Remember When?

Fall 2011, a.k.a. the season of  crazy fashion time traveling. All images courtesy of

We're a generation of nostalgia. As I write this, Elvis's "Blue Moon" is playing on my laptop and Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978) is in my Netflix slip. And why? Because Tavi said so, as well as Boing Boing and Elle. Oddly every recent cultural maven has referenced the '60s mod or '80s grunge, but is rarely inspired by modern milestones such as portable technology and global warming. Fashion, which I always see as a reflection of mass culture, has recently been referencing the past instead of the now. More than ever, designers are willing to look into the brands' archives for inspiration. 

 This debate of whether we really are a culture devoid of original content was brought up when I read an article on the demise of the hipster. Though it isn't fair to say hipsters are always the determinants of modern culture, the article did make its point: history as we know it is moving backwards. While we may think the new Kayne/Jay-Z duo is as fresh as it gets, the whole groundwork for "Otis" relies on Al Green's 1972 hit. This isn't just in music--every genre of mass media I can draw up pays homage to the old legends. Even what we deem as authentic is a reference of a reference. 
Now let me just clear up the air--I am not against nor for reminiscence. Our distinct generation has to admit that most of the media we're exposed to is reworked. Simply being aware of this can create dialogue and encourage, or discourage, people from creating a truly authentic culture of our own.

Anyone else feeling a little bit of deja vu?

The first step to recovery is admitting that we, as a generation, have an addiction. We're desperate for our cultural past and practically demand it. Shrewd companies have caught on and are giving consumers what they want. Nickelodeon plans on syndicating reruns of cartoons and sitcoms from our glorious '90s, and 8-bit culture is on the rise once again. As a rewrite culture that loves to create mashups and parodies, I don't see this changing anytime soon. We may just be an entire generation with a serious case of Peter Pan syndrome. 

 John Kim 

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