- Introduction to Cyberpunk Fashion
- Three Arguments that Define the Aesthetics of Cyberpunk Fashion
- Cyberpunk Genre: Aesthetic Inspiration
- Cyberpunk Dressup in 2023
CyberPunk Fashion Aesthetics has been interpreted by the sci-fi type media as a relatively simple "appearance," such as blade runners (1982) and neurons (1984). With the increase in this science fiction film, many new forces have gradually emerged. New trend movements and an aesthetic sub-culture have eventually been produced, which claims to come from the CyberPunk theme existing in the various media. Since there is no highly authoritative explanation and definition, CyberPun has formed an intricate aesthetic. It seems to have some differences at different stages, crowds, environments, and contexts.
To try to interpret and define "cyberpunk fashion aesthetics," I went to the Internet to confirm my ideas. Then I found a series of arguments, some very convincing but mostly relatively overlapping, so I summarize the three most convincing single arguments I have come across in the sections below. If you want to go straight to the guide, skip section 4.
2.1 Cyberpunk as a Fashion Aesthetics Inspired by Media
Cyberpunk is both a style and a fashion aesthetic inspired by the clothing and futuristic elements present in the iconic medium of the cyberpunk genre.
Advantages of this Argument:
- Various media, including literature, film, and games, provide visual and descriptive images that can be deconstructed to create templates for a cyberpunk aesthetic. This data provides a more aesthetically bounded model than the other two arguments.
- The fashion presented in these mediums is presented in a decidedly dystopian and futuristic setting. For those looking to explore future dressing opportunities today, the use of cyberpunk media provides quite a bit of context.
- The image information presented in cyberpunk media is the core expression of cyberpunk aesthetics. Regardless of the credibility of the other two arguments, the characterization of iconic sci-fi films like Blade Runner (1982) and Ghost in the Shell (1995) appeals to the aesthetic approval of the vast majority of people, that It's "cyberpunk."
- In the 21st century, especially in the West, form and dress standards have eroded, especially in casual settings. Movies and TV have inspired fashion for decades. In my opinion, wanting to emulate characters from your favorite mediums is a relevant source of inspiration for personal style; or at least as much as anyone who buys a leather jacket after seeing Marlon Brando in "Wild Man" example.
Weaknesses of this Argument:
- Some would consider cyberpunk a "dead" subgenre that reached its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. Modern works, such as Blade Runner 2049 and Cyberpunk 2077, exist as retro-futuristic tributes to images and tropes in past results; i.e., using retro-inspired media as inspiration alone does not address genre or Any evolution of aesthetics.
- Cyberpunk's most influential phase was wrong about many things, not least how it developed the technology. In effect, technology is no longer about empowering people as individuals, but more about controlling, monitoring, and standardizing consumers to serve corporate interests. So if cyberpunk as a genre has become obsolete by our current reality, can it be the inspiration for practical futuristic clothing?
- Companies like Magnoli Clothiers have made many near-replicas of cyberpunk clothing, including Deckard's coat. Could wearing these pieces in public be directly inspired by the cyberpunk media? Yes, but many in the fashion world would also consider it cosplay. Does this mean that wearing a fashion item with an aesthetic similarity to a garment is somehow a style just because it's not a replica? In my opinion, this would be a good route.
2.2 Cyberpunk as a Real-life Subculture
- Cyberpunk is a style worn by real-life cyberpunks who embrace the high-tech-low-life mantra and practice radical anarchism.
- The tip of the tongue infographic from Mondo 2000 below provides a surprisingly apt summary of what actual cyberpunk might need. A palpable fascination with consumer technology is evident on top of a blatantly "punk" anarchism, coupled with a "prepper" or "everyday carry" (EDC) mentality, where one is always on the go Carrying too much equipment.
Advantages of this Argument:
- The world has changed dramatically since the early 1980s. Technology shapes society, influencing our behavior and products, and fashions. Many people believe that cyberpunk is reality, not just fiction. So this also implies that real-life cyberpunks must exist in non-fictional settings and should be interested in how they dress when defining the aesthetics of cyberpunk fashion.
- If true cyberpunks exist - living off the grid as radicals, taking over the black market through new, especially computer-assisted and online technologies - shouldn't the aesthetics embody by these people define cyber in 2021 Punk look?
- No one likes to put on airs, especially in the punk world. Real-life cyberpunk anarchists will have a high level of credibility, and their style will legitimize a particular aesthetic.
Weaknesses of this Argument:
- Cybercriminals like ISIS social media propagandists, Nigerian email scammers, and "black widows" who use online dating sites to find their prey all lead high-tech, sleazy lifestyles, but it's fair to say that these individuals have a less-than-average personal aesthetic. Cyberpunk fans will find it inspiring. Instead of impoverished thieves or political activists, they focus on theatrically dressed cyberpunk protagonists like Agent K, JC Denton, or Major Kusanagi.
- A real, real-life ideological cyberpunk would be a real-life criminal. Given the surveillance state both offline and online, you cannot express anti-establishment views on the internet, let alone take action without legal consequences. So, for fear of the attention of law enforcement, it's unlikely that true illegal cyberpunks would be wearing any uniform that could identify them.
- I'm guessing that the people involved in cyberpunk as a scene or fandom are true radicals living an illegal lifestyle. This part of the people who use their technology to fight the system is rare in reality. You don't have to like or even see Blade Runner become a true black hat hacker or cyber anarchist. This limits the range of any aesthetics that can shine from a real-life cyberpunk look.
2.3 Today's cyberpunk has developed into Techwear, and even sub-genres Warcore and Darkwear have emerged
- Cyberpunk as a style is determined by the aesthetics of "tech clothing" because it is believed that we have lived in a dystopian society, and tech clothing has developed into the application of modern production and consumption technology in today's world as clothing and fashion industry.
Advantages of this Argument:
- While most cyberpunk fans probably haven't even heard of, let alone bought or owned, any tech apparel, it seems that the vast majority of online tech apparel fans love cyberpunk as a genre, or at least some of the hallmarks of it Sexual Works. Techwear fans as an online movement can use social media technology to provide inspiration and share realistic images and information about products and brands worldwide for free. They have replaced the company as the primary source of inspiration for their style, which I think is not a cyberpunk word but futuristic.
- Techwear is unmistakably urban, and many of its most iconic brands and pieces are weather-resistant; both components bear a strong resemblance to a typical cyberpunk environment, which is formed by the climate Degraded and defined by the late progress of urbanization and consumerism.
- Many brands reference direct cyberpunk influences in their product designs or branding. This legitimizes the overlap between tech clothing styles and cyberpunk fashion aesthetics. It should be noted that not all of these brands are sold as "techwear": For example, Raf Simons' men's spring/summer 2018 collection, which references Blade Runner's world, is clearly in the realm of haute couture, while Not the tech apparel market.
Weaknesses of this Argument:
- According to the first advantage, techwear fans are a small subset of cyberpunk fans. Just because they are interested in clothing, they may think it is more "futuristic" than others for technical reasons, but that doesn't mean that athletic aesthetics will also define cyberpunk.
- Techwear is nothing new. Since the 1970s, brands have been applying advanced garment construction and material technologies to consumer clothing, even before cyberpunk was a media genre or aesthetic. Cyberpunk, Lululemon influences many modern brands, and Other brands like Outlier don't. In any case, it's certainly popular in the tech apparel community.
- Large corporations own top apparel manufacturing technologies rather than small-scale "tech apparel" brands. The outdoor and performance sports markets are gaining traction in weight loss, weather resistance, comfort, and then they exploit it as a massive competitive advantage. If we were to accept that the most technologically advanced clothing should define modern cyberpunk, tech clothing would take a back seat to most multinational outdoor brands such as Arc'teryx and The North Face (TNF). While TNF FuseForm Gore-Tex shells can be easily incorporated into high-tech apparel, neither the inspiration nor typical applications for these high-performance outdoor pieces are futuristic or cyberpunk.
- I think tech clothing is more of a modus operandi for actual consumption than an aesthetic "style." The best technical clothing fits the lifestyle, considers the environment, and maximizes utility: both as clothing and socially, it is fashion. The worst tech apparel is low-performance, overpriced streetwear, not a valid combination of personal preference and lifestyle practicality. While cyberpunk as a style can easily be applied to tech clothing, it doesn't make sense to call one of the many styles popular in tech clothing online "cyberpunk" because it's "techwear."
Each of the above arguments has its advantages and limitations. When it comes to the plethora of visual and thematic inspiration people find when searching for "cyberpunk fashion," none of them are universal or holistic. Perhaps in the future, and robust model that defines the aesthetics of cyberpunk fashion will need to encompass all three perspectives and possibly more. However, for this article, I decided to focus only on the first argument, that the aesthetics of cyberpunk fashion can be analyzed from existing cyberpunk media sources. I want to revisit the other two opinions in future articles. I believe both cyberpunk as an ideology and cyberpunk as techwear (or just cyberpunk-inspired fashion) have exciting points worth exploring.
This section features some iconic fashion looks from various cyberpunk media. The look here will be analyzed for aesthetics, form, and context to find regular clothing, styling, and design components, summarized in Section 4 as a cyberpunk fashion aesthetic model.
First of all, in cyberpunk style, nothing is more iconic than the trench coat worn by Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982). Not only did the film define the visual aesthetic for decades to come, but that coat, in particular, was referenced, if not directly emulated by countless other cyberpunk works. This section will argue that even the most iconic works, like Ghost in the Shell (1995) and The Matrix (1999), make heavy use of genre tropes in their costume design and fashion.
Blade Runner (1982) was a genre-defining film because it was a precursor and rigorous attention to detail in settings, props, and costumes to build the world. Michael Kaplan, a lead costume designer on production alongside Charles Knode, has the following insights to share:
After reading the script, we did feel that Blade Runner was in that type of film noir, so we looked back at 1940s films for inspiration. Deckard (Harrison Ford's character) is a drug lord like Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart). For Rachel's character, our main inspiration came from the bespoke suits Adrian designed in the late 1930s and early 1940s. I love the idea of combining different shades of suit fabric to create a pattern - that's what Adrian did. I used a stunning grey and beige vintage suit fleece in this case, and I was lucky enough to find metallic threads that created a subtle glowing quality. I wanted to create a futuristic heroine who was believable in the future but whose feet were firmly rooted in the film noir past.
Michael Kaplan for AnOther Mag 2012
A key takeaway is a subtlety to frame the film's visual narrative. Deckard's outerwear is slightly different from traditional trench coats, including double throat straps and exaggerated collars with quilted linings. Except for Zhora's somewhat extroverted suits, each character's costumes take advantage of this subtlety to develop from film noir foundations.
When pouring into the costumes and costume designs of other cyberpunk icons, it's clear that these subtle exaggerations are an essential part of the aesthetic. In Johnny Mnemonic (1996), Keanu Reeve wears a suit and tie, which is primarily a rather bland outfit from sci-fi movies, using sharkskin wool-silk textures to provide a metallic sheen, which Rachel wore in The textured Runner (1982) used by the costumes in Blade, combined with the shoulder pads of Johnny's suit, is exaggerated.
Deckard's blazers and coats were given a shabby look, both to convey the metaphor of a retired detective and to set the context for the decline of the planet. While the costumes in Blade Runner 2049 (2017) are despised by many (such as Harrison Ford in a T-shirt and jeans), Agent K's jacket is a great way to bring the virtual to reality, an example. Role needs. Just as Deckard's film noir trench coat has been modernized, so has Agent K's field jacket, using faux leather and polyester fleece, as the film is set against the backdrop of real animals and their leather becoming scarce, and reiterates Agent K's income Very low replicators. The exaggerated turtleneck also provides atmospheric protection, and the mix of materials in the shell references but doesn't precisely mimic the costumes from the original film. Joi's look is more like a parody of Zhora in the original movie. And reinforces the argument that most clothing and fashion designs in cyberpunk media originate from early established titles.
Another cyberpunk film that parodies earlier works in the genre and uses weathering in its costumes to denote a dystopian setting is Hardware (1990). While not a great movie, the costume uses so many tropes in just about every character's outfit that it's a great example of the cyberpunk media fashion style. Long coats, leather bomber jackets, cargo pants, boots, and plenty of tactical accessories: Hardware (1990) uses traditional late 80s clothing to build a recognizable cyberpunk look.
The Matrix trilogy has significantly impacted the cyberpunk aesthetic due to its popularity, with its costumes using extensive references. Trinity and her fitted latex look were heavily inspired by the 1990s internet goth scene and Liquid Television's Aeon Flux (1991); Neo's outfits were kung fu. First and foremost, Morpheus below was Rick Rick from Blade Runner (1982). Deckard's outfit is much darker, though. The Matrix's widespread use of dramatic sunglasses predates cyberpunk films such as Nemesis (1992). So while the Matrix trilogy remains highly influential, its aesthetic borrows heavily from established genre tropes.
Nemesis (1992) isn't a great movie like Hardware (1990), but it embodies many cyberpunk tropes, including a trench coat, black aviator sunglasses, and a plethora of tactical accessories and Hardware.
While games are an essentially visual medium, their influence on the fashion of the cyberpunk genre is not as significant as the movie industry. Instead, most games in the cyberpunk genre draw heavily on iconic sci-fi movies like Blade Runner (1982).
Deus Ex (2000) was a very acclaimed game that spawned many sequels. A heavy Matrix (1999) inspiration can be seen in protagonist JC Denton's long black coat, sunglasses, and knee-high boots. Sixteen years later, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016) was released, with the protagonist wearing a very similar jacket, albeit with the tech clothing brand's logo ACRNM on the collar. Later titles feature high-quality graphics and impressive cybernetic enhancements on many characters, reinforcing the gothic references derived mainly from the Matrix and earlier Deus Ex titles.
The cyberpunk aesthetic is a mix of film noir, gothic, and 80s-90s casual chic, using clothing that often has subtle exaggerations or deviations in silhouette and material, if not for the control that places characters in a contemporary sci-fi setting. As for prosthetics, it goes further with futuristic military Hardware. If we removed holsters, futuristic blasters, and flying cars from Deckard's arsenal, he'd look like an oppressed detective from '40s film noir. If we take away Jintian's laser gun, he'll be a kid in an 80's leather biker suit. The look of cyberpunk media is defined by subtle exaggerations of existing costume archetypes, rather than the fantastical, often alien costumes you'd expect from the eyes of far-future science fiction. I would consider this a good thing as it would be a prop for the cyberpunk aesthetic to enter the RPG realm. This allows the remaining tropes to be referenced in contemporary fashion clothing without looking like a dress-up.
So you were living in 2021, you've enjoyed all kinds of cyberpunk media from Blade Runner to Neuromancer, or you might even be inspired by the rebellious "high-tech low-life" ideology. Fortunately, there is an unlimited supply of clothing at all price points, referencing the fashion themes outlined in the previous section. There is enough wiggle room within the guidelines to accommodate various lifestyles, brands, personal taste preferences, and environmental requirements. The goal is to create your cyberpunk style, not just imitate clothing.
I've put together the following outfits for this article to interpret what cyberpunk looks like in 2023. All wear techwear-x clothing, and as someone who lives an active lifestyle and commutes on foot in urban environments every day, my goal is to combine techwear's perspective with my inspired cyberpunk references Dress for practicality. These looks are not prescriptive but are just examples of applying the previously identified stylish components.
4.1 Look 1
Based on the Dark Knight's cape jumper, it blends ancient and technological elements, with tactical pockets and half palm cuffs for a military look. At the same time, this heavy-duty shawl jacket is made of pure cotton fabric and jacket material, which is more comfortable to wear. Combined with its series of overalls jogging pants and tactical aprons, it adds to the heaviness of cyberpunk.
Socks: Jiye Heavy Industry Socks
Mask: Individualized Mask
4.2 Look 2
The solid black hooded pullover jacket, with its jacket-like fabric and irregular hem, bridges the virtual with the real, and I love it. The top and trousers are embellished with tactical streamers. In reality, the dystopian spirit cannot be adopted, but the exaggeration on the clothing is very obsessive.
Bottoms: Mourning Tactical Pants
4.3 Look 3
This bomber jacket is the perfect way to style your motorcycle with Techwear pants and our techwear black mid-top boots.
Shoes: Techwear Dark Boots for Men