When 19-year-old Violet Sky answers my video call, she looks exactly as I pictured. Her hair is permed. There are ‘80s movie posters on the wall behind her. Were we not chatting over Google Meet, I’d think we were having a sleepover in 1985. 

That’s what it feels like to scroll Sky’s Instagram, @glitterwave80s. She and her 27,000 followers share a love of ‘80s culture, but Sky takes it to the next level. Her favorite movie is No Small Affair. Her favorite band is Shy Talk, who only have one album that’s not available on streaming platforms—but that’s okay, because Sky listens to all her music on cassettes using her green Sharp boombox. It goes without saying that all her clothes are thrifted from the 80s. Her haircut is ‘80s-inspired, too. Her love of the ‘80s isn’t a schtick, it’s just who she is, even while attending college with her 2020-era peers to study the music industry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“I always liked vintage things. I didn't really know how to incorporate it into my life though,” she explains. “Then going into college in August 2018, they had a thrift store in town. I cut my hair and kept buying and buying clothes and random things I'd find. That's when it really took off and became a lifestyle.”

Right now, escaping from the modern world to the ‘80s sounds like a dream, which is perhaps why Sky says she’s received a ton of new attention these past few months. Now she wants to see just how big things can get (and I’m not just talking about her hair).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What is it about the ‘80s that you’re drawn to?

I just love the music so much. The synth and the fake drum beats and certain guitar sounds. The fashion was so bright and bold and different and not many people really cared what anyone thought of them and they kind of just did whatever they wanted. There was no one clear popular thing. There were so many different sub cultures that were popular at that point, so it allows for a lot of creativity.

Do you dress in these clothes every day, or is it just for Instagram?

Every part of my life. I dress like this 24/7.

How did you learn about ‘80s fashion?

I had to learn how to do it from pictures and figure it out. I cut my own layers cause I didn't trust anybody else because nobody does these styles anymore. Then I just started practicing, especially with the makeup. It's all trial and error. I finally found a way to curl my hair that worked for me and then recently I got a perm.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Do you own any modern items?

I have an iPhone. My laptop, which I'm on, but I always try to hide those things. Sometimes I'll have my charger out [in a picture] and I'm like, Oh no, now I've ruined it. I have to go back and redo it again. 

What kind of reactions do people have to your style?

Some people come up to me on the street, especially if they're older, they're like, “Oh my God, you look just like me when I was that age in 1988.” And then I'll have other people saying, “Oh that's really cool.” Then there's some kids who look me up and down like "ew" and I'm like, Okay, whatever. Then people on my live streams will comment stuff. Then there's the old men that'll be like, “You look like my high school girlfriend.” And I'm like, No, no.

What about your friends?

All of my in real life friends are “today” people. They've never like asked for a makeover or anything. But my friend Ronnie [who goes by @ronnie.wheels on Instagram], we borrow each other's clothes, so I'll do her hair if we're hanging out and make-up and stuff.

Do you make money from your Instagram account?

I have done some sponsored things. I've advertised for a sock company, the ‘80s loud socks. I've promoted people's music before, if it's ‘80s related. I'll sponsor anything that's ‘80s-related. There are some brands I'd love to work with. I just like to keep posting things to see how big it gets. My TikTok also kind of blew up, too.

Who are your followers?

It's a whole mix of demographics. I have Baby Boomers and Gen X who grew up in the ‘80s and it reminds them of their childhood. And then I have a whole ‘80s community now who's my age, even some adults are in it, too. 

An online ‘80s community? Have you all met each other?

We're all over the world. I don't really know anybody in my vicinity, aside from my friend, Ronnie, but so far we haven't done a meet up just cause it's so spaced out. But we want to in the future.