Geraldine Wharry: Nostalgia Part I
Nostalgia is a heightened, sugar-coated idea of the past that has been hung onto, creating a new style. It fuels design and the need to re-tell a familiar story.
In the past year, 80s and 90s nostalgia has been defining the creative industries from fashion to film, to video games and product design.
Brands have been reviving 80s and 90s bestsellers. And rather than re-imagining 80s and 90s style, they are mimicking the mood and aesthetics of these decades to a T.
This is a severe case of Nostalgia and an ode to vintage. Only this time vintage happened around the corner less than 2 decades ago.
Retreating to simpler times has been identified as a form of self-preservation. The Millennial generation especially has grown up amidst economic turmoil, job uncertainty, crippling student debt, global political and environmental unrest. The list goes on.
According to Google, the most popular fashion searches in 2016 included "What did people wear in the 90s?" and "How to dress like a hippie?" at the 8th and 9th spots. With the slew of disturbing things that happened in 2016, it is apparent, most people wanted to escape to another time, which isn't altogether surprising.
It's key to note, Millennials are also the first digital natives. Widespread Internet access means they grew up inundated with visual cues, highly informed about previous generations and their style via Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.
Fashion designers (as the sponges that they are) have been experiencing this bout of nostalgia by channelling sporty 80s and 90s trends. Ashley Williams showcased her SS17 collection dedicated to the late Hollywood teen heartthrob, River Phoenix, presented on a runway staged as a teen bedroom, complete with Madonna CDs and an old box TV. The collection included 80s style party dresses, boxy tailoring, and varsity jackets, also seen in Coach's recent SS17 campaign.
The Fan dedicated their AW17 collection "Super6" to the original 90s supermodels; Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.
Last year, Pepsi announced the temporary return of Crystal Pepsi, the clear soda that developed a cult following in its brief initial release from 1992-94. The advertisement portrayed travelling back in time to 1992, while also putting a premium on nostalgia by only releasing the retro classic for a limited time.
In Nostalgia Part II we examine the manifestations of nostalgia in sportswear brands and street style.
By Guest Writer: Tanja Novak | Editor-in-chief: Geraldine Wharry
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