It was the rebellious period. The child on the naughty step. But the child you can’t help but admire for their apparent inability to conform. The 90s witnessed both the ‘rejection’ of fashion, but also the plague-like spread of tattoos and body piercing. This anti-conformist approach gave rise to the unkempt grunge look, inspired by alternative rock music: namely Nirvana. This grunge group (to which I regrettably belonged) sported tartan, double denim, baggy jeans and DMs. This fashion statement morphed into the nu metal/punk look of the 70s by the end of the decade, with more of an emphasis on sun-bleached denim, spikey hair and neon colours.
This rebellious outlook was not only a way of dressing; it was a way of life. The rave scene dominated the 90s, with garish prints, smiley face symbols and a carefree attitude. As times got harder, so did the partying. The scene was about escapism; with dance music as the soundtrack to ecstasy-fuelled euphoria, reminiscent of the 60s ‘Summer of love’. The upsurge of travelling and partying meant that comfort was essential because, let’s face it, you would be staying in that outfit for at least 3 days. The undeniable echo of the 60s could be heard, in the form of tie-dye smocks and floral dresses a-plenty. This effortless cool somewhat epitomized the 90s.
The diversity of fashion in the 90s made defining one ‘look’ challenging; a huge part of the fashion was the 40s-inspired initiative to make your own style – not simply be told by designers. A few favoured looks involved capri pants, halternecks, essex-stylee hoops and henna hair. I vividly remember my 8 year-old self not possibly being able to attend a social event without running a good few streaks of hair mascara through my locks. Of course this was only after requesting the ‘Jennifer Anniston’.
This season, we are set to see the 90s theme go mainstream, with neons knocking about and an increased demand for 90s cult labels, such as BOY London. Issey Miyake’s S/S ’12 collection incorporates 90s-inspired hippy tops and cut-off hotpants to embrace that thrown-together vibe. Michael Kors is re-acquainting us with tie-dye for A/W ’12, where Jeremy Scott is drawing inspiration from the brash prints of the 90s with his bold Bart Simpson motifs.
Call me biased, but surely the 90s was the best decade? Almost brings a tear to my eye. This year, despite the need for some serious re-vamping, we really could be in store for one of the most playful trends in a long time. Whether purely through overwhelming childhood nostalgia, or an excuse for shameless self-indulgence, I for one am eager to see it all come right back around.
Words: Lizi Woolgar