By Kay Maloney
In a world that seems to be developing at an increasingly fast pace, an abandonment of the past would seem likely. During these times, the media seems adamant to convey a message that the millennial generation is solely dependent upon the internet. While it would be wrong to say technology and social media do not play a large part in many youth’s lives, many of the trends millennials are following these days do not seem to be emulating an addiction to technology, but rather echo the past. One aspect of this return to the past that I have found particularly interesting is the resurgence and popularity of wearing vintage clothing. In the past decade, more and more females can be seen trying to imitate fashion trends of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. However, while vintage clothing may cultivate a feeling of individuality, its trending is a result of many factors that extend far beyond it being solely a catalyst for self-expression.
Celebrities play a lead role in the dissemination of vintage clothing. Social media not only allows for celebrities to cultivate an image for themselves, but also provides a platform that can be used for branding and advertising. Celebrities are always the first to sport a new fashion trend, acting as the mediators for trends and the public. Therefore, social media users use their influence to tell their followers how to be trendy by wearing a certain article of clothing that will inevitably be sold by the thousands once advertised. This advertising of clothing then leads thousands of people to possess the same articles of clothing. However, people who wear vintage items have realized that they are not only expressing themselves differently, but are subtly rebelling against the uniformity that the internet fosters.
While social media stars play an integral role in popularizing vintage clothing, the rise of this trend is also a direct result of an increased desire for individuality. As does any industry in today’s world, the fashion industry is dominated by demand and keeping time with the latest trends to maximize profit. Brands such as Forever 21 and American Apparel sell mass-produced clothing that has led to a culture of uniformity in today’s fashion world. Amidst the rise of social media platforms that enables millennials to cultivate the same, fast pace, care-free, image for themselves, there is now a desire to appear different from the mass-produced culture. The desire to be different manifests itself in many ways, yet one avenue seems to be a retreat to old-fashion trends. The need for self-expression and rebellion against the widely accepted fashion norms of today, portrays an interesting aspect of the millennial mindset. Despite seeming to be a generation that is highly dependent on social media, the retreat to vintage fashion and a divergence from mass-produced brands, highlights a culture that rejects the uniformity that plagues social media.
Vintage clothing is only one example of a way in which millennials are subtly rebelling against the complete digital world that the media insists is the direction of the future. Ultimately, alongside the digital world comes a loss of novelty and individuality that used to exist in past generations. It is this loss that has led for millennials to popularize old-fashioned customs, as a marker for self-expression and individuality.