Yup, the 90's are the new 80's.

29 Apr 2008

save me dear

I used to raid my mother’s closet for cool clothes.
But now I just raid my own.

-Erinn, 26

Our cultural examination of last decade began in 2004 with the VH1 series I Love the 90’s. It started getting remixed amongst cool kids from NYC to Kansas in 2006. Grunge, Hypercolor and Hammer Pants were a clear influence at fashion shows throughout 2007. Musically, 90’s synth is coming back via DFA, DJs are spinning New Jack Swing and the fuzztortion rock of that time is coming back via Matador darling Jay Reatard. Hell, I even made tidy sum by flipping a rack of early 90’s track suits to a vintage boutique.

(is an ad campaign gonna grab this Running Man’s coattails?)


But.uh.but, so what? I might just be trainspotting. Nostalgia is normal like death + taxes, and with our increasing speed, the lag time between events and their canonization is ever decreasing.

There is some thought in design circles that along with the angles and edges of 90’s design, we’re moving into new aesthetic ground, that magazines like Super Super or Men’s Vogue signify a ‘new ugly’ backlash to the cleanliness of Apple/Ikea/Google. But witness Tiger Beat’s font orgy from 1972. Or just think back to any collages made in your teen years. Or DaDa. Messy is always the hip response to clean.

1972, same year Atari was formed.

Graphic design is now a global conversation like never before thanks to our pal the internet. From Mumbai to Minneapolis, people are sharing in the experience of using the same aesthetics and architecture of MySpace, Apple, WordPress, etc… I wonder will this spreading + sharing foster a greater diversity of styles that get accepted as having value, both artistically and professionally? Or as we all begin to talk amongst ourselves, will it flatten out regional aesthetics like regional accents? If so, are we arching toward a common ground of efficient design, maybe even something naturally intrinsic? Toward beauty or toward Babel?
kollagingb4u were born. or Prince was writing songtitles. or hipsters were drppng vwls


  1. 29 Apr 2008 Johanna

    Good question. I wrote a thing once about music genres (and subsequently, fashion) blurring together and groups borrowing from & sharing aesthetics with each other, but I see the regional thing happening too at times. Or maybe it just depends on people’s moods (sometimes I have to take a break from neon and spend an hour in MUJI, e.g.) I’ll think about this some more, very cool.

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