Style icons: The Tribe

I’ve been intending to write this post for about three years, but there’s just so much to say that it’s hard to know where to start. Phew, here goes.

When I was younger I was obsessed to a frightening degree with The Tribe. Yeah, this is a post about The Tribe, the Australian post-apocalyptic tv show. For some reason it’s been on my mind a lot lately so I figured it was time to take the plunge and just do it. Here’s the opening titles to get us all in the mood;

I think it started when I read The Last Children as a kid. I don’t (and never did) have any desire to live in a world without adults — we’ve all read Lord of the Flies, after all. I think I just enjoyed reading about it. Anyway, the appeal of The Tribe clearly wasn’t just the whole living in a deserted shopping centre without grown-ups, it was about how fucking cool the guys in the show were. Independent, intelligent, funny, self-sufficient… stylish?

Obviously. Amber and Bray were clearly the best characters but even the baddies were awesome, with their braids and Cyberdog silver trousers. Writing about The Tribe today, obviously my focus for this post is on the hair and makeup. The face paint side of things gets a bit much after a while but I still think they look fucking ace and can completely understand why my teenage brain cut out all the pictures of the characters from the Radio Times and kept them on my wall.

Again, the whole look does get a bit Cyberdog at times but it’s not like I’d wear any of this head to toe. Unless I had a Tribe party. Wait, why haven’t I done that? Oh right, ‘cos no-one would come.

So this is Amber. Before I go any further I should give mad props to Tribeworld, which is the most insanely indepth website I’ve ever seen. It makes weirdo Star Wars fans look normal. There are so many pictures, so many videos, so many facts. You could spend all weekend on there. Would you judge me if I did?

Anyway, Amber is the best character for many reasons, one of which is her hair. On this page of the afore mentioned site, there’s even a MAC-style cheat sheet to get her makeup. Yegod! I particularly liked it when she put it in Bjork-ish knots.

This is Ellie. She started out life as a farm girl but by the time she’d spent some time with the Mallrats, she was more stylish than any of them. Kind of a riot grrl thing going on with her wardrobe?? And that hair, the hair so many teenage girls dreamed of in the late 90s… aided and abetted with one of those acrylic hair extension scrunchies.

Cloe and Patsy. Always the best hair and always time for some blue lipstick. Swoon. Both of these guys were supposed to be pretty timid and kind of outsiders until they made friends with each other, but I ask you — how can you be shy when you look as good as this?

Trudy was probably the most 90s person in The Tribe, with her baby bangs/occasional wonky fringe and purple hair and combat trousers. And face stickers. Her baby was pretty cool too, with lime green hair if I remember rightly.

Later when she was a tribe leader she wore a lot of capes and wizard-ish gear. Not so down with that.

And finally Ebony. Ebony the badass with her braids and black and red leather and black bandito eye mask. She is literally the baddest of the bad and although I was vaguely obsessed with her, it was more like that girl from school that you’re scared of and a bit in awe of at the same time. Word of warning, you might want to put safe search on when you Google ‘Ebony The Tribe’. After page one, image search gets a bit confused and, uhm, ‘ racy’.

OK, that’ll do for now. I could bleat more but I’ve spent most of the weekend on Tribeworld and I feel the need to reconnect with the real world. If you want more, just read the pages and pages of in depth discussion here. There is literally an answer for everything.

14 thoughts on “Style icons: The Tribe

  1. one of the best things about the tribe was their terrible australian/american accents. why were they even pretending to be american? and also in the later series when their “leader” was a boy in a bin. i miss the tribe.

  2. OH MY GOD! I think about this show a lot, and by ‘a lot’ I mean all the time. I think Ebony was one of my first girl crushes. God, I wanted braids and cyber goth make up SO BAD. You’ve no idea how happy this post made me!

    1. I’m glad! I think about it most days, a lot of people around my office in East London seem to dress like Ebony so it’s on my mind a lot lately.

    1. My birthday is in May, that’s enough time to circulate a box set or two, right? We only had Channel 5 in one room of the house and I’d sit there with the portable TV thing for hours on a Sunday. Happy times.

  3. infuckingcredible. although to the tribe wasn’t my fave aussie show, heartbreak high holds that special place in my heart.

  4. @Natalie saturday morning channel 5 was the shit. I loved harry and cosh!

    The tribe scared me, and the whole idea of a world without adults frightened me (what did happen to the adults?) but Ebony was my fave.

  5. I also am far far too obsessed with The Tribe – like you I used to watch it on channel 5 and it was the highlight of my week. I’m 24, and i’m sure it’s not entirely normal to dress up like a member of a 90s TV show every so often, but I don’t care. I’ve got my other half and one of my friends hooked now as well.
    I want to have a Tribe party too but no-one else will humour me I think(maybe i’ll wait til my birthday, then they will HAVE to ha). I have plans to make some of the clothes too…wish me luck people.

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