The Fashion of the 1990s

The 90s saw a huge shift in popular culture, especially in the western world, a iconoclastic and ebbing zeitgeist that completely changed the world of fashion. The 90s, especially in America and the UK, has often been seen as a “Nihilistic” decade, but really it was more about iconoclasm and societal disenfranchisement, then true nihilism (the belief in the nothing, or that nothing has value). One of the primary reasons for this controversy was the rise of the modern day “super model.” Models, had, of course, been popular far before the 90s but it was during this decade that super stars such as Kate Moss and other Calvin Klein models posed in risqué clothing and perfume ads, revealing extremely thin physiques. These photos were often defaced with lines such as, “Feed me,” due to allegations that Calvin Klein and by association, Moss, were attempting to promote eating disorders as something positive. Needless, to say, this was not actually the companies intent, but rather, they were attempting to tap into the changing beauty standards of the decade.
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Beyond this controversy, the 90s also saw the resurgence and re-branding of many old trends, specifically those from the 1950s and 60s. Some of these included the Mod revival, wherein clothing wearers and general fops attempted to bring back the extravagant and outlandish clothing of Britain 60s psychedelic rock scene. Alongside the mods were the goths whose style continued to develop from the space rocker look of the 80s into the more gentile and Victorian garb which goths tend to favor to this day. But perhaps, the style the 90s is most famously known for is that of the punk rock look. With the sly rocketing fame of bands like Nirvana and a growing sense of societal disenfranchisement, the youth rebellion took these musical icons as heroes and molded their fashion after them, with a focus on rough, bleach and stone washed jeans, flared collars, curtained hair and flannel.