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Nostalgia will kill us all

Memory lane is not that cute.

August 23, 2018

Everyone has run out of fresh ideas, or at least that's what it feels like lately. We've seen the intense grip on nostalgia run fervently in every level of fashion, from the resurrection of Juicy Couture velour sweatsuits alongside Hot Topic-core chain belts, to Prada's return to its 2012 flame motif and Versace taking it back to its over-the-top, dripping-in-gold stylings. Recent trends have also regressed toward an elementary school aesthetic — beaded bags that looks like the product of a particularly fruitful kindergarten craft session are ubiquitous, and sought-after independent designers like Mimi Wade are creating collections in collaboration with Polly Pocket, Mattel's microdoll that's gearing up for a relaunch later this year.

But it’s not just fashion that’s beginning to become trapped in the past. Monday night's VMAs were the most excruciatingly boring in the award show's history, riddled with half-assed throwbacks to the event's glory years. It's an unsurprising move from a network who didn't learn from its certified flop that is its TRL reboot, and is now giving the same treatment to another relic, The Hills. Film and television studios are hellbent on remaking every successful franchise from the ’80s and ’90s, and the success of Netflix's horror series Stranger Things, which hones in on the '80s small town aesthetic, is proof that the trend has no plans of slowing down.

Turning toward nostalgia is an understandable reaction to the literal hell we live in today, an America where the culture of fear, suspicion, and divide feel like an alarming replica of the early-aughts. There's also a resistance toward taking risks and moving forward, which is why we'll be getting more Jurassic Park movies than we'll ever know what to do with. At the core of nostalgia is safety, but too much of it causes a morph into stagnation. And at this rate, memory lane is a one-way road toward decline.

A post shared by Mattel (@mattel) on

Thumbnail image via Juicy Couture's Instagram.

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