Dark Academia To E-Girl: Which TikTok Subculture Should You Belong To?

Subcultures aren't dead, they're all on TikTok. It may feel as though emos, scene kids and Tumblr girls slowly disappeared from every corner of the internet but they were simply carving out a new niche for themselves over on the video sharing app. In fact, the past year has seen TikTok spawn and nurture an abundance of cool and curious aesthetics and communities. You've no doubt heard of cottagecore, goblincore and cabincore...
For the most part, TikTok's subcultures are defined by their taste in music, cinema and literature. But it's the imagery — in particular sartorial choices and mainly hair and makeup — which creates a very specific and iconic identity, propelling them to viral status. Ahead, we enlisted industry makeup artist Zoë Moore and photographer Simone Steenberg to celebrate TikTok's most imaginative aesthetics through a series of creative yet wearable beauty looks. From e-girls to TikTok witches, which circle do you belong to?
Fairycore takes its cue from cottagecore (an aesthetic inspired by the charming countryside and romance) but the micro-movement is embedded in folklore and fantasy, as nailed by TikToker @darciadele. If faux pixie ears are a step too far for you, think a smattering of sun-kissed freckles, iridescent colours reminiscent of butterfly wings, and heaps of sparkle (or fairy dust, if you will).
TikTok's obsession with the occult has cultivated a congregation of witches — and not the frightening kind. Witchtok will allow you to nurture your spiritual side with positive affirmations, keeping journals to explore lucid dreams and spells which manifest love and success, like TikToker and hereditary witch @clementinekruczynski2. The aesthetic is just as mystical: makeup looks influenced by the colour and texture of crystals, flickering candlelight and an abundance of fauna and flora.
Ever since ABBA joined TikTok and Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" became one of the top sounds, the app's beauty enthusiasts have swapped '90s grunge and Y2K trends for full-on '70s glamour. Blown out waves, beautiful big afros, curtain bangs and bold swathes of pastel eyeshadow reign supreme among glossy lips and layers of bronzer. Embrace your inner bohemian flower child.
The E-girl's natural habitat is online. You might spot her in the wild but it's her internet persona which defines her look, merging anime and emo subcultures. Hair is dyed all the colours of the rainbow, hearts and stars are etched onto skin in jet-black eyeliner, doll-pink blush accentuates the nose and cheeks, and there's always a feline flick that's sharp enough to do some damage.
TikTok's most brooding aesthetic romanticises literature, knowledge and philosophy. Constantly have your head buried in a book? Live for the autumn? You're already halfway there. Dusky, moody hues like burgundy, sepia and burnt sienna lend dark academia its mysterious and cosy charm. Let TikTok's @ba.naan and @khlo.co stir your imagination.
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