AESTHETICS: The Style of Internet Subcultures
Updated: Oct 22
What stylish subcultures exist today? Let's take a look at the wonderful world of internet aesthetics to find out about a few of them.
After writing about Harajuku fashion last week, I began to wonder what other stylish subcultures are out there right now. And, after spending some time researching online, I wasn’t underwhelmed with what I found.
The internet is home to a plethora of subcultures. Spread across popular social media websites, many of these niche groups are loosely connected by one word.
You’ve probably seen that term thrown around before. But what does it actually mean?
What is an Internet aesthetic?
DEFINITION: Not to be confused with the philosophical movement of the 18th century, an internet aesthetic refers to the visual identity of an online subculture. Communities may express their distinct sense of style through mood boards, aesthetically pleasing youtube videos or creative graphic designs. These creations are often shared on popular social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube.
Be sure to take a look at this fanmade Wikipedia if you'd like to see a full list of the different internet aesthetics (in this post I only cover three). So, sit back and enjoy reading about these stylish communities.
If afternoon walks across a blooming meadow appeal to you, then Cottagecore is a great aesthetic to embrace. This is a subculture for romantic souls who adore the simple pleasures found in nature. Consisting of a community of dreamers rejecting the hectic city lifestyle, Cottagecore is escapism at its finest.
The clothing reflects this countryside ideal. Style staples include long, floaty dresses made from the softest fabrics, frilly strap aprons, adorable overalls, large pockets you can hide your hands in, button-up blouses and any other garments with ruffle, embroidery or lace details. For accessories, think floppy hats and secondhand jewellery.
In their spare time, you may find a Cottagecore woman painting landscapes or fluffy farm animals with oil paints, decorating their room with dried flowers or collecting vintage ornaments. Any hobby that calms the mind will do! All in all, this aesthetic is the perfect antidote to the pressures of a fast-paced world.
Dark Academia is a popular aesthetic that has been thriving on TikTok. Primarily, it's a subculture for anyone with a thirst to learn about the world. Be it greek mythology, European literature or 19th-century philosophy, this aesthetic will inspire you to read beside a crackling fireplace and take in pages of ancient knowledge.
Unlike Cottagecore, Dark Academia meshes well with a city lifestyle—the ideal setting for day trips wandering around museums, libraries and art galleries. In fact, cultural trips are a popular hobby for dark academics. That is if they’re not inside relaxing with a good book. Other hobbies include sports like cricket and golf or artistic hobbies like bookbinding, painting and crafting.
To get a feel for the visual style of the aesthetic, be sure to consume media set in academic environments. Watch films like Dead Poets Society and Kill your Darlings or read books like The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
Dark Academia fashion reflects this desire to learn. Think cosy turtlenecks, sweater vests and polo shirts; smart trousers in plaid, tweed or houndstooth; and polished shoes like brogues and dr. martens that’ll get you around dusty book shops. Tie the outfit together by putting on rounded spectacles and wearing a satchel bag (this will make you look especially studious).
Art hoe/Art Mom
The Art Hoe subculture has evolved over the years. Initially, it was an internet aesthetic that was tied to a social movement. In 2015, Mars and Sage Adams co-founded the ‘Art-hoe Collective.’ It was a community made for artistic women of colour to express themselves freely and without judgement. It was so popular that even stars like Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg became members of the movement.
Over time, the Art Hoe aesthetic was adopted by women outside of the targeted demographic who were attracted to the fresh and artistic feel of the movement. What was once a social movement, slowly turned into a fashionable trend. However, many women call it Art Mom instead to respect the roots of the aesthetic.
Essentials of Art Hoe style include Fjallraven Kånken Bags, high-rise converse, vans, vintage mom jeans, graphic t-shirts with impressionist paintings on them, paint-splattered overalls, Fuji polaroid cameras and art supplies stuffed into coat pockets. You also cannot have art hoe without the classic artistic selfie: an aesthetic self-portrait with either a famous painting superimposed into the background or squiggly, doodled lines drawn on top.
The biggest Art Hoe motif has to be anything painted by Vincent van Gogh. (The Starry Night and Sunflowers being the most popular). Expect to see his art printed on tote bags, classic t-shirts, and socks. This van Gogh influence also pervades the colour palette of the aesthetic. Think intense yellow, passionate vermilion and evocative blue.
The Art hoe collective Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/arthoecollective/?hl=en
What Aesthetic was your favourite?
Right now, I'm leaning towards Cottagecore.
Who wouldn't want to relax beside fluffy animals and blooming bushes as the weather begins to warm? A combination fit for heaven.
This was a fun little article to research.
I hope it has inspired your style!
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Until next time,