“Yo, I’ll tell you what students want, what they really really want.” They want a retro sports tee, denim jacket, bandanas, mom jeans and oversized patterned shirts.
The 1990s. A decade which evidently blessed us with The Spice Girls, Tamagotchis and Cher’s yellow plaid outfit in Clueless. (Which is THE most iconic outfit from any movie, ever, and I’m prepared to fight anybody on this one.) But what is it that makes this outfit such a memorable staple? Cher’s outfit is everything that is unique about the decades’ fashion, rolled into one. It is individual to her taste, it undoubtedly stands out, and, like most 1995 imports, it is risky. Fast forward twenty years, and this is everything most students want from their outfits today. It’s these students keeping the popular culture decade alive through their colourful fashion choices. Because, no student wants to be remembered for boring fashion choices. UGH, AS IF!
Premature first-year students may believe they’re immune to the 90s fashion bug. But, visit any club in fresher’s week, and you won’t go far without spotting freshers in their mesh tops and PVC bum bags. November will see the yearly rise of faux fur leopard print coats and knee-high boots, and then by spring semester, you are guaranteed to be walking to your 9am in your retro sportswear and a Hilfiger jacket. Sound familiar? And this is without even mentioning the cat-eye sunglasses, the double denim, the dungarees and the scrunchies (are you even a student if you don’t own a scrunchy?) Just by walking to one lecture, you know that you will bump into to somebody who is dressed like they are straight out of a 90s chick flick.
One factor behind the rise of this revival is that 90s fashion pieces are just so accessible. Every student area or city has some kind of vintage or thrift shop. Each and every one of these shops is packed with 90s gems which can be discovered for a fraction of the original price. Nothing says accessible like Student Union events, so if you don’t get lucky in a store, then you’re bound to find some pre-owned 90s pieces at vintage festivals and kilo sales which take place in almost every SU around the country throughout the year. You can quite literally fill an entire bag with designer 90s staples and only pay for the material weight. This means you can stock up on branded tees and silky dresses for the price of a coffee. Student life is, after all, about embracing a ‘Pic n Mix’ culture. You are free to borrow trends from anybody, anywhere; not limited to a contemporary place or setting. It includes borrowing fashion from a past era, and allows it to be brought forward and revived by interpreting nostalgic pieces with fashion today.
Perhaps the most important, and hardest, part of wearing 90s fashion is having the confidence to pull it off. Who better to wear these daring trends than students? University is the time where you can wear a faux fur coat to your 9am, cargo pants and combat boots to the library, and PVC everything to the club. Students are continuously looking for an individual fashion statement which they can invest in. Wardrobe staples which have withheld the test of time for more than two decades is the answer to this. We couldn’t have all been teenagers in the actual 1990s, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss out on the boldest fashion trends now.