Sep 10 2023

Despite a few similarities, there are philosophical differences between the aesthetics of techwear, cyberpunk and darkwear movements, which include their representation through fashion and other forms.

Fashion is a form of self-expression that reflects one's personality, mood, and culture. It is also influenced by various factors such as technology, media, and social movements. In this post, we will explore three fashion aesthetics that are inspired by the themes of science fiction, dystopia, and technology: techwear, cyberpunk, and darkwear. We will compare and contrast their origins, characteristics, and examples, as well as reference some famous brands and designers that embody these styles.

Many people confuse or simply assume that techwear, cyberpunk and darkwear all mean the same thing: futuristic fashion. But that's a simplistic and myopic view of the rich universe of ideas and details that each of these worlds represent. Let's dig in:


An abbreviation of technical + wear, Techwear is a style of clothing that strictly focuses on functionality, versatility, and comfort. In other words, aesthetics follow function. It incorporates advanced materials and features that enhance the performance and utility of the garments, such as waterproof, breathable, and durable fabrics, lots of pockets, straps, zippers, ergonomic and modular designs. Techwear is often associated with outdoor and urban activities, such as hiking, biking, or commuting, as it provides protection from the elements and adapts to different environments and situations.

Techwear x Cyberpunk x Darkwear  Fashion
Techwear Crop Jacket A bit of history: Techwear originated from the technical clothing of mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the 1970s and 1980s, who needed clothing that could withstand harsh weather and terrain. Some of the pioneers of techwear include brands like Patagonia, The North Face, and Arc'teryx, which used innovative materials and technologies such as Gore-Tex, fleece, and down insulation to create functional and durable clothing.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, techwear began to influence the streetwear and fashion scenes, as brands like Nike, Adidas, and Stone Island incorporated technical elements into their designs, creating a more urban and stylish aesthetic. Since then, techwear has evolved into a diverse and complex genre, with various subcategories and influences, such as military, ninja, and cyberpunk.

Examples of techwear brands and designers are:

• Acronym
• Jiye Heavy Industry
• Adidas
• The North Face
• Salomon
• Outlier
• Nike
• Y-3
• Patagonia
• Arc'teryx


Often confused with Techwear, Cyberpunk fashion is a style of clothing that is influenced by the science fiction cyberpunk genre, which depicts a dystopian future where society is dominated by advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics.

Totally unrelated to functionality and versatility, Cyberpunk clothing often features elements such as neon lights, metallic accessories, cybernetic implants, and hacker motifs, creating a contrast between low-life and high-tech. Cyberpunk clothing also reflects the themes of rebellion, transhumanism, and identity that are prevalent in the cyberpunk literature and media.

Techwear x Cyberpunk x Darkwear
Dune Long Jacket The Cyberpunk genre emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a reaction to the optimistic and utopian visions of science fiction at the time. Some of the authors and works that defined the cyberpunk genre include William Gibson's Neuromancer, Bruce Sterling's Mirrorshades, and Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Cyberpunk also influenced the visual arts, especially cinema, with films such as Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Ghost in the Shell. Cyberpunk fashion is inspired by these works, as well as by the subcultures of 80s new wave, punk, goth, and rave, which shared a similar aesthetic and attitude.

Some examples of cyberpunk brands and designers are:

• Anouk Wipprecht
• Machine56 (5060)
• Tokyo Robotics
• Demobaza
• Jiye Heavy Industry
• Hamcus
• Norvincy
• Holy Grail
• Enfin Lev
• Cryoflesh
• Crisiswear
• Damascus Apparel
• Winderflies
• Neo4ic


Darkwear is a style of clothing that is characterized by a dark and gothic aesthetic, often featuring elements such as leather, denim, and an emphasis on black clothing. Darkwear is often associated with the streetwear and goth subcultures, and can include both casual and formal attire. Darkwear can be worn to create an edgy look or to add an air of sophistication to an outfit. It can also be used to make a statement or express one's individual style.

Techwear x Cyberpunk x Darkwear
Darkwear Overjacket Darkwear has been popular for many years, as it is influenced by various genres of music, literature, and art, such as punk, metal, horror, and noir. Darkwear can also be seen as a component of techwear, as some techwear brands and designers incorporate dark and gothic elements into their creations, creating a more futuristic and avant-garde aesthetic.

Darkwear can also be influenced by other subcultures, such as cyberpunk, industrial, and ninja, which are also known for their dark and avant-garde styles.

Influential darkwear brands and designers are:

• Yohji Yamamoto
• Rick Owens
• Lip Service
• MDNT45
• Minoar
• Attitude Holland
• Disturbia
• 0608wear
• Fantasmagoria
• Boris Bidjan Saberi
• Gareth Pugh
• Jun Takahashi
• Rei Kawakubo
• Y-3


Techwear, cyberpunk, and darkwear are three fashion movements somehow inspired by technology and popular culture, with cyberpunk being the only one heavily inspired by science fiction, and techwear being totally geared to functionality and comfort. They have different origins, characteristics, and examples, but they also share some similarities and influences. They are all expressions of one's personality, mood, and culture, and they are all ways to explore the possibilities and challenges of the present and the future.

Looking for more? Shop the best and largest collection of techwear, cyberpunk and darkwear clothing, apparel and accessories at Hypebrother.

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