The recycling of trends: why and how does it happen?


Erica Lee

Clothing, photography, music, and other trends make a comeback every few years.

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The iconic 90s decade holds some of the most memorable moments in history, immortalizing many of its trends. While they periodically disappear from our feeds and closets, the decade’s inventions always find their way back into our lives. This phenomenon is not only limited to the 90s and is seen with other decades as well. 

 The DSN English article on fashion trends said  that due to “generational changes as well as designers drawing inspiration from styles their parents wore,” trends recur every 20 to 30 years. Additionally, access to newspapers, periodicals, and movies from these eras contributes to the development of modern fashion. 

Junior Malak Elzaalok said, “Trends are cyclical. They all have a nostalgic value, even the bad ones. Because of that, they always make a comeback. The real challenge is figuring out which ones will come back with more force.”

However, these patterns don’t only apply to clothes. In a typical Instagram feed, you can find grainy photos, vintage filtering, and disposable cameras. In spite of digital photography and its many developments, many still seek the vintage look attained by a physical photo, as seen by the rebound in Polaroid camera sales. Although almost every smartphone in the world can now be used as a camera, people are still drawn to huddling around a photo as it develops in front of their eyes.

This romanticism of the past is also seen with music and vinyl collections. In an interview conducted by The Manual, Charlie Randall, CEO of McIntosh Labs, said, “There is something romantic about records, something satisfying about opening the album jacket, seeing the fantastic artwork, and studying the liner notes while listening to the album. That’s something that today’s digital files just can’t replace.”

Senior Abigail Agoa agreed with this sentiment and said, “sometimes, it’s not about practicality. Vinyls have a classic feel to them. I think that’s why a lot of people collect them. Yes, you could just pop on your headphones and listen to music on Spotify. But you could also put a vinyl in and have the best musical experience possible.”

Regardless of why trends are created, disappear, and come back, one thing is for certain: our interests are subjective. Whether you love matching tracksuits, rued the day low-rise jeans were reintroduced, or don’t understand the hype behind disposables, there is something for everyone to latch onto nostalgically. 

Photo by Erica Lee