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What is a Scenester?

By G. Melanson
Updated May 23, 2024
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Scenester is a slang term used to describe a person who deliberately attempts to fit into a specific cultural scene based around music, film, art, or another genre. Also referred to as a scene kid, a scenester is known for following the fashion trends, preferences, and attitudes of their peer group in the larger scene as a whole.

Like the punk movement of the 1980s, the scenester movement is also associated with a distinct fashion and overall look. However, unlike the punk counterculture, which used ripped clothing as a sign of political protest against capitalism, scenester fashion is generally considered to be a form of pastiche in comparison, lacking the purposeful statement of punk fashion. The American Apparel brand is a popular choice amongst many scenesters, as well as other 80s style clothing, such as black and white checkered or striped patterns and ironic t-shirts. In recent years, pop art makeup and hair has also become associated with the scenester crowd, mixing and matching bold colors such as electric blue, red, and purple.

Social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook have aided scenesters in keeping updated on the scene and meeting other like-minded individuals. Social networking particularly assists the smaller, Indie scenes in promoting the latest music, art, and cultural events typically attended by a scenester.

One faction of the scenester movement is the straight-edge lifestyle, often adopted by a person who enjoys a specific cultural scene, but prefers to refrain from some of the practices which may accompany it such as drugs, alcohol, or promiscuous sex. A straight-edge scenester will sometimes self-identify with a belt or other article of clothing marked with an X or the number 24. The straight-edge movement and self-identification is thought to have originated with underage bands playing in venues that denied them access to alcohol, and consequently marked anyone under the legal drinking age with an X on the back of the hand. Today, there is sometimes tension or exclusion amongst scenesters and straight-edge scenesters, along with “wanna-be” scenesters who may not be familiar with the music or other genre associated with a particular scene, yet often attend its shows and events.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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