Aesthetics Exploration: Techwear

Four people in “traditional” Techwear. [7]
Defining Techwear

Techwear is a fashion movement that focuses on the vertices between aesthetics, utility, and comfort. It is the intersection between aesthetic and pragmatic logic where aspects of high fashion and streetwear are melded with functionality and designed with technology and versatility in mind.  The functionality of techwear focuses on unrestricted movement, breathability, water resistance, and ergonomics. Techwear is characterized by high-tech and high-quality materials that create a futuristic and edgy look. Outfits in this aesthetic usually consist of dark or muted colors, layers, and modular clothing and accessories. This aesthetic is rooted in military-style utilitarianism and East Asian streetwear.

Techwear also consists of many sub-genres due to its development over time and its cultural adaptations. Urbancore is the most popular genre. It appears as a more casual form of Techwear with heavy dystopian, futuristic, and most importantly streetwear influences. Warcore is a darker genre that is heavily influenced by military outfits. It is defined as having a darker palette with a focus on tactical gear and modularity. Techno/Cyberpunk takes a more futuristic spin and often involves brighter colors and high-tech accessories. Lunarcore is by far the least common and is characterized by a lighter palette surrounding whites with a distinct focus on high-end materials and oversized silhouettes. Adventurecore and Sportscore are the most commonly worn yet they tend not to be seen as the Techwear aesthetic as the functionality of the garments is often placed above the aesthetic.


This depicts the varying styles within more casual Techwear that nears the Urbancore sub-catagory.  [8]
History and Development

Techwear has its beginnings in the 1970s with Mountaineers. The mountaineers required uninhibited movement as well as protection from the harsh working conditions. Additionally, in the 1980s wearable tech began to emerge but mostly in military settings. This was the root of the functionality and militant styles that became incorporated into Techwear. As new and more technologically advanced fabrics were developed Techwear began to spread outside the military and hard-labor communities into the sports and adventuring communities. The most notable driver for this was the creation of Goretex in 1969 which offered light-weight water resistance and comfort that had never been seen in a consumer market. At this point, Techwear was still solidly grounded in functionality but this changed in 1990 when a Japanese designer began to use these materials in his designs. This is when Techwear began to become a true subculture and where its roots in Eastern Asian streetwear were planted.

This shows the Gortex jacket that was and still is popular among outdoor athletes and people who work outside. This style is now commonplace for almost every raincoat or heavy winter coat. [3]

As time progressed the Techwear subculture spread and morphed into its current state. There was a spike in interest in the early 2000s due to modern technology that subsequently led Techwear to be adopted by the cosplay, geek, nerd, and anime communities. This led to a major style change from the functional focus of the workers to a more streetwear-influenced aesthetic. This major change also led to a massive increase in popularity in the 2010s. The development in social media platforms and more widespread acceptance of these communities created a larger platform where more and more people began adopting Techwear. Additionally, the Eastern Asian influence increased at this time with many garments resembling traditional styles, and swords specifically katanas became a go-to accessory. Additionally, masks ranging from plain black masks to traditional Japanese and Cyberpunk-inspired masks became a staple accessory in the Techwear aesthetic.


This is a more modern depiction of Techwear that contains aspects of Warcore [2]
Discussion about color

A main characteristic of Techwear is its muted color palette. With the exception of the Cyberpunk sub-genre, Techwear is typically anachromatic. The bleak colors accentuate the tactical and brutalist attributes found in techwear. That being said, when brighter or more saturated colors exist in techwear it tends to be only a few items within an outfit where the rest of the outfit remains anachromatic. This makes the bit of color pop in stark contrast to the rest of the outfit. Additionally, when color is introduced to Techwear it tends to be either very muted color or incredibly bright color. Typically colored items in a Techwear outfit must be the same color or well-coordinated to achieve the uniformity and militant aspects of Techwear.


This shows some of the most colorful Techwear outfits on the market. [2]
This depicts the muted tones and accessory matching often seen in Techwear with color. [6]
Discussion of Gender Expression Within Techwear

In its nature, Techwear leans toward more stereotypically masculine aesthetics with sharply defined lines and loose fits. That being said as Techwear spread a more feminine aspect began to develop. This development led to new expressions of Techwear where tactical skirts, cropped shirts and jackets, and an increase in visible skin initially defined the more feminine side while retaining many aspects defined as more masculine. One common difference in the feminine versus the masculine presentation of tech wear is the tightening of the waist on otherwise loose-fitting garments. Since the introduction of more feminine presentation of Techwear, most garments have become unisex relying on the baggy nature of the clothing to fit most body types. Because of this Techwear lends itself well to non-binary people with edgy tastes and offers an ease in gender expression that is difficult to find with everyday clothing. For example, the two images below are the same person and it is evident that this aesthetic has a large range of expression and perceived gender.

Instagram model Taylor wearing a more “feminine” Techwear outfit. [6]
Instagram model Taylor wearing a more “masculine outfit” [6]
Why Techwear

Personally if find Techwear lovely for many reasons. Notable reasons are the adaptability, high quality, and the blend of comfort and style. I also appreciate the varying expressions and impressions that can be made within the style. However, the best aspect of Techwear to me is the carry capacity. Almost every Techwear outfit has an abundance of pockets and due to its often unisex nature, the pockets are large and allow me to be hands-free without a purse or backpack. I think the range of styles within the Techwear aesthetic and its ability to be adapted to any climate makes it an incredibly versatile aesthetic.

[1]   Cyber TECHWEAR. (2022). When did Techwear start? the origins of Techwear: Cyber TECHWEAR®. CYBER TECHWEAR.       

[2]   FOTU. (2023). Fabric of the Universe. Retrieved 2024, from

[3]   Grailed. (2023). An introduction to techwear – grailed.

[4]   Kinowear. (2022, April 11). Techwear guide – kinowear fashion advice for 2024 and beyond.                                                         

[5]   OREZORIA. (2023, October 9). What is the Techwear aesthetic?: Aesthetics wiki. Orezoria Aesthetic Clothing Marketplace.  

[6]    Rea, T. (2023). Retrieved 2024, from

[7]    Techwear Store. (2024). Four Techwear Models. Retrieved 2024,.

[8]    Tenshi. (n.d.). Urban techwear : What is it and how to adopt this style?. TENSHI. https://tenshi-                                                      

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I personally find this aesthetic really cool. I enjoyed learning about the multitude of different sub-genres of tech wear as well as the history of how it evolved. I am curious if there is a “hypebeast” aspect to these types of clothes where particular brands are more desired, or if it is more so about the visual expression of the clothes over the brand.

  • First off, great job on this post! The featured image really caught my attention and I ended up learning a lot about this really interesting aesthetic. I thought your choice of sections, including one about subgenres, was well thought out! I also thought showing two images of the same person wearing two different gender expressions of Techwear was helpful for displaying the variations in expression within the aesthetic. You mention that this aesthetic is rooted in Eastern Asia, but I wonder how much it has spread to other parts of the world. I have not seen much of this style in America, but I would be interested to know how prevalent Techwear is here.


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