Aesthetics Wiki

Indie is a broad aesthetic based on individuality; its name comes from the word "independent". The indie aesthetic includes a variety of independent music genres, including shoegaze. This can also include the indie movie genre, as many movies in the genre add to the original indie aesthetic. The version of the indie aesthetic from the 2000s to 2012 is now named Indie Sleaze. The later iteration of the indie aesthetic in 2019-2020 is labeled Indie Kid. Other variations are usually unlabeled and just generically called indie.


The Smiths 1985

The Smiths were an 1980s indie band from the UK

The indie aesthetic originated in the 1980s in the United Kingdom. Sometimes referred to as “Twee”, indie fashion mainly consisted of striped t-shirts, jeans, mop tops and anoraks. Musically, indie consisted primarily of jangling guitar bands, typified by the C86 compilation, which marked a pivotal moment in the codification of indie as a distinct music genre and aesthetic sensibility. Indie music became known as "indiepop" and fans were referred to as "cuties", "anoraks", or "indie kids".

In music as in fashion, indie was a rejection of 80s mainstream culture and was heavily inspired by the 1960s. In the late 80s the "Baggy" aesthetic emerged, centered around Manchester (or "Madchester"), marking an aesthetic shift in indie toward brighter, baggier clothing. Occurring in the context of the UK's Second Summer of Love and the rise of acid house, "indie dance" combined 60s psychedelia with modern dance music. After peaking around 1990, indie returned to a more muted color palette and musical flavor with the rise of Shoegaze and Grunge in the early 90s. In the mid-90s, indie music peaked commercially with Britpop, a movement whose aesthetic and musical brashness contrasted sharply with indie's "Twee" image during the 80s (continued in the 90s by indiepop labels such as Sarah Records).

20th-century Indie has experienced several revivals or reinterpretations, including 2010s Twee fashion, 2000s and early 2010s Indie Sleaze, Art Hoe and the Indie Kid aesthetic of today. The Indie aesthetic was, in many ways, similar to the Pastel aesthetic, however, the color is paler and even less intense. Another key difference between the two is while the Pastel aesthetic conveys a sense of innocence and sweetness, the Indie aesthetic conveys more of a darker, moodier tone. Photos in this aesthetic often have sad text overlaid to further communicate the mood. Indie blogs also often feature photos of ornate architectural spaces, snow-covered landscapes, and bruised skin. Photos may be low quality and grainy for the vintage look.


Old school Indie fashion was pretty vague and unassuming. Many pieces were thrifted and casual, a bit more digestible and easier to assemble than Grunge although very similar. It does take some influence from Normcore due to how wide the spectrum of the fashion is however old school indie fashion had more characteristics that made it look less basic, the common theme is individuality so personal preference is the biggest value present. Some other common factors include darker colors and alternative tendencies.

  • Band and brand t-shirts
  • Cardigans
  • Jeans
  • Tennis shoes, boots, Chuck Taylors
  • Jean, leather jackets
  • Flannel
  • Rayban sunglasses
  • Skullcaps and beanies
  • little to no jewelry
  • Natural hair and makeup


Independently released music is not directly financially dependent on any of the four major labels (WMG, Sony BMG, EMI, and Universal). Specifically, Indie rock, a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1970s, is very popular in indie circles. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock. Popular musicians in the Indie scene include:


External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.





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