Aesthetics Wiki

Nu-Punk emerged in the late 1990's and came to prominence in the early 2000's, primarily in the Chicagoland area and New Jersey, but later spread to other regions. It's generally much less overtly political than other punk genres and tends to focus more on general themes of personal struggle, feeling downtrodden, and having a good time, not a long time. The Fest, a musical festival in Florida, was/is a major hub for Nu-Punk. Riot Fest was, and to some extent continues to be, another hub.

Note: the author of this article came up in the Chicago Nu-Punk scene, so she apologizes for the overly Chicago centric aspects of this article. The hope is that people from other major Nu-Punk communities can contribute information on aspects of the aesthetic and scene in their regions.


Both visually and musically, Nu-Punk tends to show it's rust belt, working class, decaying city, industrial roots. This comes through in its pragmatic and inexpensive fashion, with places like Good Will and the Salvation Army being frequent sources of clothing. In Chicago, Ragstock, a punk thrift store, is another hub for Nu-Punk fashion. It also sometimes incorporates elements of classic horror, like imagery. taken from the Universal Monsters movies for example.


Nu-Punk is generally "low fashion," which is to say that it's not polished and generally not "Instagram ready." It tends to be a bit rough around the edges and grimy, but not to the extent of an aesthetic like Gutter Punk. It's also not as bombastic as earlier punk styles, so it tends not to include things like brightly colored hair, liberty spikes, or overly studded clothing. It also tends to stay away from bright colors generally. In Chicago, the store, The Alley, is a hub for Nu-Punk fashion and culture generally.

  • Adidas shell toe shoes
  • Studded belts
  • Denim jackets
  • Black hoodies
  • Black skinny jeans
  • Beanies in muted colors
  • Black denim shorts
  • Vans low tops
  • Sleeveless or otherwise cut up band shirts
  • Band shirts
  • Shirts from the menial jobs you work/ed at
  • Chrome messenger bags



  • The Lawrence Arms
  • Alkaline Trio
  • Red City Radio
  • Hot Water Music
  • The Hold Steady
  • Bomb the Music Industry
  • Against Me!
  • Rise Against
  • Gaslight Anthem
  • The Bouncing Souls
  • Slapstick
  • Chuck Ragen
  • Sincere Engineer
  • The Mezingers
  • The Brokedowns
  • Andrew Jackson Jihad
  • American Steel
  • The Falcon
  • Brendan Kelly


  • Just trying to get through the day
  • The punk community
  • Punk houses
  • Getting drunk
  • Working menial and/or industrial jobs
  • Having a good time, not a long time
  • Low self-esteem



  • Green Room