In his seminal work, The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967), the famed Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote: “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” Now, even if you’re unfamiliar with the G.O.A.T. Marshall McLuhan, I’m certain that his ideas are striking some sort of chord in that peanut of yours. This is because these are essentially the same concepts that contemporary trend forecasters have been hashing about in the several decades since McLuhan’s passing, “[the] rule of thumb states that fashion trends follow 20 year cycles (give or take a couple of years).” It is by using theories such as the ones that McLuhan conceived and those who followed further developed that we can begin to make sense of why trends seem to be so cyclical in nature. And even more specifically, we can implement these tools to understand why we have been continuously berated by nineties-inspired fashions, especially in the past couple years. Whether that be baggy jeans, chokers, or tiny little sunglasses, these iconic nineties trends have been resurfacing all over the globe with designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy, Balenciaga, and Nike all jumping onboard. However, as of late, I think we can all agree that some of these iconic nineties trends have begun to lose a little bit of steam. Now, whether this is related to market saturation via fast fashion outlets or simply a mass awakening from this shared nostalgia, I am not sure. In any case, what this certainly does mean is that it is only a matter of time until we are all annihilated by an overwhelming tsunami wave of 2000s fashion culture.
This shouldn’t come as any sort of shock though, right? I mean it is 2018, isn’t it? If anything we should proud for being right on cue, certainly? Once again, I am not sure, but despite this ambiguity, I am confident of one thing: it is not the year 2020 yet and I am partially of the mind that this means that we shouldn’t be so eager to leap forward just yet. Of course we can see quite clearly that there are some early adopters and self-proclaimed “trendsetters” who have already taken advantage of this transitionary period as a chance to hop the curb and start rocking a whole range of noughties-inspired gear, turning their back on iconic nineties trends. This is plainly evident in Vetements’ Juicy Couture Lounge Suit as well the current industry-wide obsession with “Millennial Pink.” However, this is to be expected. You see, in the world of fashion—the world of catwalks and rapper co-signs—there will always be those certain cowards who rather than follow a trend right into the grave, will perpetually leap off right at the last minute. These are, essentially, the same category of people who swerve their cars first when playing chicken, absolutely shameless… But for those of us who just let go of the wheel and slam that mother-freaking gas button, we know that the only way to pay proper respect to a trend is to see it through right to it’s bitter end, for better or worse.
This is what I think of as real bravery. You are the kind of considered consumer who is fully aware that your reference material wasn’t such a big hit even twenty years ago, whatever. You have thoughtfully read at least fifteen separate articles and think-pieces on Fashionista dot com all saying that this particular idea is no bueno, so what? This doesn’t stop you because you know yourself. You know that you can make this thing work if you just stay true to yourself. And you know what? These are often some of the worst fashion trends, there’s a pretty clear reason why it was buried twenty years ago, and Fashionista probably was right, but you don’t back down one-effing-inch.
You know what brand is doing this right now? Prada. Those sons-of-bitches have started re-releasing a particularly heinous fashion accessory that was celebrated during a period which was teeming with iconic nineties trends. Although I believe it’s pretty clear as to why exactly this particular accessory wasn’t as widely reproduced by designer brands for a 2018 audience, I think it is pretty admirable that Prada is taking a swing at it. However, I must note that it is a truly nefarious piece of couture history. One that after its banishment to the ninth circle of fashion hell, has reigned as a Lord of sorts atop the heap of disastrous trends of yesteryear. A trend so gruesome that it will stare you straight in the eye as it drives a sword straight through the heart of a barely breathing pair of voluminous JNCO jeans with absolutely no remorse. So ridiculously ignorant an item that the only people wearing it seem to always be your least favorite characters on your favorite teen soap operas. The one accessory that at the age of 12 appeared in your mind’s eye as just so cosmically right, but then at the age of 24 made you want to do nothing more than bury your head in the sand. That’s right, folks, I’m talking about seashells. I’m talking about those big freaking conch shells that when you put them up to your ear, you can hear Poseidon actually call you a f*ck boy and laugh while the sounds of waves crash maniacally in the background. I’m talking about those goddamn tight ass puka shell necklaces that cut the circulation off from to brain so that you slowly die the painful death you so truly deserve. Prada, I hate you so much because of this whole seashell fiasco, but goddamn it do I ever respect you. You’re brazen, you don’t give a hoot. When a brand like Vetements says: “Oh, hell yeah 2002, Toby Maguire playing Spider-Man—that’s hot as hell,” you don’t even bat an eye. Prada knows that you’ve got to play the game slow, they have figured out that you won’t get anywhere if you just go around trying to be the first to blast every trend to smithereens. So why the hell not try to reclaim a desultory accessory, even one as plainly offensive as those of the seashell variety? But Prada does not just stop with the seashells, they’re out here reinvigorating all sorts of nineties-staples-gone-wrong. Hell, look at Jeff Goldblum: dude starts wearing the cool Prada shirts and all the sudden he’s having another moment in the sun, it’s like he’s in goddamn Jurassic Park again. Out of the blue Jeff Goldblum just became your new favorite style icon and all thanks to Prada. So why not take a chance on a new conch shell bracelet? Or pair a bohemian seashell necklace with some well-worn espadrilles to live out your next seaside fantasy. At the very least when some idiot decides to second-guess your usage of iconic nineties trends, you can just scoff and tell them: “It’s Prada.”