WAIT… WHEN ARE WE AGAIN?
December 6, 2021
WE'VE Been Shoving
too many “retro” styles down the recycling bin these past few years. For what seems like forever, the entity we call the “Fashion Industry” has been putting all its eggs in the same proverbial basket, “reinventing” fashion trends over and over again. Lately, we’ve been witnesses and victims to the revival of the Swinging ’60s, the Disco ’70s, the Rockin’ '80s, and most recently (and to the dismay of many) the Pop 90’s. But... why now? Why these decades? Why is it relevant?
Before commercial flights became the preferred means of international transportation, news about fashion around the world traveled much slower than through the light-speed of the internet. That was the “this is the latest fashion in Paris” era, where people gawked at the fashionable voyager that had recently disembarked wearing exotic goodies. Once Titanics were no longer the posh way to travel, the fashion world started changing at a global scale as more and more people shared their genius with the rest of the world just as the ideas came to mind.
This almighty globalization caused wars to wither as fast as they had sprouted, political ideas to rampage to foreign ears, and fashion trends to flow in as peacefully as a tsunami. What took months or even years to cross the pond was a flick of a finger away, exchanging American, European, and Asian designs through printed magazines, TV ads, and radio shows. The fashion world was getting a new voice, speaking every language and influencing beyond any religious, cultural, political, or family lifestyle.
The stereotypically “repressive” way of the land-bound ’50s met its match in a youth that wanted to take to the skies, listen to foreign music, and wear (much) shorter skirts. The Swinging London scene took over the modernized world of the ’60s, building a solid plinth for civil rights movements everywhere, protests against pointless war efforts, and what would be known as the first “generation gap” of our era.
Amidst Black-Panther-Party berets, people wanted peace and freedom, a way back into Nature, and an escape from the 70’s technology that was, as far as they could tell, destroying their lives. The flower power born in the previous decade evolved into brotherhood among bell-bottoms swaying to the rhythm of Disco! The music industry was now booming as a universal way for people to express themselves, so we all got on this soul train head first with no questions asked about what the next stop was.
The ’80s came rockin’ in like there was no tomorrow, ever-growing the rebel spirit of the last two decades, although with a more self-serving agenda in mind. Greed was big and the hair was even bigger. Sex, drugs, and Rock n’ Roll made way to an era that the Kaiser of Fashion himself described as the “Edgy Decade”.
Coming down from a purple haze of leather, studs, and bedazzled glam boots, our feet touched the ground again as we returned to minimalist fashion in the ’90s. The clear unconformity in the workplace, and everywhere else, spontaneously generated the casual chic look, gifting us with the always trustworthy t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and sneakers, extending their reign way into the 21st century, directly into your current closet!
THE TRANSCENDENCE Of Nostalgia
These four decades burnt fast and bright in a globalizing world, leaving more than enough evidence about their social glows and glooms, manifested through the style choices now being re-worn. We’re very much aware of the face-lift that psychedelic prints, tie-dye, shoulder pads, and cropped everythings are currently getting, along with their respective manifestos of politics, peace, power, and the people. This makes one wonder: Have these styles come back to respond to modern states of mind? Are we going through the same psychological highs and lows lived by those who grew in these decades (many of whom are still very much alive)? Are we wearing the same things over and over again and expecting different results?
Some consider the 2010s and 2020s “fashion recycling” trend to be nothing more than a lack of originality on the designers’ part by “monetizing middle-age crisis”, while others embrace the “beauty of nostalgia” by wearing color-coordinated pantsuits, kerchiefs, fantasy beads, and mammoth sneakers as novelty items. The ’60s, '70s, ’80s, and '90s may have evolved all around the world practically at the same time, but this globalization doesn’t even come close to the flimsy hold that time zones and geographical locations have over our current lifestyles.
We're living in a time with generations increasingly defined by the use of technology rather than by historical or social events, so there isn't much cultural identity to offer. Today’s revolutionary riots, ideological interpretations, musical manifestos, and fashion fanfares are happening much faster than those in the past century. Everything is changing all the time at a speed too fast to catch up to, so we’re not getting the chance to pinpoint stepping-stone events that may define our decades. The only thing we've been able to come up with in this limbo is to hold on to the closest generational spirit we have available: the style choices of those forty years shaped by globalization. We've become but a timeless tribe that seeks to keep its sense of humanity alive.
So, what now? Regardless of our personal feelings towards each “retro” trend paraded across our accounts and favorite shops, these evidently “recycled” fashion statements are the goo that is sticking generations together, ignoring the abyss between their realities. Parents are connecting with their children and designers are using their very recent pasts as a source of endless inspiration. From baby boomers to centennials, we’re all getting to know each other a little bit better by wearing very similar things to face what seem to be very different concerns. The identity of the present youth is being heavily influenced by the stories of those who came before them, creating a “generation continuity” that gives people from all walks of life very similar (fashion) memories!
The gap has been bridged. The lines have been blurred. The time machine has been built from Twiggy eyes, fringed vests, mullets, muffin-top jeans, and a recycling bin.
| Unnaked Hunter
about the author
Alicia Rodríguez (aka. Unnaked Hunter) is a style-psychology writer, designer, illustrator, and therapist-in-the-making. This means she spends her time navigating
Katherine is an artist, vegan activist, and the founder and curator of Creating Freely Magazine. She’s passionate about living on her own terms and maximizing her potential.