Myra Magdalen films every single TikTok video against a wall of old keyboards in her bathroom.
“I was thrifty with my mom, maybe even a year ago, and I saw a big cardboard box filled only with dusty keyboards. And my first thought was like, I have to put this on a wall, ”says Magdalen, the 25-year-old artist and designer from Alabama who exploded onto the short-form video sharing platform just last year.
After receiving a TikTok at the start of the pandemic for the same reasons everyone else did (curiosity and boredom), he began inventing clothes made from pieces found in the same tech cemeteries. Slowly, this led her to work with different types of old-school gadgets and inanimate objects for her #GRWM videos: a CD was remixed into a series; an old white keyboard turned into a crop top; wired headphones were used to style her hair; and more.
Trend researcher and TikTok creator Agustina Panzoni (@thealgorythm) indicates that the idea of wearing things and objects “the wrong way” is on the rise with what she calls “sculptural style”. Trending mostly on TikTok, the creators experimented with creating weird and misshapen silhouettes using pieces in their cabinets but giving them an unexpected shape.
“It comes as a response to the ubiquity of fast fashion models, offering style enthusiasts an exclusive alternative,” says Panzoni. “This shift has the potential to change what we see as clothing.”
Magdalene’s style could be interpreted as sculptural in its own right; the creator attaches inanimate objects to jackets, skirts and other garments in her closet, elevating an ordinary dress into a work of art. But instead of using soft or “thneed-like” pieces, work with real hard objects and vintage tech products. One of her most recent looks includes her dazzling outfit with purple and blue book lights.
“I grew up in the early 2000s, so a lot of things have a nostalgic factor,” adds Magdalen, who finds nearly all of her accessories and clothing items at local thrift stores in her hometown.
As things like traditional TV remotes, clickable keyboards, bulky desktop computers, and CDs are slowly becoming more and more obsolete (even the end of the BlackBerry is finally here), these elements could begin to be seen as a more aesthetically appealing alternative to hypermodern technology. of today. Along with that, those throwback objects are considered cultural symbols associated with a simpler time. Closing a flip phone at the end of a call, the simple aspect of wearing wired headphones and typing text with a real, tangible keyboard are some of the nostalgic feelings that come from early 2000s technology.
“I think back to how people who identified with the hipster culture bought typewriters in response to blogging and Tumblr,” says Panzoni. “However, that didn’t mean that all of a sudden we were sending typewritten letters and reading typewritten journals… we kept texting and reading blogs. In fact, typewriters have been used in an aesthetic sense for content creation. “
While it’s not in full swing yet, Y2K technology could have a similar renaissance. One generation’s trash drawer is another generation’s source of inspiration. Last December, when little TikToker Kira Vaden (@sailorkiki) posted a video of her using iPod shuffle as hair clips, her comments section was in turmoil with everything from people insulting her for mistakenly calling it “iPod. Nano “to people who enjoyed creativity.
“The emphasis on tactility is also seen in technological trends,” says Panzoni. “Gen-Z are gravitating towards analog technology and wired headphones; Vintage iPods, cell phones and keyboards are in trend. “
Similar to Magdalen, Vaden was drawn to the device due to a mix of childhood nostalgia and today’s desire to make a fashion statement. But ultimately, what inspired her to buy a used iPod shuffle from eBay was the fit she’d loved since she was a child and the gadget’s simple five-button design.
“Obviously we are moving forward in technology, but I feel we lack the simplicity that makes many of these things of yesteryear beautiful,” says the 23-year-old.
Playing with style on TikTok is one thing, but while Magdalen’s style fluctuates between fashion and sculpture, her outfits don’t just exist within the confines of her keyboard-covered bathroom. Among many other comments, one of his most common questions about his videos (as well as other experimental style makers) is “Have you ever worn them?”
“I’ll tell you,” says Magdalen, who has amassed over 155,000 curious followers since opening her account. “There wasn’t a single dress I wore that I wouldn’t have worn. And I have consumed many ”.
That’s ultimately the question: is it a whisper of an upcoming aesthetic that will have a blend of avant apocalypse, 1960s space age, and even Y2K? Or is it just an experimental style that will be acquired by some but maybe it will make it to the mainstream in different ways?
Whether or not someone can call Magdalen’s style experimental or not, it could be a sign that technology, outdated or not, could be a way to make a fashion statement simply because it’s so readily available. The whole idea of what is considered “vintage” has changed, so much so that something as simple as a pink Motorola Razr could bring a sense of comfort to a highly digitized world, while still reminiscent of a bubblegum pink, cyber Y2K aesthetic.
“I think our interest in ‘stupid’ technology comes as a response to the omnipresence of the Internet and social media,” says Panzoni. “In times when social media companies are literally trying to figure out how to get you to spend nearly the entire day immersed in them, it makes sense that we are trying to embrace the technology that takes us to simpler times, away from social media.” .