Throw it back to the 90's: Is Our Generation Unoriginal?

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So. Chris Neal fashion choices are heavily influenced by the 90's BYRON MASON II

Imagine that you’re a kid. It’s Saturday morning, and, for some reason, you get up at the butt-crack of dawn. Careful not to wake your parents and siblings as you creep to your kitchen and fix yourself a bowl of cereal or whatever it is that you ate when you were a kid.

Bowl of cereal in your lap and perhaps some poorly poured orange juice next to your side, you turn on your living room television. All of a sudden, you’re watching teenagers in tight jumpsuits flip around fighting people in poorly made costumes with below-grade special effects. Or maybe you’re watching Ash Ketchum make tiny animals fight until they’re on the brink of death. Or you might be watching Will Smith crack jokes in an eccentric style that you wouldn’t grow to appreciate until you’re older.

Yes, we’re talking about the 90s, or the early 2000s that we refer to as the 90s even though we shame those born after 2000 for not being born in the 90s.  Even though most of us barely remember the latter half of the decade, the pop culture that came from it gives us a sense of nostalgia. We incorporate some of that nostalgia into our own lives, particularly in fashion.

Think about it: today, the one-strap overall look is done by a lot of people. I think that many would give Chance the Rapper the credit for the look. Although he rocks it, the style dates back to when Will Smith was chillin’ out maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool and all, shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school. I see people rocking Fila nowadays- not the shoes that Grant Hill hooped in, but the “vintage” t shirts. Although the style was short lived, the bucket hat made a resurgence a few years ago, and a large number of teenagers, myself included, were perpetrators of the look. But fortunately, someone decided that we all looked like tools and the trend died out.

Neon windbreakers are a big things as well. I’ve seen many students moseying around campus in colored jackets from their mother’s closet or the depths of their local thrift store. This generation’s (Generation Z or Millenials, whatever you want to call us) obsession with such jackets automatically deem a person “cool” or “stylish.” I won’t complain either because I have too many of those jackets to count.

Vintage sweaters are fetishized by this generation, their oversized and striped aesthetic reminiscent of Kurt Cobain in his prime. Said striped sweaters might be matched with a pair of ripped jeans that the owner will inevitably regret when the winter months come around.

Unfortunately for the white girls that I went to high school with, they did not start the trend of wearing Doc Martens, combat boots or Timberland boots (see my article from a couple of issues back). They were beaten by a little over a decade by the likes of characters such as Daria Morgendorffer and like, every other rapper during the time.

I write all of this to say that Generation Z or Millenials (whatever), borrow styles from the past, but where are the fashion trends that we start? Unfortunately, hawaiian shirts, basketball jerseys and Lululemon leggings don’t count (I love their headbands though). One might argue that this generation is the littest of them all, but is that argument valid? Don’t get me wrong, I thrift as much as the next person, but where are the style trends that we start up? Do we mark the beginning of a retroactive era of fashion where the most stylistically innovative we get is reviving a trend from another era? But then again, what if this generation is the most innovative?

Perhaps this influence of style trends from the 90s and other eras is a result of stylistic liberation. People are becoming more open about their identity and what style that they identify with. So why not go back and indulge in the trends that they identify with most? Maybe mixing and matching clothes from different eras will create a new style. Just think, if you have kids, what will they say when they ask to wear some of your old clothes? Will they label your style when you were young as a style from the 2010s or the ‘90s?

P.S If there’s a topic you want to talk about, just let me know! Email me at byronmason_2020@depauw.edu!

So. Chris Neal sports a vintage nylon jacket BYRON MASON II