What were the shiny, grimy 90s really about?
Latter stages of 2010s are stuck in 1990s scattershot but edgy cultural collage
Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. “In pop culture terms, what was interesting about the 1990s was how subculture and edginess became completely mainstreamed.” Photograph: Time Life Pictures/DMI/Getty Images
It’s impossible to avoid the omnipresence of the 1990s in contemporary pop culture, fashion and media. The 1990s revival that had been threatened for so long has embedded itself in the mainstream, with a generation that was born post-2000 appropriating the cheesiness of the 1990s as contemporary cool, and those who grew up in it confused about the re-emergence of everything from tiny sunglasses to bleached-out hair, lo-fi rock and oversized logos.