Wednesday, 31 July 2013

90's fashion revival...but why?

90's Fashion trends.

It won't come as a shock to most of you when I point out that we are in the midst of 90's revival and have been for some time. It seems that fashion, film and music have all been building up to this point for the past few years. Crop tops, bomber jackets, printed silk shirts, platforms, jelly shoes and even scrunchies have all made their way back onto the catwalk and into our wardrobes. I, for one, never thought I would see a scrunchie again, but I found myself several weeks ago in American Apparel purchasing one, fluorescent yellow of all colours. I also now own not 1, not 2, but 8 different crop tops in a variety of styles, colours and sleeve lengths. If this is what we, as customers are buying, then it is undeniable that the 90's are back.

crop top, topshop crop,printed crop, 90's crop
Crop tops currently in stock on the British high street from Topshop, River Island and ASOS.

Footwear in particular has begun to mimic that of a previous generation. In the 90's platform shoes were huge, in terms of popularity and in the more literal sense. Championed by girl power group the Spice Girls, and splashed all over the media, everyone wanted a pair. I distinctly remember having a pair of double function platform trainers that I absolutely loved, they also turned into roller skates. Imagine my horror/delight(those two are so often closely intertwined) when I found some roller flatforms on Nastygal yesterday.

roller shoe, flatform, 90's, footwear, platform trainer
Roller shoes then and now.

Flatforms seem to be the 2013 take on the 1990's platform trend, much more functional but maintaining the same aesthetic.

The evolution of the platform.

The jelly shoe has also made a huge comeback this year and was the footwear of choice for the models at Graduate fashion week!All of these items have memories from childhood tied to them, as soon as I see/hear about jelly shoes I can instantly picture my childhood friends and I in our primary school playground, blue and white checked summer dresses, frilly ankle socks and clear glittery jelly shoes- brownie points if they were heeled. Maybe that's why this generation is so enamored with the 90's- every 90's garment/song/shoe has a memory attached to it!

90's shoes, jelly shoes, jelly sandals, glittery

This revival isn't restricted to fashion alone, it has affected our music too. With every nightclub now feeling obligated to host a 'Cheesy' 90's night, it's no wonder Britain is feeling nostalgic. Last week, in fact, I went to a 90's night in Angel, clad in my crop top and yellow scrunchie (could I be more of a 90's cliche!) I danced away to 90's classics like Whigfield, Eiffel 65 and TLC and I am unashamed to say that I absolutely loved it!As a decade the 90's was all about having fun; experimenting with gaudy prints and listening to upbeat pop music, but why is it suddenly making such a huge comeback?Is it because we need some more fun injected into our lives?

The AMA(American Marketing Association)has identified that fashion trends are part of an endless cycle and that this cycle repeats itself approximately every 20 yrs, but why does this happen? Do we just run out of creativity and feel the need to channel some from the past? Or are we constantly pining for the trends of the previous generation?

In Britain street trends seem to be started by young adults born in the late 80's/early 90's which could explain why we are seeing a revival of 90's fashion. It appears that we are obsessed with the clothing trends of the previous generation. Perhaps this is because the fashion trends from our childhood had an exclusivity- because we were young we couldn't be part of them!Maybe the 90's revival, and all revivals of previous fashion trends, actually demonstrates a generation experiencing what they feel they missed out on?

Wayne Hemmingway, along with a group of researchers from the University of Wolverhampton, found that the early 90's(1990-92) can now be labelled as vintage. He also observed that trends can only be viewed as vintage when we have had a significant amount of time and retrospect to evaluate them properly. The time period he gives for this evaluative period is 20 years- the equivalent of a family generation.

There are very few things our decade has in common with the 90's, but one thing that could have inadvertently affected trends in fashion could be the economy. According to an article in the Telegraph, "Britain is uniquely vulnerable to the deepest economic slump since the recession of the 1990's" Is this the common denominator between the two decades?Are we subconsciously associating our current economic climate with the recession of the 90's and dressing in a similar way as a result of this?
Perhaps this is why there has been such an increased love for vintage clothing?The economy has taken a dip leading to financial insecurity. Generally if we feel insecure about something we try and find security in another area. Could this be the case in terms of fashion?Vintage clothing provides reassurance and familiarity, maybe we even make subconscious links between vintage clothing and our childhood. As the 90's are now considered vintage, it could be asserted that the dip in the economy has caused people to flock to vintage stores, buying garments from the 90's and leading to a 90's fashion revival.

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