The Tumblr-powered subculture is back on TikTok, but parts of it should be left in the past.
Put on your guitar and your American Apparel tube socks because the Tumblr aesthetic of 2010 is back and suddenly dressing up like the Wish.com version of Zooey Deschanel is good again.
Fashion is cyclical and we’re just nearing the end of a naughty resurgence, which means we’re only moments away from the 2010 trends we poorly executed back in our teens.
Like the Jussie Couture tracksuits, Von Dutch trucker hats, and the resurgence of the 2000s general bimbo aesthetic that has dominated fashion over the years, cult-fave Tumblr aesthetics like indie sled, grunge, and twee are making their comebacks.
But god, oh my god, can we leave galaxy leggings for the history books?
If you’ve participated in the Tumblr era, you’ll know that there were countless subcultures into which to immerse yourself. From reblogging angry teens my Chemical Romance Songs written for hipsters on public bathroom panes punch the lenses of those dark 3D glasses you picked up after seeing Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland The movie, in your local Hoyts, was subculture enough for everyone to live their best “misunderstood” teen life.
But one trend promises stronger returns than the rest: Twi.
It’s Zooey Deschanel’s World And We’re Just Living In It (Again)
Undoubtedly thanks – in part – for the re-release of Taylor Swift Red, which was the soundtrack to her own Twi era, suddenly cool again, basing your aesthetic and personality on Wes Anderson movies, Peter Pan collars and Alexa Chung-esque shift dresses.
By definition, Twee is anything “excessively or affectively quirky, beautiful or sentimental”, which – in an aesthetic context – is essentially cosplaying as any character Zooey Deschanel has ever played (yes , in which she was once a blonde and starred in) elf,
“If you like artisanal hot sauces then you’re Twi,” of the atlantic James Parker wrote in 2014. “If You Hate Bullies You’re Twi” […] Twi’s core values include a ‘healthy skepticism of adulthood’; ‘A firm focus on our essential goodness’; ‘Farming a Passion Project’ (T-shirt company, organic food truck); and the full distribution of “‘cool’ as it is traditionally known, often in [favour] Stupid, geek, dork, about a kind of paganism of the Virgin.”
While the aesthetic dates back to the 1980s, it really took off in the mid-2010s, when it was considered “the most powerful youth movement since punk and hip-hop”—according to journalist and cultural observer Mark Spitz in his 2014 on the subject in the book.
Embossing the Twi aesthetic means you’ll never be caught dead without a quirky patterned shift dress (bonus points if it was cat print) layered over a collared shirt with a cute cardigan and some cat-eye glasses Those barely visible under your thick bangs will tell you all how much you were loved the perks of Being a Wallflower — the book, not the movie because you loved it before — and your Tumblr was full of Wes Anderson quotes you scribbled on your old typewriter while listening to dazzling guitar covers of popular songs.
Zooey Deschanel was the queens of Alexa Chung and Zoella Twi and while you’d never admit that your style was a carbon-copy of a popular celebrity, you secretly wanted to be them.
The resurgence of Twi — and other Tumblr subcultures — was first predicted by trend forecaster and fashion writer Mandy Lee, who also notes that “clowncore” will be big in 2022.
But even if the Joker hasn’t taken off yet, Twi certainly did — with a huge spike in Google searches for topics like “Twi” and “Twi fashion” in the past week alone. Not to mention, the trend has completely blown up on TikTok, with users sharing their 2010 Twi with the sound of the Twi anthem Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
The trend has grown so much that even Zooey Deschanel herself has jumped on the bandwagon.
It’s Not All Ballet Flats, Cardigans and Rainbows
As is the case with most trends we’ve seen in recent years, Twi culture is steeped in filthy stuff (no, not just ballet flats from Cotton On, that gave you blisters).
In an incredible display of irony from a trend that traditionally denounced the idea of being “cool,” the Twi aesthetic was dominated by the form of skinny, white, cis women in the low-rise jeans and Juicy Couture tracksuits of decades ago.
While the style was also popular among plus-size fashion bloggers, most of the outfits from ModCloth and Princess Highway that flooded our Tumblr blogs rarely came in anything above a size 16.
It goes without saying that the problematic and exclusionary aspects of beauty were amplified by the fact that Tumblr romanticized eating disorder culture in such a way that you could literally scroll through the #proana hashtag for hours until you Don’t think about eating a piece of bread. War was like a crime. And sadly, many TikTokers are already fearing that the Twi revival will be the “beginning of the end”.
We have a chance to tweet better now
As Lee says in another TikTok on the subject, we have an opportunity to bring Twi back without the toxicity, and it’s really unlikely that the Twi beauty revival will bring us back to 2012.
While this doesn’t excuse the fact that twee – as well as most other trends of the time – were almost exclusively dominated by cis, white, skinny women, the resurgence of the trend need not be rooted in this toxicity.
We saw this in the case of the Y2K resurgence, which originally peaked in popularity at the height of fatphobia. When the trends reappeared more than a decade later, the conversation had changed drastically.
We’re in a very different place than we were in the 2000s (and the 2010s), says Tyler McCall, editor-in-chief of Fashionista. “I think because [Gen Z has] Growing up in this environment of body positivity, it’s different,” she shares. “I think there’s a growing in the media that says you can have plus-size models on the runway or fat influencers who don’t seem to like them,” he said. Harper’s Bazaar Y2K resurfaced.
Over the past ten or so years, we’ve come by leaps and bounds when it comes to diversity and inclusivity in both runway and pop culture. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect anymore, with similar issues like eating disorder content still trending on TikTok in a way not unlike the pro-ana blogs of the 2010s. However, it does mean that we have reached a point where the public has the power to pressure brands to be more inclusive with their sizes and more diverse with their models than we did in the 2010s. did.
That doesn’t mean the problem is solved—fatphobia, whiteness, and a serious lack of diversity in fashion representation are still a huge issue that could take decades to resolve, as is the ever-present of pro-ED content on social media. topic is. Media.