Meet the E‑Gees

Ari Versluis Ellie Uyttenbroek Exactitudes

Volume 4 Issue 001: The style movement sticking two fingers up at the influencers who saturate Instagram today.

Arti­cle tak­en from The Face Vol­ume 4 Issue 001. Order your copy here.

Dutch photographer Ari Versluis and people profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek have been documenting global style and subcultures since 1994 via their Exactitudes portrait project. A simple idea that manages to avoid looking predictable two decades later, Exactitudes straddles the line between street style documentary and anthropological study.

The pair cut their creative teeth capturing gabber in their hometown of Rotterdam, back when everyone was listening to hardcore dance music and Australian L’Alpina tracksuits were the look du jour. But things have changed since then. Thanks to the eclecticism-enabling power of the internet, scouting out style purists isn’t as simple as it once was.

The individuals in Versluis and Uyttenbroek’s work are cemented in fashion history via portraits arranged into three-by-four grids. Despite the identical poses employed, their nuances remain front and centre. It’s not about people losing their identity or their individuality,” says Uyttenbroek. Each study shows 12 people who we think wear it well. The people who’ve made an effort, not those wearing a commercial look.”

Versluis and Uyttenbroek’s latest study zooms in on E‑Gee, a style movement first popularised by E‑Boys and E‑Girls on TikTok, before making its way on to Instagram. They prefer to be referred to as E‑gees, characterised by their ability to mix alt-aesthetics – think skater fits, late 1980s grunge, goth make-up, Hello Kitty naivety, punk jewellery and Harajuku eccentricity, all packaged into one cute emotional-fierce-feisty look. There are so many ingredients,” says Uyttenbroek. But for me what’s most striking about it is its eclectic feel.”

Mirroring elements of style tropes from the not-so-distant past, E‑Gee respectfully nods to its precursor – the emo aesthetic adopted by mid-2000s MySpace kids – while sticking two fingers up at the cookie-cutter influencers who saturate Instagram today.

Ro, 16

What influences the way you dress?

I mainly get inspiration from my friends. Everyone dresses so nice. We all steal bits of each others style. I go to thrift stores. I’m really, really broke so I customise a lot of my clothes and I repurpose loads of my parents’ old clothes. I watch a lot of anime too and I get inspired by that. This isn’t my only style. Some days I wear dresses, some days I dress like a grandma, it’s not always black and chains. I like to mess with it.

What kind of music are you into?

Witchy music. Purity Ring, Florence and the Machine… Music that gives you the feeling that you’re in a forest with fairies.

Sam, 16

Where do you shop?

I don’t ever shop online. I shop in Shoreditch a lot and sometimes in Whitechapel, because they have really good cheap vintage shops.

What kind of music are you into?

I like Soundcloud rap and emo rap. People like Little Peep and ZillaKami. I also really like punk music and that really influences my style. I have two friends who listen to the same sort of music and we have similar style, but we’re all unique. I spend a lot of time on Soundcloud and Spotify searching for new people. And I spend a lot of time on Instagram and on fan pages having conversations with people. Music is a big part of my life.


Who’s the person that’s influenced your style the most?

Lenny Kravitz has inspired me more than anyone, but my style is way, way more 2019 than his ever was. So it’s my take on that kind of thing. A lot of my friends are little hypebeasts and high-fashion nerds to the max. They’re like Oh Raf, Wang, Rick…” but we dress similar in some ways, some labels. But style wise, I don’t know that many people who have the same style as me.

What kind of music are you into?

I make alternative hip hop – quite dark shit – somewhere between indie and acid house. But I’m into everything, I could listen to Bon Iver one day and Aphex Twin another. One day I might put on Miles Davis or Aretha Franklin. I listen to everything.

Hair and makeup Liz Martins at Eighteen Management using BUMBLE & BUMBLE and GLOSSIER, Production Rosanna Gouldman, Photography and lightingassistance Peter Butterworth, Casting Joni Casting, Casting assistance Wisam Masri and Amanda Jiang, Production management Katherine Bampton

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