‘Do you prefer ‘fashion victim’ or ‘sartorially challenged’?’
Did you catch Will Smith’s recent TV reunion with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Alfonza Ribeiro, which saw them remix The Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap? I thought so. And this can only mean one thing: the 90s are officially back, and in a big way. With R&B nights dominating the coolest clubs, crops tops ruling the high-street, and films like Clueless becoming cult hits, this era has officially taken over. Whilst perhaps it’s because we all want to channel a young Kate Moss in that sheer dress, cigarette in hand, Johnny Depp in tow, it seems to be a nostalgia for the past that has made this unlikely trend so current.
It’s undeniable that fashion trends are cyclical and reflect the style of past eras – Alexa Chung emulating a 1960s Jane Birkin, the punk theme at this year’s Met Gala, and the resurrection of 1980s This Is England style Dr. Martens, anyone? However, the people now rocking Angela Chase’s oversized plaid shirts and Kelly Kapowski’s floral two-piece, were born in the 1990s. These people have baby photos of themselves in denim jumpsuits not dissimilar to the ones seen in Urban Outfitters today.
So why the current obsession? The average age of the fashion elite is at an all time low. Control over the fashion we consume today has fallen into the hands of youthful bloggers that have taken over the industry – and they’ve brought their childhood memories with them. Scrunchies, jelly shoes, and high-waisted ‘Mom’ jeans – these are all items we’ve cringed over for the past fifteen years, and yet today they’re coveted by every 20-something on the high-street. The rise in vintage and second hand shops has meant that this trend is more accessible and wearable than ever – a middle finger to the high-end clothing we’ve coveted in the past. With self-assertion of their generation, a postmodern sartorial irony is being embraced by the youth of today.
And it isn’t just fashion that’s reminiscing of a more pixelated past. Websites like Buzzfeed are constantly giving us photographic highlights of the 90s, and the popularity of Instagram lies in the fact that it uses vintage filters to make the present look like the past. With both technology and fashion continuously evolving, we seem to be seeking the safety and comfort of the past. What used to be cringe-worthy is now current, but its appeal lies in its’ familiarity. Recognise those Topshop polka-dot overalls? That’s because you saw Sister Sister’s Tia and Tamara donning them eighteen years ago. Liking that Beyond Retro plaid skirt? Cher was rocking it in Clueless in 1995. The danger here, however, is that the 90s trend will at some point soon become ‘over done’ – another era will take over, and crop tops will be banished to the back of our wardrobes once again. But that’s the beauty of fashion – it may be ever changing, but if the future looks too scary, you can always rely on the past for style inspiration.
For as long as the likes of Cara Delevingne and Rihanna are rocking dungarees and backpacks, the undeniably cool, tongue-in-cheek attitude of this era will reign supreme. We’re going back to the 90s – Kelly Kapowski, eat your heart out.