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Sweaters, flannels, windbreakers and crewnecks are some 90s fashion trends that are coming back. (OLIVER HAMLIN | PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)

'90s clothing is making a comeback on campus, in the fashion world

Even though it’s 2016, it may be hard to tell based on the clothing typically worn around campus.

With 90s attire such as baggy pants, jerseys, silky shirts, high-waisted jeans, round sunglasses and even cornrows being worn by countless amounts of people, the style seems to have a strong flavor around Athens.

Janet Santone, owner of Uptown Costumes, said the local reemergence of ‘90s fashion isn’t surprising considering present college students were born in the era.

“The age backgrounds of students coming to Ohio University consist of individuals who were born in the 90s,” Santone said. “Many of them often see pictures and hear stories of their parents and relatives wearing this wardrobe, so it’s partially ingrained in their culture.”

Lisa Williams, a lecturer of retail merchandising and fashion product development, said apparel designers commonly look at fashion trends from two decades ago for inspiration and ideas on how to spark nostalgia for the current youth. 

“It’s fairly common to see clothing cycle back, there’s only so much innovation that can be done in the fashion,” she said “Since the ‘90s are now two decades old, designers are looking toward that time period to inspiration."

Williams said ‘90s apparel lures teens with the freedom of self-expression it symbolizes.

“The ‘90s represented more freedom from the 1980s when people dressed in professional attire which symbolized their desire to make money and succeed in business,” Williams said. “‘90s fashion rebelled away from this professional look, people really aimed to express themselves more through grunge clothing and revealing crop tops.” 

Cierra Boyd is the president of Scene Magazine and a senior studying retail merchandising and product development. Based off her experiences living in Los Angeles and Cleveland, she said the emergence of ‘90s fashion is more popular in places beyond Athens where people have more access to retail outlets.

“From my observations, I’d say this fashion is more popular in urban towns,” Boyd said. “Everybody in these areas shops in stores like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Brandy Melville — which embodies ‘90s fashion.”

Boyd said ‘90s items like choker necklaces and overalls have peaked and started to phase out in popularity compared to other accessories from that decade.

Williams said trends tend to make brief reappearances in popular culture. In the past decades, fashion trends from 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s have made brief reappearances and in pop culture in the early to mid-2000s.

Even though clothing from the ‘90s has proven itself a landmark in fashion, Williams said ‘60s merchandise has been the most popular worn by consumers, setting a standard for what fashion should embody regardless of the decade.

“The ‘60s represented a personal freedom to design your own style without having to be rigid toward what is expected in society,” she said. “It was comfortable, easy to mix and match, colorful and allowed for you to wear free flowing things that expressed your personality.” 

Williams said the commercialization of apparel representing sports and musical icons will help cement ‘90s apparel as an important period of pop culture.

Boyd said she’s eager to see other decade fashion trends reappear in the upcoming years.

“I definitely embody ‘90s style but in the next couple of years, I think 2000s fashion will take a rise and I am already getting hip to it.”


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