In April (2012) Wired published Bruce Sterling’s essay about “The New
Aesthetic” art wave. Someone finally decided to give a name to all this Internet folklore, Net-art and Tumblr mess. According to Sterling, “The New Aesthetic” is “collectively intelligent,” it’s a “product of modern network culture,” and it’s a “shareable concept.“ Thanks to Tumblr’s reblog key. “The New Aesthetic concerns itself with an eruption of the digital into the physical,” Sterling summarized. Which just means a lot of artists are trying to make the digital become real. Let’s discuss how the New Aesthetic applies to fashion. Would you like the Internet in your closet?
A few brands and artists are busy trying to translate this New Aesthetic to clothing.
Netstyl.es is a very recent project curated by Sterling Crispin which invites up-and-coming Net artists to custom design t-shirts. The “digital/computer/ 3D ” New Aesthetic is immediately recognizable. Rafaël Rozendaal’s t-shirt is full of Photoshop gradients, Rydder Ripp’s t-shirt is made of Facebook and Tumblr logos and Tabor Robak’s t-shirt looks like the inside of a machine.
Systaime aka Michael Borras, co founder of Spamm, is also surfing the Net-art t-shirt trend with his t-shirts called “ facebook”, “captcha” or “google bitches”.
Even though, Sterling Crispin and Michael Borras made their names in the Net-art scene, they weren’t the first ones to come up with the idea of applying The New Aesthetic to clothing.
Body by Body was a “Net influenced” fashion project by Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren that brought in 2010, Internet and Post-internet aesthetics into the physical world as limited edition t-shirts and apparel.
Bad Smelling Boy aka Alex Gibson, was also a pioneer in this field. Alex created “virtual” shirts, with collages of images he found online. Unfortunately, even though he was a visionary of this trend, the 20-year-old Alex couldn’t afford to make his virtual t-shirts become a reality. After that, the “ ‘shopping-an-image-over-a-sweatshirt concept” became a big deal online. Tiago Rodrigues and Rita Cabral E Silva also followed the trend with their “Untitled” line of Internet-inspired t-shirts.Greta Gibbens and Alec Weitl came along and started posting virtual shirts on their blog Sexy Sweaters. Their virtual sweatshirts became incredibly popular online and garnered thousands of notes on Tumblr.
A bunch of new “underground” brands have started selling New Aesthetic clothes. Take a look at WIA or IRL London. Kevin Heckart, the graphic designer behind Coral Records, the seapunk label, is also selling t-shirts along the same line.
On the less “underground” and more high-end level of fashion, Jeremy Scott’s last collection screamed “Tumblr.” The collection looked like a Tumblr dashboard. Some of the dress prints were rainbow computer keyboards and windows screenshots. I can’t end this article without giving credit to Carri Mudane, the designer behind Cassette Playa. In 2008, before Tumblr and the rise of Net-art, (At the time, everyone was on Myspace) she created a collection called “Pixel Warrior.” Her collection was definitely very avant-garde; she was already taking the digital into the physical.
In one sentence, New Aesthetic fashion means bringing the Internet out of your computer and into your CLOSET.
*Dora Moutot is a fashion/ Net-art/ Tumblr enthusiast, writer at
– – – – –
for O Fluxo, May 2012.
– – – – –