All Caught Up

Image Credit: Genesis S Warner on Unsplash

Katie O’Brien wonders if the trend cycle has well and truly lost the run of itself - are we heading towards a fashion Doomsday?

Time is cyclical, meaning unfortunately we are bound to repeat the past - either consciously or subconsciously. Nothing represents this (sub)conscious revival of the past quite like fashion. 

Over the past few years we have seen it all come back, from the sixties to the eighties, which has been fine and understandable because we associate these times with the trends and pop cultural crazes that our parents or grandparents would have taken part in or experienced. But we have now seen a resurgence of the 90s, the early 2000s and now eerily the 2010s. As somebody who would remember the 2010s quite vividly, I can't help but wonder why has it all come back around so quickly. That being said I can hazard a guess and say it might have something to do with consumerism or the comfort and romanticisation of times past.

Cast your mind back to 2013. It was the advent of Tumblr, The 1975, fishnet tights, Doc Martens, The Arctic Monkeys, Alexa Chung, galaxy print everything and, of course, flower crowns. The term influencer had not been fully developed yet and Instagram was still just a place for badly filtered photos that had little to no thought placed into them. Honestly when you look back on it like this it seems funny and nostalgic.

Have we begun to consume so intensely that the market has run out of “vintage” items from the past to market to us? have we well and truly caught up with ourselves?

Most people who are in their early to mid twenties now would have been teenagers during this time, thus meaning we are now the ones buying and consuming this media today - but why? Does our constant yearning for the past, a past we lived through, truly highlight how unhappy the current generation is with how their lives are operating? And does this unhappiness go hand in hand with consumerism, just as neoliberalism intended? Have we begun to consume so intensely that the market has run out of “vintage” items from the past to market to us? Have we well and truly caught up with ourselves? 

What does the future hold for art and fashion, if we are all now hell bent on repeating our own pasts, when pretty soon there will be no past to repeat? Boredom does breed creativity. Will we move into more futuristic fashion which has already been done by Paco Rabanne or will we put a new modern spin on it? Considering every decade has had its own spin on what the future will hold, like Rabanne in the 70’s or most notably for me Gaultier in the 90’s with their cut out latex/leather costume designed for The Fifth Element movie. Even in the creation of the new we have to repeat, so should we get dragged down by the dullness of repetition or can we learn to embrace the past without copying it? With all of this in mind can we ever truly innovatively create fashion again when the market and the pressure to consume has become as integral to the fashion world as fabric itself?