What is an Eshay and how to spot it in Australia

More and more young Australians are embracing life as an ‘eshay’, causing havoc in train stations and shopping malls, while proudly donning fanny packs and mules.

The eshay movement has gained traction across the country with its teenage members identified by their matching designer sportswear, Nike TN sneakers and generally menacing attitude.

While the more hardened eshays engage in muggings, robberies and threaten other young people, most seem to wander the streets aimlessly.

TikTok has helped some teens show off their eshay behavior, posting videos of themselves brawling with members of the public and using drugs.

More and more young Australians are embracing the ‘eshay’ life, causing havoc in train stations and shopping malls, while proudly donning fanny packs and mules

The eshay culture has gained ground in Australia with gangs in almost every state

The eshay culture has gained ground in Australia with gangs in almost every state

Many eshays take to social media to show off their chaotic antics

Many eshays take to social media to show off their chaotic antics

Although they managed to create their own questionable uniform in the form of baggy sweatpants, shorts and polo shirts, the eshays also developed their own language.

Some scramble the words and put “ay” at the end in a Latin pig form. ‘Eetswa’ means ‘soft’ and ‘cold’ becomes ‘illchay’.

The term eshay is similar to the British expression “chav” and can be interchanged with “lad”, which in turn sometimes becomes “adlay”.

‘Eshay’ may have started as ‘eshay adlay’ – pig Latin for ‘he is a boy’ or be related to ‘sesh’, during a prolonged period of drug use.

The Eshays are said to have spread from Sydney’s downtown graffiti scene in the 1980s through the Housing Commission estates and into the suburbs.

Teenagers embracing the eshay culture were mostly from lower socio-economic backgrounds, but the movement was also picked up by private school boys.

Favorite brands for fashionable eshay include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste, associated with Nautica, Adidas, Under Armor and Ellesse.

The Eshays are said to have spread from Sydney's downtown graffiti scene in the 1980s through the Housing Commission estates and into the suburbs

The Eshays are said to have spread from Sydney’s downtown graffiti scene in the 1980s through the Housing Commission estates and into the suburbs

The movement is popular among young Australian teenagers

The movement is popular among young Australian teenagers

Eshays are known to hang around train stations

Eshays are known to hang around train stations

Sydney rapper Kerser is pictured.  Kerser influenced the eshay movement with his music

Sydney rapper Kerser is pictured. Kerser influenced the eshay movement with his music

In southeast Queensland, it was the Northside Gang that wreaked havoc on many residents.

The group of eshays is known for presenting its rebellion on social networks, posting videos of wads of cash and drugs.

Their rivals are those of the Southside Gang, also known for broadcasting their behavior, posting images of them attempting to steal cars.

In Sydney, the movement was further fueled by Mount Druitt-based drill rap group OneFour, famous for their song “Shanks and Shivs”.

Three members of the group have been jailed, including two for a violent assault in a hotel room near Rooty Hill in 2018 that left two men unconscious.

Whatever the pattern of urban teenagers with bad haircuts wearing Nike TNs and fanny packs over their shoulders, they seem to outgrow the suburbs

Whatever the pattern of urban teenagers with bad haircuts wearing Nike TNs and fanny packs over their shoulders, they seem to outgrow the suburbs

In January, a young ‘eshay’ with a mule threatened to hit an adult on a Melbourne train, before claiming he ‘possesses Frankston’. A bystander filmed the boy, who appeared to be around 13, trying to bully – or ‘condemn’ the man (pictured)

Fellow Sydney rapper Spanian has also done wonders for the eshay subculture and is seen as the poster child for the disturbing teenage trend.

The controversial entertainer is known for speaking candidly about his life of crime, imprisonment, drug addiction and growing up in downtown Woolloomooloo.

Many consider the Spanish to be one of Sydney’s “original” eshays.

Notorious Sydney rapper and convicted felon Spanian has made a name for himself in the world of eshays

Notorious Sydney rapper and convicted felon Spanian has made a name for himself in the world of eshays

Rock it!  Jacob Elordi (left) is the latest Australian actor to succeed in Hollywood.  But over the weekend the Euphoria star, 24, proved he's hanging on to his roots by showing off his local fashion

Rock it! Jacob Elordi (left) is the latest Australian actor to make it in Hollywood. But over the weekend, the 24-year-old Euphoria star proved he’s holding on to his roots by showing off his local “eshay” fashion in a video shared to TikTok on Sunday.

Recently, Australian actor Jacob Elordi was spotted in an outfit that some social media users compared to an eshay.

The Euphoria star was spotted chatting with a friend in Byron Bay last week, sporting a slung fanny pack, loose shirt and cream bucket hat.

Even if Australians have never heard of the term eshay, chances are that while waiting for a train or bus, or even walking in a local park, they have come across one.

How to spot an eshay

The Eshays wear Nike TN sneakers with polo shirts, puffer jackets, sweatpants or baggy shorts and baseball caps.

Favorite brands are Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste, associated with Nautica, Adidas, Under Armor and Ellesse.

Some eshays scramble the words and put “ay” at the end in a latin pig form. ‘Eetswa’ means ‘soft’ and ‘cold’ becomes ‘illchay’.

The hardened eshays engage in muggings, robberies and threatening behavior against other youths, but many seem to wander the streets aimlessly.

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