My Thrifty Surfy Aesthetic

When I really started to think about this post, I was worried I didn’t quite have an aesthetic. I see people with a continuous aesthetic all around me. Instagram seems to be the hub of personal aesthetics. I know a lot of people who like to keep their page to a certain color palette or theme. I hardly use instagram to begin with, let alone do I have an aesthetic for what I post. I usually just post whatever I think is cool, I could care less how it looks.

I do seem to tend towards the color scheme of red and black. A lot of my clothes are red + black, my computer was build to be completely black, all components on my desk except the desk itself are black but I did not really feel as if that was ‘my aesthetic’. I then started to look at my clothes and I realized a large majority of them, probably ~%90, are thrifted or handed down. I grew up in a very money conscious household since we really did not have a lot of money to go around outside of basic needs. This meant I ended up wearing a lot of clothes my mom would buy at thrift stores and as I grew up, I started to receive a lot of surf shirts from my dad since he grew up in Hawaii and was obviously a big surfer himself.

Thrifted clothes to me does not necessarily mean ‘old’ looking. When I go to a thrift store, I like to find obscure and unique clothes. Something about wearing an article of clothing that looks warn tells a story to me, and some times it is just genuinely funny to represent a school I have absolutely no association with. This is how I’ve ended up with shirts from random schools across the country that I would never actually attend.

I also like old school movie/TV clothing, or really unique movie/TV related shirts. This is different to me from modern shirts for movies/TV, I like shirts that were sold when the movie was out. Getting that clothing when the movies came out was really the only way to obtain those articles of clothing, so finding them in a thrift store is a fun relic of the past. A lot of the shirts I find are admittedly modern recreations in order to cater to nostalgia, but I still enjoy finding those at thrift stores if they look worn.

Being the son of a Hawaiin surfer meant I got A LOT of surfing clothing items. The surfing aesthetic on it’s own could certainly be it’s own aesthetic. The tropical vibes, laid back nature, and sporty feel are all something that really set them apart from other sport type wear. But since I was passed down old shirts by my dad, thrifted surfing shirts just capture the history of surfing and show how it has evolved both as a sport and it’s presentation. There are some shirts my dad has owned even since I was a baby and I’ve even inherited shirts that he wore in high school and college.

Whether I intend to or not, I can almost guarantee that I will incorporate surfing vibes or a thrifted aspect of my final project. I was initially thinking of a graduation gift for myself, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that making something for my parents would mean a lot more to them than a piece of paper saying I graduated college. The thrifted aesthetic will certainly appeal to my mom, who to this day will send me texts and pictures when she gets a good thrift, and my dad, who is always giving me extra surf related items he has laying around.

Overall, I don’t think I have an aesthetic that makes me stick out in a crowd. But what I enjoy about thrifting my clothes, and surf related clothing specifically, is that it is usually incredibly unique. After all these years, it is a miracle that any of those specific clothes ended up in my possession. So while I may not stick out visually, it is fun to wear something that only a handful of people have kept well enough to stand the test of time.



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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Ben,

    It was very interesting to learn about the influences on your personal aesthetic! I also love graphic tshirts, thrifting them sounds super fun, I’m sure you’re able to find some really interesting things. Does this personal aesthetic have any influence on your final project?

  • Hey Ben,

    I love thrifting! I think the unique designs and merchandise from old events and TV shows are just cool because they have a meaning and a history (also they usually have interesting retro aesthetics). I also think that its cool that your dad gives you his old surfing stuff as sort of like a way to pass down something of him to you that you can appreciate. I think that using that theme for your final project could be interesting. If you start by thinking of what your parents would cherish if you gave them something, you could come up with something really cool. Whether its CU themed or something else, It could be a good place to start.


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