As you have seen all over the internet, there is a massive throwback to the 1990’s. DIY choker videos, grunge makeup tutorials, repetitive nostalgic Buzzfeed articles, and the popularity of 90’s reruns have infiltrated pop culture. The 90’s were a time of economic bliss before the market crash of 2008. This time period was pre-terrorism before events like 9/11 propagated a state of constant fear. Although things weren’t perfect then, there was a certain sense of optimism and hope that has waned over recent years.
In the face of uncertainty, we turn to escapism which is the act of distracting oneself from uncomfortable realities by means of fantasy. With the potential of our country’s economic collapse at the forefront of everyone's’ minds, people began to think back to happier, more stable times. Perhaps we are trying to revive or relive the 1990’s as a way of distracting ourselves from the dark state of our country. Perhaps this reflection on the past is materializing in the media and fashion world as the result of not being able to envision a brighter future.
What has come to be called the “quarter-life crisis” has come along with even more daunting challenges than in the past. The cost of higher education is greater than ever before and students are plagued with immense student loans that will follow them for years to come. The prevalence of mental health issues like anxiety and depression are skyrocketing amongst young adults. In the face of such adversity, it is no surprise that we daydream about our youth and desire to commemorate simpler times. We love to escape in the face of peril to things that make us feel safe. This obsession with the past is brought about by fetishizing a time period when we were not yet overwhelmed with the difficulties of adulthood, global instability, or the poor state of the national economy.