I’m a 90s kid with real-life reference to specific pieces of childhood nostalgia, and because of that adoration coupled with my generally unorthodox nature, I often fawn over the idea of what it might have been like to experience the 90s culture from a teenage mall goth club kid perspective. Today's counter-culture 90's children wish we could raise our teenage freak flag in the decade that started the grunge mentality. It is this nostalgic longing for such aesthetics that has ultimately led to an internet-based cyberculture that is responsible for taking samples of early 90s pop-culture and turning it into a completely new way of life, often through heavy use of different visuals and blogging platforms such as Tumblr. The 1990s acts as a petri dish for the reinvention of our fondest memories into new and inspired avenues of creative self-expression, especially in the realms of what we listen to and how we dress. It feels electrifyingly fresh, but is firmly rooted with impressions engrained from our past.
If I take this modality of thinking and pair it with my natural fondness for Japanese culture or various metaphysical philosophies, then I am left with an ability to more easily identify the origins of nu-goth, pastel goth, pastel grunge, kawaii grunge, seapunk, icepunk, slimepunk or any other internet-based subculture that resonates with my personal interests. They become much more substantial than any sort of casually accepted prerequisites, such as “having turquoise hair” or “wearing flower headbands”. It is more about the emotional connection that these different physical aspects invoke within the individual, not the generic emblematic portrayal of their respective stereotype. People who focus solely on the physical attributes of these niches do not grasp the bigger picture, and are doomed to rely solely on external sources instead of becoming their own.
It is really not surprising that many of these hashtag genres are dripping with heavy surrealism when you consider that most of the ideologies represented are coming from several individual's subconscious minds. It takes a lot of various images to be able to properly convey something as abstract as an idea or feeling. These subcultures represent a group mentality that is ultimately left open to interpretation by the viewer, in a manner similar to using various symbols to decipher your dreams. The imagery used in Seapunk triggered the inspiration for several other hybrid-genres to emerge under a separate sphere of influence with their own unique common interests, most notably Slimepunk. This also explains why so many of these tags are short-lived; their content is relentlessly evolving so rapidly, that a lot of the smaller niches have already switched gears before they had any real chance of gaining some sort of group momentum in the process.
What then, do we call this creative mutable entity existing within each of us, equipped with many names and such tremendous transformative power? Perhaps we simply call it inspiration, or happiness: something that is constantly sought after and always fleeting. Inspiration is perpetual, so we chase inspiration in hopes of finally capturing our happiness for good. What I do know, is that pastel things make me happy. Acid wash, DIY and attitude from cats make me happy. Mysticism, 90s Nickelodeon television shows and poorly-misguided celebrity decisions make me happy. If I can encompass all of these truths into one intangible sphere of influence, on top of transforming this force into a variety of material presence, then as long as I am draped in pastel, I'll really be covered in happiness.