Thursday, May 23, 2024

Column: The return of vintage style

January 30, 2019
A record player plays a record on March 15, 2016 at The Record Lounge 111 Division St. in East Lansing.
A record player plays a record on March 15, 2016 at The Record Lounge 111 Division St. in East Lansing.

Retro, vintage and antique are all words casually thrown around by young adults. With the societal revival of old fashion, media, culture and art, in a sort of inevitable cycle, many renowned brands have made a profit off selling products to a younger generation.

For example, there is currently a large market for record players and cassettes. According to Statista, in 2012, 49,000 turntables were sold, whereas in 2017, 67,000 turntables were sold, an increase of nearly 20,000. If one were to walk into Urban Outfitters, a clothing chain which identifies their brand as hipster and trendy, they would see the three floors filled with vinyls, thin framed aviator glasses, bell bottom jeans and t-shirts baring the faces of late icons like Madonna, Prince, and The Smiths.

Because the teenagers and young adults of Generation Z were raised and guided by people who grew up during the 70’s and 80’s — Generation X — musical and fashion influences will inevitably be passed along. 

Our mothers and fathers were raised in a time of dusty pop rock music and vibrant attire. Our fathers head-banged to Bon Jovi in the front seat of 1985 Chevrolet Cavaliers, bucket hats and mullets flopping around. Our mothers sprinted down their high school hallways wearing frizzy, curly hair pulled to one side with a scrunchie. An image and wealth promoted through faux gold jewelry and sequined clothing. 

The 70’s were a decade of funky disco, the rising popularity of Stephen King, and continuation of vast architecture such as the Sears Tower and the World Trade Center, while the 80’s were a decade full of cult classic films, MTV music videos and popular video games. 

Most kids have the experience of sitting in their garage or attic, watching with wide, excited eyes as their parents place a decaying cardboard box down in front of them. In front of them is treasure: a collection of their parents’ old yearbooks, photographs, and clothing items which mean the most to them. There is something special about reminiscing on the life of one’s parents before he or she was born. 

Vintage style is a way of reintroducing the past, to show that previous fades were not forgotten forever, and are still cherished even if they are not seen as current or mainstream. By wearing certain clothes or listening to certain music through different mediums we are celebrating the past and creating a narrative in which we are apart of, intertwined, with the past, where we can become our parents and see the world as they saw it during that time. 

Whether we accomplish this through playing an old vinyl on our record player made in 2015, rather than a refurbished one originally from 1976, or we’re wearing “mom jeans” that we purchased through an expensive online realtor, rather than the thrift store, we are achieving modern repetition of our parents' pasts in small ways. 

People online attempt to tear down those who have a fashion sense or music taste reminiscent of past decades, accusing them of being fake fans, using these staples to gain attention and traction.

I think the ability to express oneself through different styles is something which should be more accepted. Wearing eccentric clothes or hairstyles or listening to music that isn’t the Top 40 can be a good thing as it adds to our diversity as a whole. We should be celebrating past icons and styles to break up routines and reignite the sparks of originality. 

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