, and Grazia implored us to not let emo summer ‘win’ over hot girl summer in 2021.

Why must the two be mutually exclusive? At this point, it’s less of a battle, more of an amalgamation against which there is no fighting. The stars have already aligned – Hot Emo Summer is here, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

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So, what does emo look like today?

Serena says it’s a lot more colourful, and yes, skinny jeans are still firmly out.

‘The early 2000s emo fashion was never about highly-styled summer clothes,’ she explains. ‘In fact, it was the opposite – dark clothes, tight jeans, vintage band t-shirts, black nail varnish and hoodies, finished with vans or converse trainers.  

‘Emo celebrities like singers Willow Smith and Billie Eilish have taken inspiration from some of the original emo artists such as Avril Lavigne and Paramore’s Haley Williams. Fashion houses Schiaparelli S/S 2022 and Celine FW 2022 channelled a progressive emo look for their catwalk shows. 

‘The future of emo style looks promising and there is a lot to be inspired by. Some elements of emo fashion include rainbow-painted nails to match your mood regardless of gender, wide-leg trousers instead of skinny jeans, colour pop hair, a strappy dress over a white t-shirt and studded accessories.

‘To complete the look, followers of the trend might wear a light vintage oversize jacket matched with black Birkenstocks or a classic emo converse trainer.’

I think there is a lot to love about this resurgence, but of course, I’m biased.

While I thankfully don’t try to scrape my curls across my face anymore, basking in what helped me get through my teen years and watching others love it is fantastic.

There’s something so gratifying in looking back and realising it really wasn’t a phase, mum.

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