90s Nostalgia Comes on Strong in Fashion and Pop Culture

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

From those ubiquitous chokers to ’90s-themed retail pop-ups to…yada, yada, yada…the final decade of the last Millennium is hotter than the Rachel ‘do that’s everywhere on those endless “Friends” reruns. Yes, the ’90s are really back in a big way, so there are lots of opportunities to revisit the fashions, the accessories and the moment.

A stroll through some hits in this ’90s revival, but first, turn your speakers way up and click play:

CNN’S “The Nineties” Docu-Series

CNN has been revisiting the ’90s on Sunday evenings, from examining Lady Miss Kier’s groovy retro style in Dee-Lite to hip-hop culture and dress. It’s all against the backdrop of social, economic and political happenings, right down to a young First Lady Hillary Clinton and her headbands.

The Choker’s Overwhelming Return


The power of the choker trend surprised everyone in the industry with its staying power, but no one is complaining. Retailers and manufacturers owe a huge thank you to the ’90s for saving jewelry departments this year! From simple velvet and ribbon chokers to bolder styles, the choker is ’90s incarnate.

STORY’s “Remember When”

Story’s “Remember When” ’90s-themed pop up.

Retail concept shop STORY in Manhattan was ahead of the curve with last year’s “Remember When” show, an immersive retro experience that celebrated Nickelodeon’s iconic shows and memorable characters from the ’90s. To bring the ’90s “back to life, back to reality,” Story teamed up with over 25 brands on items that celebrate the spirit of ’90s Nickelodeon–from a pair of Double Dare-inspired Keds and a stonewashed denim jacket by Gap, to Rolex watches customized by Bamford Watch Department.

Story’s “Remember When” concept, featuring 90s-themed pouches by Kayci Wheatley

Neiman Marcus even got into the action, with an online extension of the “Remember When” pop up.  “Consumer demand for ’90s Nickelodeon is off the charts and we are excited to introduce an exclusive new line of products based on our most popular shows to celebrate this iconic chapter of our history,” said Pam Kaufman, chief marketing officer and president of consumer products at Nickelodeon, at the time.

Steve Madden’s Slinky Slides

Steve Madden Slinky Slides revived from the ’90s

Nothing says ’90s accessories like Steve Madden’s ubiquitous slides from that decade. Virtually every teen and 20-something had them and their “flip, flip, flip” sound with each step gave every office and sidewalk its own unique soundtrack. Shoe seller Steve Madden, always on the pulse of the Zeitgeist, saw it fit to revive this famous shoe, with some minor tweaks.

Limited Too’s ’90s Mobile Pop Up

Limited Too’s planned mobile pop up.

If you were a ‘tween in the ’90s, surely you remember the quintessential mall store Limited Too. While it was acquired in 2015 and items sold on e-commerce sites like Amazon, parent company Bluestar Alliance is reviving Limited Too’s former pink and blue glittery glory in an altered state. Targeting back-to-school shoppers, the ’90s retailer is going mobile (That’s brick-and-mortar mobile, not phone mobile; remember, we didn’t have phones in the ’90s!) According to a release, a “the 527-square-foot shop embraces the iconic look of the popular ’90s mall destination,” and will make its way around New York City from August 6 to 10.

Uptown Bounce Night: I Love the ’90s

Museum of the City of New York. Filip Wolak

As part of El Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York’s themed summer block party series each Wednesday visitors were inspired to explore the exhibits and dance the night away to ’90s-themed exhibits and music. The “Uptown Bounce” pop-up featured designs from the Harlem Haberdashery store, which was instrumental in styling some of the biggest names in hip-hop in the ’90s, from Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs to Missy Elliott, as well as exhibits, art and dance classes.

Nicole Miller’s Grunge Redux
90s Trend

Nicole Miller FW17. FirstView

If you want something that smells like teen spirit, look no further than the Fall/Winter 2017. Nicole Miller went full-on grunge, with knit beanies, Dr Martens, slip dresses and floral and plaid.

Prada’s Nylon Backpack Influence


And what to wear to all these ’90s retro events? A black nylon backpack, of course. Either dig up that original Prada black nylon backpack, or buy a new one (for $995), that’s still being sold on the website. They didn’t call it Athleisure back in the ’90s, but Prada was certainly ahead of the curve.

Feeling nostalgic? Us too. Time to dig up those Docs!

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