Back to the future: students adopt 90’s culture


Yei Bin Andrews

A student watches the show “Friends” on a phone during lunch. The show’s continuing popularity reflects the resurgence of many 90’s trends.

Yei-Bin Andrews

Bill Clinton had just been elected President of the United States. Nirvana dominated radios and CD players. The Internet was taking off in homes across the nation. Everyone wanted to be just like Rachel Green.

The ‘90s ended with a bang as the year 2000 rolled in, creating a new generation of innovations, ideas, and pop culture. However, what goes around comes around, and the grunge era is back in full force.

According to Bustle, “ 90s nostalgia is something many ‘90s babies look back on and remember fondly. They grew up with the beginning of the Internet, but it wasn’t a part of their everyday lives. Netflix and Hulu didn’t exist, so you had to make sure to tune in to your favorite show right when it aired.”

Even if you didn’t live through the decade, you’ll still see ‘90s nostalgia in modern pop culture. World class models like Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner are seen sporting 90s attire. There are new generations of teens watching Friends and listening to Pearl Jam. What is it that makes the 90’s popular nowadays?

When freshman Laine Berg thinks of the ‘90s, she thinks of the iconic TV shows of the time.

“I think 90’s TV shows are just the classics that most modern shows are based on,” Berg said.

Similarly, freshman Sophie Rice recognizes “Friends” as one of her favorite TV shows. Rice also explains why these shows from 30 years ago still appeal to this generation, the generation that grew up with a phone in hand.

“The sense of humor in these shows has definitely changed since the ’90s, but they were the stepping stones for other TV shows now. They’re original,” Rice said.

Even though Chandler Bing is loved by many, the TV show “Friends” brings up the issues of transphobia, homophobia, gender roles, and body shaming.

According to Independent Co. UK, “Storylines (In Friends) laced with homophobia, sexism, borderline emotional abuse, and sexual harassment are portrayed as punchlines.

Freshman Iris Croasdell’s take on this is that even though these problematic remarks were said in the ’90s, that still doesn’t make them acceptable or any less offensive. For example, saying anything transphobic is never okay, no matter when or where it was said.

“I think people don’t even realize that the shows they’re watching are so impactful, even decades after they’ve aired,” she said. “The issues in the Friends dialogue are still issues in our society, and they will remain issues until we recognize them.”

As long as people recognize these underlying issues, they can still appreciate the cultural significance of these shows.

Another defining aspect of the ’90s is the fashion. Models like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford dominated the runways and everyday life wearing pieces like Doc Martens, mom jeans, overalls, and chokers according to Cosmopolitan.

When asked about the attire of the time, only one thing comes to freshman Bhuvan Saraswat’s mind.

“Jordan’s man, I love Jordans,” Saraswat said.

Berg also had a quick response about how she views 90’s fashion.

“I love all of it. But not all together, of course,” Berg said.

Washington thinks that a lot of old things come back because people forget about them, but thirty years later they’re trendy and new again.

Scrunchies also came to mind for Berg. In the halls of Grady, students from all grade levels can be seen wearing 90’s inspired pieces. Crop tops, anything Adidas, and track pants are popular among teens.

Clothing companies like Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters, and Topshop are catering to this desire for 90’s inspired clothing. Since these stores are selling pieces like this, it helps to further define these looks that people are dying to get. However, not everyone is conforming to the cookie cutter outfits these stores and trying to have you buy.

“In fashion, it’s always been a thing to bring back trends but putting your take on it,” said Croasdell.

Thrifting has become a popular way of shopping, without risking the chance of someone wearing the same shirt as you. Finding pieces that reflect the 90’s and may actually be from the ’90s is made easier at shops like Buffalo Exchange and Ragorama.

Somewhere in the fashion industry, people decided to take a risk and wear classic 90’s pieces because they look good.

Thirty years from now, who knows if Ariana Grande, Stranger Things, and Lulu Lemon leggings will be popular again. Every decade, a new group of teens will experience nostalgia and the return of trends from the past.

“The ’90s aren’t too far in the past but it was a different time,” Berg said. “It’s fun to look back and bring these trends to today.”