When we think of fashion, we think of a fast-paced, forward-thinking industry that thrives on keeping up with the latest trends for all seasons. We think of an industry full of designers, journalists and consumers who are constantly trying to stay on top of what’s up and coming.

However, we can’t help but notice that right now nostalgia is making a comeback. Trends from previous decades are re-appearing in major fashion brands across the globe, particularly looks from the nineties and noughties. We’re talking chunky trainers, mini-skirts, fanny packs, head scarfs, crochet and groovy knits, things that make a statement.

Even Crocs are managing to creep their way back onto the high street thanks to #Y2K. Those who aren’t clinging on to the 90s are busy bringing back the year 2000. Thanks to the influence of TikTok, Instagram and Depop, Gen-Z are pulling their cropped t-shirts, strappy tops, low rise baggy trousers and colourful sunglasses out of their wardrobes. Clothes that represent the energetic, care-free, shopping spree days of their teenage years.

Of course, our love of vintage and retro clothing never really went away. Some styles have stood the test of time, whilst others are best kept in the past. But there’s no denying that clothing from previous decades are notably making their way back into the mainstream. It’s not just clothing we’re nostalgic for. Lots of people are rediscovering music from their early teens, fondly looking back at the days of portable CD players, tapes, records, video stores, pre-recording programs. Wonders that the children of the future may never know! In 2020, tape sales were the highest they’d been since 2005. Many of us found solace in digging out classic Hollywood films and old TV programs. And how can we forget Friends: The Reunion that came to our screens this spring?

If you have social media, you’ll have noticed that millennials seem to be fully embracing 90s nostalgia with pictures of a baby-faced cast of Friends, Kate Moss, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio - all the iconic A-listers. Young adults seem to be ‘over’ the buzz of social media, longing for easier times, not just pre-covid, but pre smart phones. It’s ironic that these social media channels provide us with such easy access to the past, reminding us of the shows, celebs and cultural icons that evoke a sense of longing.

But what exactly is it that’s making us feel particularly sentimental? Perhaps it’s the fact that 2020 and 2021 have been dominated by lockdowns. In future, when we reflect on the last two years, all we will remember is the pandemic. So maybe it should come as no surprise that we have instinctively reached back to old lang syne. It’s full of things we know well, and we can find great comfort in the familiarity of those things, especially during such ‘unknown’ circumstances.

We go to times of comfort when we feel out of control. Perhaps these 90s and 00s trends in fashion have proved to be timeless, standing the test of time, or perhaps, on some level, nostalgia is back in fashion because we are holding on to simpler times.


Published By
Ruth Mullan