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How Popular Media Trends Affect Fashion

By Joelle Beauchamp

“We used to wear that back in my day”, if you follow fashion, you’ve probably been told this by older people quite a few times. It is often observed within the post modernistic society in which we reside that styles are recycled from the past. This trend is apparent when looking through trends throughout history, although the past trends are usually modernized in some way, there are definite connections between past trends and current. We often see this through television, movies, and social media.

As television shows such as Stranger Things, which was set in the 1980’s, gain popularity, we see slightly adjusted styles from the 80’s coming back into fashion. In the recent surge in popularity, we see brands such as ASOS, Cider, and Revolve paying tribute to the growth of 80s-era fashion, with a modern spin. We have also seen a rise in the popularity of ‘home-knit’ sweaters, shorter shorts for men, and eccentrically printed tops.

As we observe popular television shows gaining popularity, we see fashion styles from the era in which the shows are set also gaining respective popularity. Examples include That 70’s Show, set in the 1970s, and Friends, set in the 1990s. Lauren Goulette, in an article on, says “according to the DSN English report on fashion trends, trends repeat every 20-30 years because of ‘generational changes as well as designers taking inspiration from styles their parents wore.’ Children are being influenced by their parents' clothing and seeking inspiration to translate that into “modern” clothing.”.

There are a few theories as to why trends cyclamate as they do. Trends today such as spandex, high-waisted jeans, and mullets were made popular in the 80’s, and trends such as the Farrah Faucet hair, platform shoes, and circular sunglasses were made popular in the 70’s.

The show Bridgerton, that became incredibly popular in 2020-2022, brought back fashion trends from the early 1800’s, including floral print, puffy sleeves, and regency-era bodice styles. It is a frequent trend in postmodernism fashion that there are references to both art and pop culture, which trends like this, that are coming back from past times, clearly exhibit.

Fashion trends are cyclical, and it is frequently observed that popular styles from the past are recycled with a modern spin. Through this cycle, and by observing popular trends in media, future trends can be easily identified and forecasted.

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