The Rise of Anime Streetwear

Nostalgia runs deep in our veins. As a ‘90s kid, the best thing was to experience the greatness that it was Saturday. Saturday mornings was when all the cartoons would broadcast. That included a lot of english dubbed anime series, which came around during the late ‘80s with shows like Voltron and Robotech. They were translated and re-cut for the American audiences. As ‘90s kids grew into teens and young adults, shows became embedded in subculture, repurposed with a rebellious bent.

In the late ‘90s and early-2000s anime became more mainstream in America. Cartoon Network’s programming later featured more anime shows. There are more and more series being dubbed for the American audiences. They created the Toonami franchise which brought over episodes of decades-long series such as Mobile Suit Gundam, and began re-airing old episodes of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Also along their side, Pokemon was also reairded but it had a movement of its own. Newer series like Full Metal Alchemist, One-piece, and Naruto came out and they were being translated for American audiences and released faster than their predecessors. 

Anime has been in nerd territory for a while. Up until now, a series of collaborations have been increasing, looking towards anime for inspiration. In the West, cartoons are made mostly for kids. But in Japan, anime is  a genre that is popular within adults and it is a norm there in Japan. There are titles like post-apocalypse drama Akira which grapple with incredulity adult themes. Naturally, street wear and anime work so well together because both mediums are heavily depending on creating a strong visual language. So when you mix both of them together, there should be some synergy there already.

Anime characters began to inspire streetwear and skate oriented brands. In the ‘90s, Jeremy Klein’s brand, Hook-Ups, was one of the very first to collaborate with anime (Hundreds). He added anime and manga-influenced graphics on the gear for skaters. Gear such as skate deck, grip tape and clothing (Hundreds). It started to unify in the mid-2000s, when they collaborated with The Hundreds for a project in 2013 (Hundreds). The project mixed Klein’s motif with The Hundreds’ mascot, Adam Bomb (Hundreds). They collaborated and created gear that features motion lines and a variety of anime style art (Hundreds).

Another early adopter of anime in fashion was Prada. In 2007, the house designed clothes for a Japanese film, Appleseed Ex Machina. Miuccia Prada was a fan of the series in 2004, telling Fashion Television: “Watching the previous ‘Appleseed,’ I thought that the expression of contrast in man and machine, violence and love was wonderful. I designed something contemporary that matches the movie’s feelings.” (Prada Nightwear).

New anime was continuously being released and the more popular it became. More and more people became more interested in anime. As anime became more exposed to the world, in 2016, more luxury brands decided to collaborate with anime artists. Louis Vuitton was able to get a license for a character from Square Enix, Lightning (LIGHTNING BECOMES…). The character was designed by Isamu Kamikuryo for Final Fantasy XIII. They decided to star Lightning in its Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign. Nicolas Ghesquiere, the art director of Louis Vuitton women’s clothing,  said in a press release:”It’s clear that the virtual  aesthetic of video games is predominant in this collection. If we push the reflection about heroines, or what might constitute the nature of a woman whose actions can be so courageous that she becomes superior and iconic, it becomes obvious that a virtual entity integrates with the founding principles of  the Maison. Lightning is the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life. She is also the symbol of new pictorial processes. How can you create an image that goes beyond the classic principles  of  photography and design? Lightning  heralds a new era of expression” (LIGHTNING BECOMES…).

Later, brands such as Supreme collaborated with anime artists. This was when people saw that it was a natural fit between anime and streetwear (Gorsler). In 2017, a Supreme x Akira drop featured the iconic art style on a collection of polo shirts, worker jackets and accessories (Gorsler).  There had been similar collaborations before, but few earned the same level of hype. Supreme at this time was powerful and was the hype everyone wanted to get in on (Gorsler). Uniqlo, a brand founded in Japan, has a variety of collaborations. Collaborations such as Gundam and Sailor Moon (McGarrigle). They just released a line of Naruto and Dragonball Z T-shirts in the US, with each design more of the retro comic strip variety as opposed to computer-aided and tech designs (McGarrigle).×1500/

There are also people who are obsessed over both mediums, both anime and streetwear. It manifests the streetwear realm to aspiring artists and designers trying mock up idealized versions of non-existent products and collaborations. Jynwaye Foo is an artist who loves to draw anime and loves streetwear (McGarrigle). She decided to create a brand with her anime art style designed on the variety of products. From shirts and hoodies to sides bags and inhalers (McGarrigle).

What this comes down to is that anime and streetwear are both highly active communities full of passionate and engaged nerds. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. When two things you really like come together, it’s as if one validates the other. It’s not surprising  that today, millennials from around the globe are using social media as a platform to exchange their real-life interpretations of childhood memories.

Cited Sources:

Gorsler, Fabian. “Supreme X ‘Akira’ FW17 Collection: Here’s Your First Look.” Highsnobiety. 30 Oct. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2021.

Hundreds, Bobby. “THE HUNDREDS X HOOK-UPS.” The Hundreds. The Hundreds, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2021.


McGarrigle, Lia. “Jynwaye Foo’s Anime Customizations Turn Streetwear Into Art.” Highsnobiety. 26 Feb. 2019. Web. 17 Mar. 2021.

McGarrigle, Lia. “Uniqlo UT Collab With Cult Anime “One Piece” for a New Capsule.” Highsnobiety. 16 June 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2021.

“Prada Nightwear.” Appleseed. Web. 17 Mar. 2021.

3D Rendered Cars

A trend lately in the automotive industry is artists using 3D rendering programs such as Autodesk’s 3D Max, Sketchup, Rhino and even Adobe Photoshop to remake various different cars (Novitsky). They can either be tasteful or offensive to car enthusiasts. The rendered cars could have a massively wide body kit, a van that is turned into a monster truck or even be flying because it has thrusters. There are endless opportunities when it comes to the world of car renderings.

When it comes to designing cars, it first started with concept drawings with paper and pencil. As technology advanced, with the rise of computers, 3D rendering became the main tool when it comes to designing cars (Novitsky). Rendered designs allow designers to experiment and show more of their design compared to pencil and paper. Sometimes on paper it is harder to create what envision and put it all on paper. It is an expression of their artistic soul and creative mind.  

Since renderings have become the norm now for those who design cars or car parts, designers are able to become more experimental and create more content (Novitsky). Drawing and sketching concepts takes a longer time on paper compared to creating renders. It is also easier to go back and fix whatever mistakes. Technology is more forgiving than paper and pencil. There are some car enthusiasts that create renders to save money on car parts. They can render any parts that are in the market such as  wheels, fenders, hood scoops, etc., to see what it would look like on their car and to save money. Car enthusiasts who are tech-savvy like to create either new concept cars or concept body kits and share it to the other car enthusiasts in the world. It is an expression of their artistic soul and creative mind.
BradBuild Widebody BMW M4 Camper renders 3D Youtube Tesla Model S Off-roading Camper Outdoors BFGoodrich

For this article, I would like to feature Bradbuilds. Brad is a Instagram user and car enthusiast who creates concept art mostly art/renders via 3D modeling (Laurel). The work that he creates and renders is different from everyone. He takes original cars and renders the car to be something completely different from what the original designers wanted the car to be. For example, the new BMW M4 is seen to be a high end daily driven car or a track car but he would turn it into a truck/rally car by adding meatier tires, increasing the suspension height of the car and lastly, adding a camper (Laurel). The little campers are equipped with a kitchenette and a bed with little solar panels that would power the kitchenette (Laurel). He went to college but dropped to pursue a full career as a concept artist due to the successful renders he created while in college. On his Instagram page, you can see he has worked on a bunch of different cars, from classic Nissans and Toyotas to luxurious BMW and Audi cars. His classic style is to give the cars a wide body treatment. Sometimes he would post polls on Instagram to have his fans to help pick what parts would be used in the final version of the render. 

r/Stance - 1st Karma bodykit in the U.S. Wekfest LA @flpdrm

With the endless possibilities with 3D rendering programs. Sometimes the renders we see on the interweb can be turned into reality. Monaco Auto Design is a company that started from an idea, to create automotive design and to experiment with renderings(Monaco Auto Design). They recognized the need for high quality digital renderings and decided to create premium renderings for the automotive industry. After a period of time, one of their works became popular and the car enthusiasts around the world were ecstatic about it (KARMA Widebody Kit – Exclusive Distributor). The widebody render of the BRZ/FRS series grabbed the attention of DSG Performance and decided to make that render come to life(Monaco Auto Design). The rendered body kit was then manufactured and sold as the KARMA body kit for the BRZ/FRS series. The body kit features cleans lines, with wide arches and it was really something different from the other body kits that were in the market (KARMA Widebody Kit – Exclusive Distributor). It was a body kit that completely changed the way of how the BRZ/FRS series looked. The kit included a front bumper with a diffuser, rear bumper with a diffuser, over fenders for both the rear and front, side skirts with an underboard, a ducktail wing, and lastly the KARMA Emblem(KARMA Widebody Kit – Exclusive Distributor). Majority of the renders are usually just pictures. Recently these renders have been taken to a newer level.

Since these renders are created in the third dimension, this new wave of rendered automotive content has completely upgraded. Instead of pictures, people are now creating videos to present their redereings. This is a big improvement since viewers are able to imagine what it would look like while they are the roads, while being driven. These rendered videos allow the viewers to see more details and thought that has been put into the cars.  Artists like BradBuilds have picked up this concept as well. The person who made this concept popular on social media is Vishnu Suresh, better known as Zephyr_Designz on Instagram. Like other 3D renderers, his content was mainly images of his rendered cars. Since he has some experience in creating videos, he decided to combine the two together to create these awesome 3D animations of concept cars.

Cited Sources:

“KARMA Widebody Kit – Exclusive Distributor.” DSG Performance,

Laurel, Drei. “Someone Went Ahead and Turned the BMW M4 into a Go-Anywhere Camper.” Https://, 11 Nov. 2020,

Monaco Auto Design,

Novitsky, Alex. “ Staring At Car Renders Until Your Create One Yourself.” Render Farm & Cloud Rendering Services, 

Art in the Car Industry

Oil Painting on Canvas 'Drift Day', Medium Original Wall Art of car, Modern  Hand Painted Home Decor for Living Room by Mari Gru - Mari Gru Studio

The automotive scene has been continuously growing throughout the world. It has an effect on virtually every single person on the planet. The scene has seen to be that it has influenced or had a part in influencing almost every other industry. Automotive scene has influenced and inspired different artistic mediums such as TV shows, movies, books magazines, photography and art. Without the industry, movies and TV shows would have been completely different.

It has created an influence of cars on people, society and culture. Especially in this country, cars have remarkably become integrated not only into society but it also became part of culture. The design of cars begins with a concept that is either drawn or shaped. Countless of artists are not only inspired to have cars in their art, but they also have been inspired to do art solely because of their love for cars. As the car scene grows, the amount of car art grows as well.

There are a lot of artists especially on Instagram that post commissioned drawings of other peoples cars or simply just drawing of cars on the daily. One artist that I want to feature is Andy Ciger or _subclass which is what he is known for on Instagram. I want to feature him because he created his own unique style that is different from other artists on Instagram. Ciger is from a small village in the middle of Slovakia. He started creating art during high school and went to college for a few years but dropped out to continue to create art and as well as some freelance work.

His style is similar to comic books. It is a minimalistic art style where he uses minimalistic lines to create the form or shape of the various cars he draws. Unlike other artists found on Instagram, he draws the cars as well as different background scenarios for each drawing. The car could either be on the street, parked in a garage or in front of a convenience store. Along with his drawings, he creates small graphics that are inspired by the graphics from the 80’s and 90’s. Just from drawing cars for fun and commissions, he got the opportunity to work alongside big companies such Nike, Puma and a little car magazine called XSMAG. He creates and designs graphics and illustrations for their social media platforms. Since he is a freelancer, he spends the majority of his time generating ideas for the future of his brand. Recently, he created a calendar for XSMAG where he features his drawings for each month. His work is fantastic and I suggest that you should check out his artwork and give him some support. He has a lot of ideas planned for the future. 

Moving away from drawings, there are different artists that come  from YouTube that create and design their own brand. You could simply call them YouTubers but I see them as artists since they design and produce their own products. This crowd of YouTubers I am talking about are the car YouTubers.

The products they put out are things such as stickers, decals and even clothing for the car community. In many different areas of the country, there are a variety of car crews. Usually each car crew would create their own merchandise and sell them to their fans and help exploit themselves as a group.

Good Times W/ Good Friends - WekFest San Jose 2018 - YouTube

I have followed this group since the beginning, Illiminate, they are a group of friends that are located in San Jose, California. They work collaboratively to design and sell clothing and they started by selling their products locally from the trunk of their cars. They used the money to grow, to design and to create more products. Products such as stickers/decals, lanyards, license plates frames and etc. After two years, they decided to create a YouTube channel to attract and gain a new audience for their products.


YouTube was a gateway for them to expand their brand. They were successful since each individual was funny and unique which together makes an entertaining group to watch grow. Nowadays people who are in the car scene know them because of how popular they are on YouTube; reaching almost 1 million subscribers. Their success allowed them to build cars as well as buying their dream cars. Sometimes they would build a car and give them away to one of their viewers in a giveaway to thank them for their support. 

Your Chance To Win A Vortech Supercharged Subaru BRZ Thanks to ILLIMIN –  Vortech Superchargers

There are so many artists who love and draws cars nowadays. Going on the car illustrations hashtag on Instagram, you can see the variety of different styles of art, created with different mediums, traditional or digital mediums.