A Brief Overview of the Eshay Phenomenon

Australia is a diverse, multi-cultural country whose values of mateship and giving everyone a fair go is woven into the very fabric of society.

It’s also a country with hundreds of different sub-cultures including sharpies, hipsters, bra boys and bronies. All of whom add an intriguing layer to the overall communal mix.

But, in recent years, another group has emerged. One that has influenced huge numbers of young people all over the country. It’s a trend that has shaped the way they talk, dress and comport themselves with other people. We are of course referring to the phenomenon of the eshay. 

But what exactly is an eshay? And how exactly do they act?

Well in this guide, we will shed some light into their world, to give you a great understanding of what they are all about.

What is an Eshay

What is an Eshay?

Essentially, eshays are a group of teenagers who are easily identifiable by the brands of clothes they wear – most typically Nike, Gucci, Adidas and Nautica.

A roguish bunch, they often spend their time at shopping malls,or at the beach, listening to hardcore, expletive ladened Aussie drill rap, while terrorizing people with crude language of their own and overtly aggressive behaviour.

When they are not doing this, they tend to hang out at night in parks, graffiti trains, walls or bridges, or smoke durries in storm drains.

The term ‘Eshay’ itself hails from the Pig Latin derivative of the word ‘sesh’ or ‘session’. A reference to the traditional Australian avocation of socialising, drinking and taking drugs with a closegroup of mates.

Who are Eshays

Who are Eshays?

Initially coming to prominence around the 1980s, the first teenagers who embraced the eshay culture tended to live withinhousing commission estates in Sydney.

Largely from lower socio-economic backgrounds, the movement included a range of different ethnicities including African, Caucasian, indigenous, Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Pacific Islanders.

In recent times though an increasing number of eshays within Sydney are being private school educated.

Eshays have also steadily developed a presence in many regional areas of New South Wales, as well as most major state capitals in Australia and beyond.

The Dress Code

The Dress Code

Being an eshay involves adhering to a very strict and distinctive dress code.

Firstly, a terrible haircut is de rigueur. Usually taking the form of, either a bowl cut with a wild mullet, a mullet with a rats tail, or an overgrown mullet with shaved sides.

Secondly the clothes they wear are very specific, all the way from their head to their toes, and can be characterised as follows:

Gucci Hat

Gucci Hat

No self-respecting eshay would be seen out in public without a Gucci cap. Its usually a fake they bought somewhere like Haymarket, but they wear them because they think it looks cool, and also to bring out a reaction in people they can retailiate aggressively too.

Speed Dealer Sunglasses

Speed Dealer Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an important part of an eshay’s look and the wrap-around 90’s style worn predominantly by skaters back in the day is very much in vogue now.

For those who can afford them, the most sought after speed dealers are the ‘west coast customs’ which adorn flames and reflective lenses.

Nautica Polo

Nautica Polo

Made famous by the Australian rapper, Kerser, Nautica Polo shirts are a key element of an eshay’s clothing style.

Usually worn with the top button completely fastened and the collar popped up, the shirts more often than not have a visually obtrusive colouring, and style, which people can’t help staring at- often to their detriment.

Tracksuit Pants

Tracksuit Pants/Sports Shorts

Depending on the weather, eshays tend to wear tracksuit pants, or loose sports shorts.

There is no definitive brand that must be worn, but typically the likes of Adidas, Lacoste and Ellesse are most popular.

Nike TN’s

Nike TN’s

Footwear is an important part of any Eshays’s look and the shoe of choice is Nike TN’s.

It’s reputedly worn because its thick sole makes it easier to stomp on people’s heads. Which is a disturbing, yet nonetheless unsurprising reason as to why they are so popular amongst this sub-culture.

ShoulderBum Bags

Shoulder/Bum Bags

To complete the look, shoulder or bum bags add the final touch.



Eshays’s have their own distinct language which takes the form of bastardised pig-latin versions of fairly everyday terms.

Outlined below is a list of some of the slang terminology they use the most.

Adlay – An affectionate terms for lads, boys or fellas.

Arkin – To become angry or lose your temper.

Cuz – Term used to reference a close friend.

Earch – The act of breaking into someone’s car or home to either sleep inside or steal from it.

Eetswa – Term used to express your approval or affirmation about something you are happy with.

Gronk – A derogatory term for someone you do not like and have little respect for.

Illchay – Often related in two separate contexts. One is to relax or chill out, while the other is used in an attempt to calm someone down who is getting a bit angsty.

Itchbays – Derogatory term, similar to ‘bitch’ that is used to describe females.

Opps – Slang for Police Officers, in the same vein as ‘cops’.

Red Hot – A term that denotes an activity that is too risky to perform.

Staunch – The act of adopting a pose – often with your fists between your legs – and an intense stare with the expressed desire to intimidate someone.

Eshay Icons

Eshay Icons

Eshays have a number of role models and icons that they idolise.

These include the likes of the Sydney rapper Spanian, who music aside, has a large fan base on Instagram who lap up his disturbing rants about ‘hood logic’. As well as the notorious Western Sydney drill rap group and street gang, OneFour, who currently have three of their members in jail.

Kerser is another rapper who is said to have widely influenced the growth of the eshay movement, whilst other icons include the ex-rugby league player and current UFC fighter Tai Tuivasa, as well as the NRL stars Josh Addo-Carr and Brian To’o.