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5 Fashion Subcultures We Can Blame on the Internet

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Sure, we aren’t living the sci-fi dream, where clothing and technology are seamlessly integrated, but we do live in an age of “viral” internet influence that’s beginning to affect the way people dress. Internet-y styles blend in with each other, but I think I can point out a couple distinctions for y’all.

Nostalgia is a coping mechanism we have to distance us from the here-and-now, when the present doesn’t stack up to an idealized past. Lately, I’ve noticed a trend of “net-stalgia” where people are nostalgic for the early internet of their childhood. Sometimes, the pangs in our hearts when we see that Windows ’98 symbol can only be quelled by dressing accordingly throwbackishly, like a wack background character in the movie Hackers. This net-stalgia comes in a few different flavors, which I have kindly outlined below for all you people wanting something more specific than “Tumblr IDK” as a label for your style of choice.

Soft Grunge


Soft Grunge is for fifteen year old girls who already miss being twelve. People who dress this way think they miss the nineties but also might not have been born until Y2K? It’s all about mixing pastel baby colors with more “hardcore” things like studs and leather. Lots of pastel and ombré hair, tongue-in-cheek satanism, and abuse of the Nirvana iconography (because Kurt Cobain was, like, sooooo cute). This is the pumpkin spice latte of internet fashion.

Sea Punk


Sea Punk is like Soft Grunge with an ocean motif and a couple early internet embellishments. If a Geocities website about wetsuits were an outfit, you might get something close to Sea Punk. Supposedly, this style was born out of a dream somebody had about a leather motorcycle jacket with barnacles on it instead of studs. I mean, I’ve had plenty of dreams where I forgot to wear pants but I’m not trying to make that into a fashion statement just because it came from my subconscious.



Vaporware is soft/ hardware that exists in a cloud of hype, never to be released. Vaporwave is like that, but as a music/ fashion phenomenon. As much as an internet aesthetic can be an anti-capitalist statement, that’s what vapor wave is. Again, all these internet looks kind of blend into each other with the acid-pastel colors but the main twist here is an inundation of corporate branding to the point where logos lose their meaning. We can dismantle the capitalist system if we just dress stupid enough! And if you can’t beat ‘em, you’ll be more than dressed to join ‘em. Throw in some Matrix-style shades and you’ve got Vaporwave.



Seinfeld is slowly taking over the world and the internet is only helping. Jerry the style icon? Normcore is about hot people stunting by still looking hot in fleece pullovers and New Balances. The lines blur between mom jeans and dad jeans. Think of this as the Festivus pole of fashion, unabashedly unadorned. You may not have seen this style on the streets, or just not noticed it (because the point is to look brand-less and normal?), but you’ve definitely seen countless navel-gazing think pieces about it all up on your newsfeed.

Health Goth


Health Goth is Normcore’s cool cousin. It co-opts athletic clothing and goth color restrictions (all black and white everything), and comes together in a weirdly futurist minimal way. If you’ve ever wanted to be fashionably avant-garde without forfeiting the privilege of wearing your Adidas slappy sandals and tube socks, this just might be the style for you!

Do you think these styles look cool or just plain stupid? Let us know in the comments below!


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