When it comes to fashion, do you have someone who taught you everything you know? Someone who helped shape your style? Like what Miranda Priestly did for Andy Sachs? Well, for me, it would be my mother. I remember one of the things she always said was, "fashion repeats, my dear." With that belief, she passed down her lacey shirts, high-waisted pants, plastic bangles, pearl earrings, large funky earrings, and a ton of pink leather items to me. She made me promise to keep them because one day, she believed that her fashion style, specifically her beloved 70s streetwear and 80s streetwear, would reign once more. And like almost all the other things in life, my mother was precisely correct.
Now fast forward to 2022, I, who we can consider an expert of the early 2000s streetwear fashion, am slowly seeing the revival of the style I enjoyed and loved when I was younger. Some of the trends now are inspired by the 90s and even the looks of the 70s and 80s.
It is also a fantastic fact that major 90s streetwear brands like Supreme are currently dominating worldwide, which is unquestionable proof that fashion does repeat. It's not just Supreme though; more 90s streetwear brands are coming back to life and even taking over the fashion industry once more.
So, the question is, what is it with 90s streetwear and brands that are getting a revival more so than the other centuries? Let's do a brief rundown of why and how.
The primary reason is probably the fact that the '90s fashion is exceptionally relaxed and easygoing. Compared to the 1970s, where the style was always about turned-out - tucked-in, belted, and polished; the '90s was more about "I just woke up looking this cool." Relaxing vibes were the center point of the '90s which is arguably the type of fashion that people would always be okay with.
Another remarkable thing about 90s streetwear is how it was a significantly different experience for women. The 90s streetwear female style was influenced by the rise of pop icons that was all about taking a rebellious approach to fashion. It was crazy, vibrant, new, and different. It was the perfect balance between conservative and wild. Ladies could experiment and be part of the trend instead of getting weird stares.
One more factor is that the 90s fashion was more established. True, it was still technically new, and people were still experimenting and mixing and matching to find their preferences and style. However, streetwear itself started in the 80s, so at the time, it was still something that was extremely out of the norm for the majority of people, meaning streetwear fashion specifically was still in a developmental stage. At the time, the brands were still starting to grasp the streetwear style, and at the same time, it was also still at the threshold of letting go of the 70s fashion. In other words, it was a wobbly time for fashion; it was still unsure and hazy.
For example, every time I check my mother's old photos, I see how her style has evolved. It was the conservative billowy style in her 70s and started to incorporate more of the "streetwear" fashion of the 80s. Her past pictures looked like a mix of both decades most of the time.
This is not something you can say about 90s streetwear fashion. The 90s was when brands were already stable and had a grasp of streetwear. The brands started producing quality items and products one after another and at the same time started making more and more different styles and catalogs with apparent confidence.
Let us take a look at some of the 90s streetwear designs and styles that are making a comeback and, frankly, are probably here to stay for a long, long time:
The 90s embraced sporty vibes a lot; it was the time of cropped tops for all genders. I mean, until now, Johnny Depp's famous cropped top scene on Nightmare on Elm Street is still a fashion hit. And now, cropped tops are back, and some of them come with something new, like a hoodie crop top which is a popular athleisure choice.
High-Waisted Mom Jeans
Mom jeans! One of my favorite styles from my mother's 80s hands me down and one where people in the mid-2000s didn't really like. I found it flattering, so I kept some on my treasure chest, believing I could wear it again with confidence sooner than later. Guess what? Mom's jeans are back and better than ever. Celebs like Sienna Miller, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid are part of the mom jeans renaissance.
Bucket hats in the 90s were controversial. Everyone was talking about it; either they loved it so much or wanted to murder anyone wearing it. Their revival recently started with the rise of Kpop bands and groups. Korean icons love bucket hats, and well, their millions of fans worldwide started following and now the trend is back.
Classic slip dresses were a staple in every '90s girl's closet - every girl must have one. Celebs like Kate Moss and Courtney Love frequently wore them before for award shows and fashion walks. Today, the trend is also back in full swing. People are wearing it to romantic dinner dates, proms, and parties.
I wore graphic tees every time we were allowed out of our uniforms in high school. The style took backstage, but now everybody is starting to wear graphic tees again. The designs and arts featured on the tees might vary from the old ones, but the thought and purpose of graphic tees are still the same: art as a voice, art as a way to express.
Everybody loved chunky sneakers back in the 90s. And now it looks like the love for these Chunky, dad-inspired sneakers is back into full swing. The new versions are lighter and easier to wear than their old counterparts. Now you can channel your spice girl spirit without the risk of injuring your feet.
Back in the '90s, it was impossible to take a walk and not find anyone who wasn't sporting these fresh slides. I literally owned a few. The style went mellow in the early 2000s since ballet flats, and ugg started to take over. However, nowadays, the slides are back and arguably even better since brands like Gucci make slides of their style - high fashion.
It is definitely safe to say that 90s streetwear dominates the streets once again. True, the 90s streetwear had its flaws, such as the fact that the fashion style before did not really encompass every body type.
Take a look at low-rise jeans, which are extremely hard to pull off. The 90s style sadly isn't all-body inclusive. However, that is what I love about fashion and style and humans; each year, it grows and develops into something better. It is impressive and genuinely amazing to see that we embrace the old styles from the 70s, 80s, and 90s and make it something more applicable to the times now, more body inclusive, and even non-conforming to gender.
It is great to remember what fashion model Inès De La Fressange once said, "The secret of great style is to feel good in what you wear." This is something that we should apply to whatever century, decade, and whether it is high-fashion or streetwear - the most important thing is whether you are comfortable or not. I genuinely believe that is the secret behind the staying power of 90s streetwear fashion; it offers comfort.