28 Aug The 90s Are Back…Thanks To Gen-Y
This year for my 24th birthday I decided it would be totally rad to throw a 90s themed bash. Britney, Gwen, The Backstreet Boys and all three members of TLC decided to show up — the costume versions, of course. I was shocked that out of my 50-something guests almost everyone donned some 90s nostalgia, most likely bought at Forever 21. Even the Polaroid Spice Cam made an appearance. Turns out Gen-Y is already obsessed with old school jams, Ring Pops and jelly shoes, the theme was just a reinforcement. But what’s creating all the rage?
From fashion, film and even food the trendsetting gods are triggering a generations sentimental longing for their favorite things of yesteryear. Limited Too is reopening in 2016, Space Jam is getting a sequel and even Crispy M&M’s made their way back on to store shelves. It’s one thing to hold on to your favorite childhood blanket or pair of Doc Martens but imagine eating Flintstone’s Push-Ups on a hot summer day again? Thanks to Pinterest and “Top 20” lists the 90s has entered the millennium. We can’t help but feel nostalgic about a time where Johnathan Taylor Thomas was our Justin Bieber, wide-leg pants were a thing and people actually bought CD’s and listened to them on a Walkman so big it needed its own satchel. Now that Nine-Ettes are on the other side of the generation gap it’s their turn to reminisce about what many would say was the last-best decade.
Don’t misinterpret nostalgia, it isn’t an epidemic that affects only Generation Y. Our parents, grandparents and great-grand parents felt the same way about the prime of their younger days. The reason we are obsessed now, more than ever, with the 90s is because nineties kids are at the cusp of real adulthood. The eldest of the generation is getting married, having kids and building careers — and lets be honest we have no clue what today’s kids are talking about. Who’s Zayn Malik?
Luckily enough we’re immersed in the wireless, 24/7 generation and can stay current with most trends. But we remain keen on placing value on how much we know about our past that paying homage to it today is so cool it’s hashtag worthy.
It’s amazing that 20-something years later we recognize that “here we are now entertain us, I feel stupid and contagious,” is in fact the lyrics to Nirvana’s antiperspirant-titled song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and not the collaborative efforts of Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake in “Holy Grail” — but hey, maybe they we’re feeling a bit nostalgic too. They were, after all, popular in the 90s.
With so many 90s comebacks there’s little room for discontent. Now is the perfect time for industries to monopolize on a generation idolizing a lost past at a time where we feel the most sentimental. This virtual connection we’re so immune to is one of the reasons the nineties are back: we’re easy to market because we’re easily accessible. Ever since Tupac’s hologram showed up at Coachella it’s as almost if the nineties never even went away. 16-year-old girls are wearing tattoo choker necklaces with Nirvana crop tops. Even Kylie Jenner’s overly lined mauve lips are undisputedly 90s-esque. Not to mention if you want to catch up on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends or Roseanne all you need to do is open up Netflix. Reliving the glory years of the nineties is our way of facing the terrible future we all imagine is ahead of us. It’s our chance to grip on to every memory, shiny token and time where wrinkles were the least of our worries and eating Pop Tarts at midnight was okay — a pre-Kale generation. The best part about 90s nostalgia being culturally cool is that we get to initiate today’s millennials with the awesomeness they missed — just like our parents tried to tell us Happy Days was the best sitcom and how rock n’ roll started and ended with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Today with all the technological humdrum doing all the work for you, the nineties reminds us of simpler times — where we needed a wired connection to login to MSN. Moments where getting a hold of your friends required a phone number and not Instagram or Facebook and to “be in the know” you actually needed to be there. By bringing back, or holding on to, precious memories of the past we are able to relive and re-imagine that feeling one more time — until of course society becomes nostalgic about something else. Ah, the vicious cycle of trends — I wonder when 80s glam-rock hair will make its comeback? Nevertheless, we’re as obsessed about the nineties now as we were two decades ago because let’s face it: DJs are still playing the Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy” at the clubs and Michael Jordan, without Space Jam, is relevant thanks to Nike. All that’s missing from this current blast from the past is a bunch of kids playing Pogs in the schoolyard — they may need to make an app for that.