The Simpsons Are Rocking Streetwear And It's Both Amazing And Disturbing
In 2016, the internet has done what we never thought possible: a successful update of The Simpsons. First, artist Tommy Bates redid the Simpsons’ wardrobe, reimagining the crew in streetwear looks. Then, Simpsonwave, a new breed of music videos, began to crop up on YouTube and Vine, plugging vaporwave sounds into VHS-dithered Simpsons footage. These throwbacks test our cultural savvy across generational gaps. Why is Bart rocking BAPEs? Could Comic Book Guy conceivably don a man bun? And, critically, why does this all feel so wrong, and yet, so right?
One reason Bates’ art succeeds is that he authentically captures both the Simpson characters and the current streetwear trends. All the major players are here: Balenciaga, OFF-WHITE, Supreme. It’s goofy as hell, but played with a straight face that’d make Yeezy Season models proud. To get your fill, check out Bates’ Instagram--it’s full of streetwear-infused pop iconography.
Some have misidentified Simpsonwave as a new genre, but the phenomenon is just an extension of vaporwave. Vaporwave, the internet’s elevator music, alchemizes elements of retrofuturism, jpegs and gifs, VHS-era effects, and syrupy EDM into gold. The musicians featured in Simpsonwave music videos are established vaporwave artists, such as HOME and El Hombre. Predictably, Simpsonwave’s stamp is that it cuts in footage from The Simpsons nearly 600 episodes. Simpsonwave’s hardly a revolution, but it does present a interesting challenge to the aspiring video editor: how does one draw from a comedic source, and make it feel withered and melancholic? But forget the definitions–the ideal way to understand the wave is to submerse yourself in a neverending Simpsonwave playlist. Love the machine.
It’s early days yet for Simpsonwave and Simpsons streetwear, but we’re hopeful. After all, it’s already managed to get people talking about The Simpsons with interest in 2016. Good job, internet!
Images courtesy of Highsnobiety, Instagram.
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