The next popular item that all the ~*~*TrEnDy*~*~ tastemakers will soon be wearing? Airbrushed trucker hats, of course. Make your way to the nearest mall, because airbrush designs are coming back.
By this point our cultural hivemind is really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of ’90s fashion trends. Many of those on the less-fugly to neutral scale have reassimilated themselves back into mainstream fashion, such as bucket hats and tracksuits. For better or worse, ’90s/millennial fashion doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon, which means that as time goes on the choices for what’s next in terms of staying ~on trend~ are becoming more and more desperate.
Why? Because the nostalgia evoked by the ’90s/millennial trend carries the promise of a return-to-authenticity, and is likewise a potential pathway for achieving individualist distinction. Yet just as nostalgia is fleeting, so is authenticity—both are dependent on rarity and uncommonality. In other words, in the search for stylistic authenticity we are driven by a desire to be “different”, yet this is type of distinction is ironically dependent upon others’ sartorial preferences. As something rises in popularity and is enjoyed by too many other people, it consequently fails to express distinction any longer, leading to it being disliked and rejected. As common symbols of ’90s/millennial nostalgia cease to be nostalgic, and their “authenticity” ceases to be considered authentic or distinct, they begin to decline in popularity yet again (until they inevitably rises again in their next cycle of obsolescence–the prodigal third coming.)
Cycles of obsolescence are commonly discussed in reference to fashion trends, where “resistant moves” often eventually fail to express distinction once their prevalence outpaces their resistance. When this occurs, a more novel aesthetic is needed to subvert convention. This therefore leads us to posit that the next questionable fashion item to return is the airbrushed tee/hat.
Is this a trend that should be revived? Of course not. It’s godawful. But this is exactly why it will make a comeback. We’re living in a tumblr-prescient self-aware post-normcore fashion world now, where what actually looks good has taken a backseat to comfort (see: athleisure) and irony. If “cool” is broadcast by how you’re not trying to look “cool”, then airbrush garments are the ticket–there’s nothing that says “I’m totally unique, self-aware and don’t care how I look” than this.
Don’t feel like you can pull off rockin’ a trucker hat with a hawt airbrush design this summer? Don’t worry, there’s always Von Dutch trucker hats! They too can provide a soothing balm for your discontented 21st-century woes.
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