Photo: Via Molly Soda of Molly Soda
The other day I was sitting in The Center, the common space for students at my high school, and I overheard this part of a conversation taking place between two boys in my grade:
Boy A: “What is a Tumblr?”
Boy B: “I don’t really know, dude, but it’s like this blog web site my little sister uses to post quotes from The Jonas Brothers and stuff. She’s on it, like, 24/7.”
While it's true that Tumblr is a web site that's often manned by teen/tween girls reblogging imagery into the wee hours of the night just to create virtual mood boards to define their aesthetic, to define it as just a site full of pretty pictures and glitter font is undermining its significance in pop culture. Because it is a youth-driven site, Tumblr has had a huge influence on Internet style, and even the Internet itself.
Photo: Via Emma Arvida Bystrom of Arvida Bystrom.
Style blogs originally came about so that people could share their views democratically, without a mediator dictating what to think about a certain topic. However, the line between blogger and fashion editor has become blurred. On Tumblr, there is no expectancy for high-quality photos; in fact, almost all of the photos are taken via webcam. After seeing a couple of the collections from this Fashion Month, I wanted to trace the connection between the Tumblr aesthetic and how it translates to IRL runway style.
I feel like something needs to be said of Jeremy Scott’s fall '12 collection, which seems to reflect my own complicated relationship with the Internet. For a long time, Jeremy has been one of my favorite designers, and this season’s collection was like Lizzie McGuire on acid...and I mean that as the utmost compliment. I genuinely would wear any of the items, especially the turtlenecks featuring The Simpsons and anything involving that psychedelic day-glo fabric. Jeremy says that his collection was inspired by the Internet, which is evident in his emoticon and mouse-clicker prints, but looking at the pieces was also a lot like looking at my Tumblr dashboard: girls with Kool Aid hair, bindis, and chain nose rings.
Jeremy Scott's fall '12 show.
Still, I think there is something to be said about the “coincidence” of Jeremy calling upon the influences of his '90s Gwen Stefani-worshipping club days and today’s Tumblr girls who have been re-appropriating these very images of bindis, Unicorns on Acid, Lisa Frank, The Simpsons, and Kool-Aid hair on the Internet for years now.
I've blogged about Grace Miceli before, but Grace is a really rad artist who is inspired by Internet culture, and even has her own online art collective called Art Baby Gallery. A year ago, she posted a video on her Vimeo page called, "Alien Grooves 2," which features her friend sticking Lisa Frank stickers on her chest, quite similar to the Lisa Frank sticker bustier Jeremy Scott made this season. She seemed to agree, "It feels a little strange to see an older man commodify certain imagery, especially Lisa Frank's, which does have strong meanings for a girl who grew up in the nineties."
Photo: Via Grace Miceli of Party Witch.
No one has the right to stake a claim on this look, but it definitely means something about how today, people are creating their online identities. Jeremy was clearly inspired by the revival he’s seeing on Tumblr, of the very same images that he grew up with. However, I do think it gives us insight on how Internet trends are being translated in terms of the fashion industry, especially by adults. Grace concluded, "Aesthetic trends on Tumblr are always shifting …But I guess as a young person who takes time and consideration with their appearance and attempts to make it public, part of the fun is witnessing what catches on and how far the trend may go. So I can't say I have any hard feelings, but maybe Jeremy could hire me next time!”
Since there is also so much content on Tumblr, it’s hard to make a generalization for the entire culture of the site too. But, what bridges everything together on Tumblr is its convenience. You no longer have to feel like you need to sit front row at a fashion show just to see what wacky person Anna Wintour is sitting next to or wait to get a glimpse of a trailer for the Hunger Games. We as youth on Tumblr are carving out the next generation of the internet. Exciting, isn’t it?