Vaporwave Fashion: A Journey Through '80s and '90s Nostalgia

The vaporwave fashion trend emerged as a subculture in the early 2010s and is closely associated with the larger vaporwave aesthetic movement. Vaporwave, as both a music genre and an art style, is known for its nostalgic and surreal take on consumer culture from the 1980s and 1990s. This aesthetic heavily influenced the fashion associated with the trend.

image of a woman wearing 2010s vaporwave fashion style standing in front of a pastel painted wall


Here are some key elements and themes of vaporwave fashion:

Nostalgia: Vaporwave fashion drew heavily from the nostalgia for the aesthetics of the '80s and '90s. This includes retro graphics, neon colors, and imagery associated with that era.

Pastel Colors: Pastel shades, particularly pink, blue, and purple, were prominent in vaporwave fashion. These colors contributed to the dreamy and surreal feel of the trend.


image of a man wearing 2010s vaporwave fashion style standing in front of a pastel painted wall

Aesthetic References: Vaporwave fashion often featured references to pop culture icons, corporate logos, and consumer products from the '80s and '90s. This could include graphics of old computer screens, VHS tapes, and recognizable logos like the Windows 95 logo or the Sega Genesis logo.

Oversized Clothing: Baggy and oversized clothing, such as graphic T-shirts, hoodies, and windbreakers, were commonly worn in vaporwave fashion. This style choice contributed to the laid-back and casual look associated with the trend.

woman with pink hair wearing oversized t-shirt in the 2010's vaporwave fashion style

Japanese Influence: Vaporwave has strong ties to Japanese culture, particularly the "city pop" music genre and the aesthetics of Japanese shopping malls and consumer products. This influence could be seen in the use of katakana characters, Japanese text, and imagery in vaporwave fashion.

Internet Aesthetics: Vaporwave fashion also incorporated elements from the early days of the internet, including pixel art, glitch effects, and 3D-rendered graphics. These elements contributed to the digital and surreal aspects of the trend.

DIY and Thrifted Items: Many vaporwave enthusiasts embraced a DIY and thrifting ethos, creating their own custom clothing and seeking out vintage or secondhand items that fit the aesthetic.

Accessories: Accessories such as retro sunglasses, visors, and chunky sneakers were often paired with vaporwave outfits to complete the look.

It's important to note that vaporwave fashion was not just about the clothes people wore but also the overall aesthetic and atmosphere they sought to create. The trend celebrated the sense of nostalgia and irony associated with consumer culture while also embracing a dreamlike and often satirical view of the past. While the popularity of vaporwave fashion has waned over the years, its influence can still be seen in elements of contemporary streetwear and internet culture.

image of a man and woman wearing 2010s vaporwave fashion style standing in front of a blue wall