More than just a fashion style, cyberpunk stands for a certain outlook and culture. Some even call it a political philosophy. So cyberpunk fashion deserves a brief introduction to its core values and characteristics first;
Cyberpunk is the 'pessimistic' aspect of fantasy literature and culture. Advanced science and technology are the scenarios where borderline or romantic antiheroes are living their realities made of pop, underground, and high-tech culture. The relationship between the human body and technology is totally new: humans are updated to Cyborgs (sometimes to monsters). Often characters have mechanical parts in their bodies allowing impossible actions. In this way, the human body ceases to be something immutable, natural, untouchable and it becomes a modifiable and technological element (this is how contemporary BodMod body modification was born).
Another important part is played by Psychedelics: chemistry and synthetic drugs are often used (and abused) by characters to open new doors ("red pill-blue pill"...). Here, the objective world shifts to subjective perception. Time and reality are not moving anymore towards a safe, granted becoming.
As a genre, cyberpunk is rooted in sci-fi literature which emerged in the 1960s and 70s, in the works of writers such as Philip K. Dick, J. G. Ballard, and others. They marked a new wave which can be summarised in the words “High tech. Low life.”. Focusing on a dystopian future, in which technological and scientific advancements, like artificial intelligence and cybernetics, are being juxtaposed with a breakdown or radical change in the social order. The genre's vision of a troubled future was seen as the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future which were popular in the earlier decades.
Influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs' own SF), Dadaism, and their own radical ideas - this avant-garde style echoed film noir atmosphere and used detective fiction techniques to examine themes such as drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution. All while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. By the 1980s, William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’, the ‘Akira’ manga series and film, and Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (based on Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’) were helping to solidify this genre.
Set in post-industrial dystopias, usually in hyper-urbanized environments, cyberpunk is often about the nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. Driven by a sense of rebellion, cyberpunk explores themes such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, hackers, and megacorporations. Rebelling against the chains of corporations and institutional power, its protagonists are the anarchists, outsiders, outcasts, visionaries, and misfits - the Punks of cyberspace. For example, Case - the hero of ‘Neuromancer’, is a lone cowboy representing a political philosophy promoting civil disobedience and free circulation of information.
"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." - William Gibson
Over the following decades, the dystopian future portrayed in early cyberpunk was becoming closer and closer to everyday reality and growing human virtual lives. The more we use technology the more we learn that it does not necessarily bring any utopian “salvation”, but can actually help widen inequality gaps. And as our lives became more and more like a cyberpunk story, so as the popularity of this genre flourished into a thriving subculture. Comics, video games, films, manga, art, and music - that became known to and influenced even the mainstream. To name some for more cyberpunk cosplay inspirations; the films ‘Ghost in the Shell’, the ‘Matrix’, ‘Akira’ and their corresponding video games, and of course the adventurous RPGs (Role Playing Games) ‘Cyberpunk 2020’ and ‘Cyberpunk 2077’.
Like other streams in cyberpunk culture, dressing in this style and having this attitude is about not following others' doctrines, but about standing for your beliefs and creating your own rules. This is probably why there are many debates about what is cyberpunk fashion; are colours "allowed", or should you keep to a dark palette? Is neon cyberpunk fashion, or is it more raver? Is there a difference between cyberpunk and cybergoth, or should they be considered the same? ... Rather than adding more fire to an already heated debate, we encourage you to connect with cyberpunk culture on a deeper level. By getting inspired, then to style it your own:
As a style, cyberpunk is dark & post-apocalyptic and draws on hacking, futuristic DIY, and anti-authoritarian motifs. Being part of a subversive culture, the cyberpunk style does not follow a specific set of rules - giving plenty of room for self-expression. While subgenres also include steampunk, cybergoth, and post-apocalyptic styles, cyberpunk fashion is about having a punk attitude and wearing the style to match it in cyberspace. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and defining your own reality in a world where the virtual is as real.
Think dressing as a cyber ninja on the backdrop of the Hong Kong night skyline, or going for a futuristic renegade look with deconstructed or DIY military wear. Materials usually used in cyberpunk fashion include leather, latex, techwear fabrics, or fabrics with a waxed finish. Wearing reflective shades is a must. Constructed, fitted or semi-fitted cuts are a go. So are hoodies and cowl necks.
With the Psylo story rooted in underground subcultures, our dark-style streetwear carries a timeless sense of rebellion - making wonderful cyberpunk fashion outfits. Edgy or asymmetric cuts, raw hems, and waxed fabric finishing are just some of the techniques we use to achieve a cyberpunk style. With the added benefits of being made with organic, sustainable, natural, or up-cycled materials whenever and wherever we can. All our designs are created by our team of local artisans who love their crafts. Shopping for your cyberpunk fashion with us you’ll be supporting independent designers and sustainable practices. Find your eco-conscious cyberpunk looks:
Special thanks go to our dedicated Frandam21 for the original artwork he created for Psylo featuring here.
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September 19, 2021
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