Forget the uber-cool, filtered version you’ve seen all over the ‘gram – @90smagz offers a look at what was really going on
In terms of style, the 90s have been pretty well explored. At this point, it’s basically happened twice – first, in the actual 90s, and then all over again in the last five years or so. Seemingly, no one had any new ideas, so we literally just decided to do the era over. The problem with this 90s 2.0 thing, though, is that so often the plentiful Instagram moodboards dedicated to the movement offer an inauthentic simulacrum of the real thing: a thirteen year-old in a Kangol bucket hat; Dua Lipa in a choker. You know, that kind of thing.
But then, every now and again, you come across an homage to the 90s done properly: a well researched, painful glimpse into how cringe the era actually was: Skechers, Lugz, Feelers, Della’s, editorials that literally say ‘I wIsH I hAd A cAr!’, and pages and pages dedicated to lipglosses based on both colour and flavour. Step forward @90smagz.
“I started @90smagz because 90s fashion magazines have always been a key element of my own personal fashion,” Sachen, the Chicagoland-based photographer behind the account, explains. “A fashion brand called Delia’s has always been such an iconic ‘90s brand that got me excited for fashion and I’ve always seen 90s nostalgic pages on Instagram, but I’ve never seen one dedicated to 90s fashion magazines. So I thought it would be a great idea to start one.”
And it was: the account has already drawn a solid 60k strong following, which is absolutely down to the level of research. Sachen has cracked the line between looking back at our style past and unearthing both the genius, the joyful, and the utterly cringe. “I think people miss the simplicity of 90s fashion and trends,” Sachen says of their following. “Girls wore more modest clothing but they still had personality and flare. From butterfly clips to tattoo chokers, the 90s aesthetic was more fun and out of the box.”
I ask Sachen if they think this cultural nostalgia is a good thing. “It just shows that there is never really a new trend, everything repeats itself in one way or another. We are just people who crave inspiration and what better way to get inspiration is from the past.”
Perhaps I’m just too old to wear what I wore back then, and am simply jealous of people like Troye Sivan who want to go back to 1999 and experience it first hand (given he was four at the turn of the millennium). There are two versions of the 90s culturally relevant today: the trendy, romanticised one that’s been flushed through filter after filter and has only the best bits running through it, and then there’s the cringe 90s, that many of us might be more familiar with: the one with Billabong and desperately running to the shop after school in the hopes that the new Smash Hits had come in, the pre-Instagram Tammy Girl hauls performed only for your friends, the Velcro wallets, the dial-up tones, and too many double-denim clad popstars to mention. @90smagz is a perfect blend of the two.