Are you able to time travel into the depths of your wardrobe and pull out some forgotten 90s garment gems, which a few years ago would have been laughed at but now win admiring glances?
Fashion moves in cycles, it’s an old adage that everything comes back around, but being ahead of the mainstream 20 year nostalgia kick by following the 18 year cycle is wear it’s at.
Thrift store chic and anti-fashion exploded into the public consciousness in 1993 – androgynous looks, borrowing your boyfriend’s oversized shirt and beanie hat were all part of the grunge movement from Seattle.
Kurt Cobain, who hailed from timber town Aberdeen, Washington, had an excuse to wear second hand lumberjack shirts and was most upset when he realised he could no longer go to his local Salvation Army store for his threads because there would by a platoon of fans lying in wait.
Fast forward to today and the grunge look is back with a vengeance – with fashionistas swapping Louboutins for Doc Martens. Catsuits are also clawing their way back on to the high street, along with a few bursts of paisley and funky patterned leggings.
Psychedelic colourscapes from the days of alt-rock are re-emerging – bright orange with teal or turquoise and purple are so 90s. Fashion Bible Vogue had an obsession with timeless black as it also complements those colours.
Kate Moss got her first Vogue cover in 1993. US Supermodels owned the year but Kate scored her first splash and signalled a sign of things to come, with a shift in focus on London girls with good looks and attitude.
Piercing was big – thank Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and those despicable Friends, Jennifer Anniston her ‘Rachel hairdo’ and the belly tops showcased the new erogenous zone.
Newspapers at the time ran shock pieces on the ‘horror fad’ of piercing private parts and how it was perverting the minds of the nation’s teenagers. Now if someone comes into the office and mentions they’ve got a Prince Albert as weekend gossip nobody bats an eyelid.
The 90s was also the dawn of a realisation that US and UK culture could be truly homogenised. Prior to 1993 there was a mutual love between the countries, but cheaper tourism and increased imports became easier.
For hip hop heads it was all about America – and scoring your favourite sports team’s merch was the ultimate legal high. Some kids went way past the undercut and shaved logos into their hair.
The Brits’ obsession with US sports was kicked off by Dr Dre and Ice Cube who led the NWA pack in the music and style stakes – sporting LA Raiders caps in their videos and made pro NFL/NBA sportswear essential casual and even schoolwear.
The story goes that NWA marched into the Raiders stadium merch shop and demanded to see the marketing guy, who kitted them out with gear for a show. And by 1993 – NFL branded sportswear had gone from a $7 million to $billion business.
Check out Will Smith’s clobber in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air for a catalogue of urban nightmares and killer 90s threads, even Carlton’s preppy penchant for penny loafers and Tommy Hilfiger is making a comeback.
Fashion is now as fragmented as the media, with brand mashups trailblazing the way.
Street and skater art brands, such as Lost Art in Liverpool, (see picture above) are now taking iconic images and sports logos from the 90s – the LA Raiders and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and (the now defunct) Charlotte Hornets have been re-imagined for a new generation.
This article is an excerpt from the 1993 Future Throwback Über zine – out now in all good indie retailers across Liverpool.
Bad 90s – trends that should be left in the VHS cabinet and the decade of Schwing…
Undercuts although we wouldn’t put anything past those natty hipsters
Global Hypercolour and Naf Naf
Paisley waistcoats – WTF!
Spliffy, Eclipse or two tone jeans