The Rise of the Emo-Rap Aesthetic in Asia
Hip-hop's association with fashion back in the ‘90s can be described as eccentric or in-your-face, always consisting of baggy oversized tees, pants, chains, sneakers and even timbs. As time progressed genres mixed and merged, style and taste became more open-minded. This meant that more rappers wore whatever they wanted without fear of judgement, and one of the styles/genres that emerged as a result was emo rap.
A perfect rendition of the concept - a mix and mash of hip-hop and every school teacher’s nightmare. The variegated style is seen a lot more on emo rap artists like Scarlxrd, Lil Tracy and of course the now deceased Lil Peep. Big gold chains, gold/diamond grill, dark-colored distressed streetwear pieces, painted nails and dyed hair are the makings of a so-called ‘emo-rapper’, ultimately it can be whatever anyone wants it to be.
This trend made its way to Asia establishing itself as a dominant ideal style within the youth market, with brands like Tokyo-based 99%IS- perfectly emulating the punk/goth aesthetic to the Asian consumer. Dark aesthetics combined with grunge eccentric design, the brand displays an iconic take on punk sensibilities. Similarly Xiamen-based fashion designer, Shangguan Zhe and his brand Sankuanz have been on the come up in China, increasing the variety of styles in the region and disproving conformity. Sankuanz is inspired by youth culture and the idea of self-expression, which perfectly fits into the emo-rap fashion scene as the ability to express oneself is one of its most important aspects.