The E3 video game expo last week gave us many sneak peeks into the future of gaming, including a fantastic trailer for the return of cyberpunk epic Deus Ex (see the end of this article for the video!). For this edition of the AbbyShot Fashion Institute we thought it was the perfect time to explore the cyberpunk genre and its many influences on AbbyShot designs.
The term “cyberpunk” originated from the literary field (a word combining cybernetics and punk) and was first coined back in 1983 by author Bruce Bethke in his short story (appropriately) titled “Cyberpunk”. Other writers were simultaneously jumping into this budding genre, including now household-names William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. Cyberpunk stories are usually set in a near-future world where new technology has unintended consequences and feature anti-hero protagonists (normally hackers) who fight against the established social and technological order of their world.
It didn’t take long for these ambitious stories to capture the imagination of filmmakers, and in fact many pre-1983 films are considered cyberpunk classics today, with one big example being Ridley Scott’s futuristic film noir Blade Runner (1982). It’s said that William Gibson was nearly scared off of finishing his now classic cyberpunk novel Neuromancer because he thought readers would assume he copied the visual texture of Blade Runner for his book. Luckily the cyberpunk genre turned out to be a huge “playground” for writers and filmmakers with many distinctive stories soon added into the mix. The film noir influences seen in Blade Runner remain a staple of many cyberpunk tales, with Rick Deckard’s futuristic detective’s trench coat influencing later cyberpunk fashion (and of course, AbbyShot!).
Japanese manga and anime, for example, produced many cyberpunk tales including the 1980’s anime heavyweight Akira as well as popular anime series Ghost in the Shell. The young biker protagonist in Akira, Kaneda, wore a red jacket with the pill on the back, which has become an iconic image recognized worldwide by genre fans. Ghost in the Shell, meanwhile, has a protagonist, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who is part-woman, part-cyborg (another common theme in cyberpunk) and who wears distinctive clothing that combines military stylings and dark leathers along with Japanese and futuristic elements. One unique clothing item from the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series inspired AbbyShot to create the GIG Shrug, a ladies’ leather cyberpunk shrug unlike any other.
And let’s not forget the 1999 film that brought cyberpunk to new heights: The Matrix. This ground-breaking and mind-bending film followed a computer hacker who became all-powerful in a computer-generated world that just happens to be… our reality. The clothing in this film took many fashion elements that were already brewing in the cyberpunk genre and pushed them to the attention of the mainstream. The flowing black trench coats, the gloves, the sunglasses, the leather boots… all these elements combine to form an iconic look. There’s a reason why AbbyShot’s Matrix style coat, the Lobby Trench, is still going strong after all these years!
The Matrix then went on to greatly influence the newest wave of entertainment, video games, with one of the most prominent examples being the Deus Ex series. This recent E3 trailer we referred to in our intro proudly displays many of the cyberpunk themes discussed in this article along with, of course, some very cool clothing…
We hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the world of cyberpunk and we’ll see you next Thursday for a new edition of the AbbyShot Fashion Institute!