Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it has become harder for new and exciting fashion trends to emerge on the scene. Many designers and creators have noted how difficult it has been to create content when homebound. However, there is one particular decade that we have turned to during this time of increased isolation: the 90s. But what is the reasoning behind the resurgence of iconic 90s fashion trends? Is it because there has been nothing else to do except rummage through our parents’ wardrobes? Or has binge-watch classic TV shows and films brought about this sudden desire to hark back to the decade that gave us so many awe-inspiring fashion movements? Images of icons, such as Jennifer Aniston, Naomi Campbell and Winona Ryder are resurfacing on the internet and within the fashion world, inspiring those who are keen to embody the 90s look.
There are so many iconic 90s trends making a comeback this year and a special mention should go to plaid shirts, tiny bags, and oversized blazers. However, my personal favourites include the re-emergence of baggy jeans, chunky trainers, and clunky plastic rings. Many of the big fashion retailers, such as ASOS and Urban Outfitters, are now full to the brim with an array of 90s inspired pieces. That being said, whilst I adore most 90s fashion moments, there are some trends that I think need to stay hidden in their allocated archive, such as the rise of velour tracksuits. That is something I cannot get behind and believe they need to stay with 90s Paris Hilton.
Interestingly, due to the closure of many popular high-street brands and retailers having low stock, there has been an increasing number of people turning to buying and reselling their pre-worn or unused pieces on fashion marketplace apps, such as Depop and Vinted. This has meant that the online world has become a haven for finding vintage pieces, making them more accessible than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the high fashion world; there has been a resurgence of 90s fashion and various other old trends which can be seen within many Spring/Summer collections, as designers utilise their old sketches or archived pieces to find inspiration. Brands such as Fendi and Jacquemus have embraced aspects of the 90s within their Spring 2021 collection, showcasing trends like slip dresses and slouchy suits.
But why are we so drawn to fashion moments of the past? With the uncertainty that the past year has brought us, there is something warm and comforting about reminiscing over the ‘good old days’ even if most of the Gen Z population have never experienced them. This nostalgic feeling of longing for a time you have never known is referred to as ‘anemoia’, which quite literally means a “nostalgia for a time you’ve never known”. In seeking inspiration from previous decades, I argue that the chaos of the pandemic has pushed people to reminisce about a time that they haven’t lived through. The resurfacing of 90s trends has allowed people to express their concerns and angst about the last year in the form of grungy band tees and chunky combat boots, as well as allowing them to find a new outlet for any potential anxiety they may have felt. Nevertheless, I think the recycling of previous trends and fashion statements can also be seen as a strive towards a more sustainable and environmentally aware outlook on trends in fashion. If the fashion world can produce entirely new collections based on archived pieces, then surely this demonstrates a better way of creating trends that will not aid in the destruction of our planet.
– Jess Irving
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