Before it met the fashion world, vaporwave was a genre of electronic music that was born out of the icon '80s and '90s. Featuring heavy editing and 'sampling', this sub-category is known to be extremely surreal and almost futuristic in theme. Now, vaporware has broadened its definitions out to streetwear, inspiring global trends far and wide.
Vaporwave as fashion
From vaporwave t-shirts to hoodies and beyond, this trend is a unique kind of trend. It looks a lot like vintage fashion but it doesn't quite fit into the usual categories of it.
You can even experience this look yourself: head out to an event where vaporwave artists are performing and take a look around. Chances are that you'll notice a couple of people dressed up in clothes that don't fit the typical description of 'vintage'. It might even look 'digital'; that's vaporwave.
Think of it as a blast from the past … and back into the 80s
It's an aesthetic that combines a lot of things from the past but puts them together in a way that makes sense in the future. Vaporwave has inspired a number of different brands to release their own clothing and accessories.
And while it is a subgenre itself, it has its own smaller ones that further make up everything it's known to be today. These sub-categories include:
- Future Funk
The future is here
Vaporwave aesthetic outfits are often inspired by futuristic visions of the past. Back then, people expected the 'future' to be full of chrome, shiny robots, flying cars, and shiny metal shoes - almost like The Jetsons. But now, we know that this vision isn't at all what reality is, despite what we thought it would be. This genre, however, pays homage to what it could have been. (Or maybe will be.)
While this type of fashion is considered 'cool' and nostalgic to look at, it reflects the simplistic times of the early "future," while also giving off relaxing energy that's just so smooth and even hard to explain at times.
But if you're asking us to put it down to one simple definition, we'd call vaporwave clothing a 'cyberculture'. Infused in Japanese streetwear today, you're likely to see computer graphics with a 1980s or 90s influence on t-shirts, hoodies, and other types of apparel. And while it's nostalgic, it still manages to show off plenty of excitement and even a dystopian essence.
What makes up vaporware clothing?
A big part of this trend stems from Web 1.0 and even 2.0. It takes inspiration from Unicode characters and punctuation (particularly Asian characters or digital code) and twists conventional spelling and grammar. Most of all, there's no sense of subtlety in any of Vaporwave's art. What you see is what you get and it's extremely literal.
As for colors, expect to see lots of highly contrasting and jarring palettes that defy what is considered 'sophisticated' in the fashion world. Finally, it draws heavily on cyberpunk influences, glitchy art motifs, and its musical origins.