A not-so-nostalgic, nostalgic aesthetic
Why younger generations indulge in the outdated aesthetics of the 1980’s
When faced with the minimalistic grids of Instagram along with the minimalistic modern fashion of the same style, nostalgia seems to have ridden through the 2010’s like a train, inspiring a magnitude of photographers, fashionistas and aesthetic-lovers alike to revert back to the grungy, low quality styles of decades before.
Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times understands it as a form of indulgence by generations who missed the trends of the past, fascinated by the styles of decades they were too young to experience.
“Maybe,” Friedman wrote as a response to the gradual uprising of the 1980’s aesthetics. “Designers are simply offering [younger generations] what they want (or don’t yet know they want, but actually do).”
Photography teacher Brian Chow echoes Friedman’s understanding of the vintage appeal. As the only school in the FUHSD district that uses film cameras in addition to the modern DSLR, Chow appreciates that his job allows him and his students to indulge in the ‘outdated’ artforms.
Chow appreciates photographers’ involvement in the intricate process of taking and developing a photo on film.
“I like the process, I like the cameras,” Chow said. “I think it feels much closer to crafting art — constructing a photograph.”
As far as students go, Chow recognizes that the vintage aesthetic of film cameras engage them in a way DSLRs can’t. Young students’ lack of exposure to the form of photography also intrigues them, the same idea Friedman understood.
“I think especially initially, [students are] engaged in [using film cameras],” Chow said. “With photography, because we are using older, [more] established technology, I think there’s an interest in that. It’s a time warp — it’s the whole vintage thing. Its unique.”
Friedman also explains the difference between the 1980’s inspiration in 2018 and other resurfaced decade trends. While the trends of the the 1980’s had taken inspiration from those of the 40’s, when there was an influx of women introduced into the workforce, the inspiration of the 40’s was simply that — an inspiration. An homage, some could even say. However, the resurfacing of the the 1980’s in 2018 is much more direct, where fashion trends are being directly taken out of vintage editions of Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
The rise of the vintage appearance in photographs and aesthetics not only took the world of fashion by storm, but also engulfed the feeds of several celebrities, namely television personality Kim Kardashian with an Instagram following of 110 million.
The direct extraction of The 1980’s aesthetic in photographs is recently most notable in the popular app, Huji Cam. The app provides a built-in filter for images taken with the app, adding grain, saturation and — the feature it’s most popularly known — light effects. A riff off of FujiFilm, a Japanese photography and imaging company, the app has made a statement that they have no affiliation with the company.
Huji Cam came to sophomore Sayalee Mylavarapu’s attention when singer Selena Gomez posted a photo with the filter on her Instagram account. When coming across a photo of Gomez’s use of the app, it was a push for Mylavarapu to download it as well.
“I really just thought [Gomez’s] picture looked nice, and later when I found out about [the app], I remembered that it looked like her picture,” Mylavarapu said.
Aside from inspiration from celebrities or because of the aesthetic of the1980’s, some, like sophomore Shreya Ganapathy use the app simply because it makes the subject of her photos look more vibrant and saturated, a look that often appeals to the eye.
“My skin is really brown, [so pictures of it] look really dull, and Huji makes it look more bright and vibrant and smooth,” Ganapathy said. “It would play around with light effects all the time and I liked that look.”
Chow also recognizes the visual appeal of saturation and the style of photo editing which Huji provides, stating any subject with the right color balance can be ‘eye candy’ to a consumer.
“I think people like saturation, people like extremes, people like drama… photographs, even before these filters and stuff, people like heavily saturated photographs,” Chow said. “You could take a photograph of the most mundane thing and just douse it with a bunch of vibrant colors and people will go ‘Ooo.’”
While Chow does understand the visual appeal of the vintage look which many of the youth haven’t had the opportunity to experience, as Friedman previously stated, he doesn’t find that is it a form of art to be proud of, since it isn’t a depiction of any personal artistic style.
“It’s sort of a throwback to the vintage sort of look… so it’s kind of a new trend that hasn’t been rehashed necessarily, so they’re kind of trying to capture some of that, which I find kind of interesting,” Chow said. “[But,] I wouldn’t use that because I have my own style, so why would I want to copy someone else’s style, when I have my own.”
As the visual appeal of the The 1980’s has made a comeback through fashion, celebrity feeds and visuals as a whole, the vintage vibe has made its mark for the 2018 aesthetics-lover, especially those indulging in the trends they never had the opportunity to experience.
A lack of personal style? Maybe so. However, visual trends appealing to a consumer will not stop making an appearance in designer runways and regular Instagram feeds alike anytime soon.
Shows of the ‘90s
Students and teachers discuss how newer television shows differ from older ones
From “Friends” to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” to “Full House,” teenagers are rediscovering these popular ‘90s television shows, binge watching seasons and referencing the show in everyday conversation. Since these shows have become a topic of conversation, it has left people intrigued and asking themselves whether these shows are worth watching.
For sophomore Wen Jin, her love for older TV shows started when she came across the reruns on cable. After seeing a few minutes of an episode, she would feel obligated to finish it, explaining that it was like starting to read a book without finishing it. As she continued to watch, she started to fall in love with the characters and story, eventually leading her to watch the rest of the show.
Jin explains that she prefers watching classic ‘90s sitcoms and dramas like “Seinfeld” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” over newer TV shows.
“I guess old TV shows are just more reliable for good content,” Jin said. “If I want to find a good TV show to watch, I would start looking at older ones.”
Jin also explains that the writers today aren’t as creative as they once were, citing Full House as an example of how writers used comedy while still showing the importance of family. On the contrary, in newer TV shows, writers are scared to discuss more serious topics, especially in children’s shows. She also thinks that TV shows now are over the top and not realistic.
On the other hand, literature teacher Randy Holaday prefers newer shows, despite growing up with older ‘90s TV shows.
“I like the sitcoms now way better,” Holaday said. “Some of my friends are super obsessed with [‘Friends’], but I don’t understand it now. I thought it was funny as a kid, but now I feel like the comedy is so much better with the scripted dramas than they used to be.”
Holaday explains that with the creation of Netflix and other similar platforms, the way in which shows can be watched has changed. Viewers are now able to binge watch seasons all at once if they want to, instead of waiting every week for a new episode.
“I was a huge Joss Whedon fan and he would talk about how you have to play to the commercial breaks,” Holaday said. “You have to write so that when there’s a commercial break, the audience [feels] the need to stick around, and then you would have to write the ending so the audience would feel the need to come back the next week.”
According to Holaday, this ability to binge watch has also allowed the writers to add more storytelling elements, such as character development, and write a more continuous storyline, as they no longer have to write towards these parameters.
“I feel like [with older shows], you get so many where every week there was a new story,” Holaday said. “It’s the same character, but it’s about whatever crime or monster of the week. It almost reset every episode, whereas now you get a continuous storyline. Every episode picks up where the last one left off, and it’s more about the central story rather than just the serial resetting of happening over and over again.”
Differences in older TV shows compared to newer ones are also recognized by sophomore Anna Kolesov. Although she doesn’t understand some of the references made, especially those referring to what’s popular or what’s going on at the time, she still loves watching shows from the ‘90s and being able to see what life was like before she was born.
“I definitely see a difference in comedy because during these different times, there are different references to everything,” Kolesov said. “There [are] different jokes and trends [that are popular] during the time the TV show is made and they base their episodes off of what their viewers at the time can relate to.”
Freshman Hannah Ho also noticed changes in shows, especially with the advancement of technology and social media. She explains that now everything is based on how things play out in the media unlike in older shows, where the relationships between the actors are more personal, which is shown through their characters.
“[In] the older TV shows, people interacted more,” Ho said. “Like in Friends, the actors themselves have stated that if they had phones, they probably wouldn’t have been able to interact and create the comedy that they were able to.”
Another difference that Kolesov observed is the characters’ change in fashion style throughout the run of the show. With the trends always changing, characters of a show tend to follow styles that were popular at the time, which Kolesov finds fascinating. She recognizes that this change is very prominent in one of her favorite TV shows, “Friends”.
“You can see what Rachel and all the ‘Friends’ characters are wearing in the beginning of the show, which is like turtlenecks, and how the stylist chose dress the characters, versus a big change when the show goes into it’s later seasons and the 2000s,” Kolesov said.
While Kolesov started watching ‘90s shows in her search for more sitcoms, Ho started watching older shows mainly because she liked the cast.
“I liked Jennifer Aniston because I watched a couple movies she was in, so I was like, ‘Okay she’s in Friends, I’ll watch Friends,’” Ho said. “For ‘ER,’ it was because of George Clooney.”
Nevertheless, whether it’s ‘90s sitcoms or more recent dramas, Jin explains that there’s one thing that can always be agreed on: watching TV never gets old.
“It’s relaxing not to have to deal with real world stuff,” Jin said. “Just like turning your brain off. It’s good for my mental health.”
Additional reporting by Himani Yalamaddi
Photos courtesy of Creative Commons
Coming back into style
How fashion trends make their way back into students’ wardrobes
Fashion trends like jean jackets, chokers, mom jeans and scrunchies — previously popular in eras past — seem to be coming back into style, headed by influencers in pop culture and the internet. We spoke to four students, sophomores Sophia Powell and Magnus Bruun, junior Ryo Kather, as well as senior Jagruti Kolla, and asked them about their own sense of style, what’s popular now and how it influences them. Scroll through the story to read through their Q&As and click over the images for more information about their clothing.
How do you define your sense of style?
MB: “Honestly, I just wear what I like. I take inspiration from people I like listening to, I like listening to rap, so A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator, [and Kanye West] and stuff like that. I kind of just see what they’re wearing, I don’t wear exactly what they wear, I just kinda base it off that.”
RK: “Minimal [because I don’t wear logos or anything and [I] like pretty basic [clothes]. I also get that a lot.”
JK: “Comfortable, because I dress as I see is most comfortable rather than most fashionable.”
SP: “On trend. If I see something I like [...] then I look for something like that in a store. But also casual. I don’t like anything fancy, anything that hurts me. Heels? No.”
Do you think that any aspects of your style is drawn from earlier eras?
MB: “Sure, there’s like a vintage aspect to it I guess. I don’t wear that much, but like light blue, ripped jeans and cuffed pants, I really like those, so that’s probably the only thing.”
RK: “[I don’t follow] more Hypebeast stuff and streetwear, that kind of crowd. But, for something that I follow is like palewave, [which is] minimal colors. During spring and summer, [you would wear] muted pink or muted cream.”
JK: “No. I just think I just wear whatever I have at my house. Once in a while if I’m feeling kind of fancy I wear chokers. That’s from a different era. Oversized sweaters in general.”
SP: “Definitely we’re bringing back the 90’s a little bit. Like I’m wearing mom jeans and I really like those. Definitely the 90’s I’d say. Window Pane, it’s like a type of pattern, it’s kind of like checkered, different lines, I really like that, so I have a couple shirts. And pants. Crop tops -- I mean those have been in for a while but that started with the 90s/80s-ish.”
In your opinion: What is the popular style of dress right now?
MB: “Probably just comfortable hoodies and stuff, a lot of people wear hoodies right now. I see a lot of people wearing Vans. I see a lot of checkered stuff like on Instagram, so like a lot of people wearing checkered stuff and like striped stuff.”
JK: “I think it’s pretty sporty, right? Like track pants and things like that. I think it’s just more centric around comfort. Maybe it’s just a shift in focus.”
SP: “A lot of ripped clothing. Cause like a lot of my jeans, at least have a lot of rips, at least and a lot of other people’s do too, so that’s something that’s really on-trend. Also, adding like a splash of color that you normally wouldn’t add, usually that goes with like shoes. Bright colors.”
Do you think specific eras of fashion are returning?
RK: “Yeah. More like retro like the 90s. That like came back within this season I guess you could say. [For example], vertical stripes and older brands like Champion and like Puma or Tommy Hilfiger. You see in stores and malls, [such as] H&M, they purposely do more trendy stuff.”
JK: “Yeah. I noticed that a lot of the stuff that my mom used to wear in the 90s in her pictures -- I see a lot of girls wearing, and guys wearing too -- around the streets and just everywhere. Every era we tend to exchange stuff from the previous era and one of those things is art, and fashion is definitely like a huge part of art. So I think people are just inspired by the icons of the 90s and follow those trends now. Trends are always changing.”
Why do you think some of these trends left in the first place and why do you think they’re back?
MB: “I think that the reason they come back is because people see celebrities wearing them and a lot of people are inspired by celebrities, so if they see their favorite icon wearing something, they’ll probably try it out too and they would think it’s cool.”
JK: “I just think people are just super experimental and once someone starts something, people start to feed off of that and put their own twist on it. So i feel like a group of people or one person started it and it kind of turned into this big thing because everyone is in on it because of like social media, def the influence of being in an internet age with all this art and fashion.”
What specific clothing items or brands are coming back?
MB: “Adidas is doing really good right now. Also, back in the day, people used to not like Fila and Champion, but a lot of people wear it right now. I think it’s kind of weird how it just came back out of nowhere.”
JK: “Yeah, just like plaid pants. they’re like plaid, they’re gray, and they have red and black stripes, and definitely like turtlenecks and things like that, and hoops! I love hoops.”
SP: “Some brands, like Adidas or something, like they’re kind of bringing back the 90s for sure, like platform shoes, and like athletic-wear.”
Why do you think certain fashion trends come back and some things stay in the past? What gives them the ability to come back?
MB: “I would say famous people are like the major icons. They’re the ones who decide where the style is going. They wear different stuff from everybody else, so they look different and people know about them more. There’s going to be articles about them wearing different stuff that no one’s ever worn before.”
SP: “I feel like it could just be some inspirational person, or like even fashion icons, like whether they’re social media-based or they’re just on magazines, they could bring it back themselves, like they wanted to, because you know, they probably lived in the 90s and they probably started wearing some of their old things, and then people just started looking at that and wanting to bring it back, potentially.”
A look at the hidden stories behind childhood photos
High school brings about a different lifestyle for kids. They mature, and the days of riding bikes outside with their neighbors after school or running around a sprinkler in their bathing suits soon fade away. Teenagers develop new priorities – academics, their social lives, their futures.
Though these childhood moments only remain as memories, they’re kept alive through media, photos and videos in decade-old Facebook posts or big cardboard boxes in the attic.
El Estoque dedicated its 2017 May issue to childhood. This year, we asked several MVHS students to describe photos that they associate with their childhood. Scroll down to view their old photos, as well as a photo of them today.
Freshman Maya Singh remembers taking this photo of herself when she lost her first tooth at around three years old. Although 9 p.m. was late at night for a three-year old, Singh remembers running to her parents in excitement to show them her tooth.
Singh explains that when she looks at photos like this one, she’s reminded of her day-to-day life as child.
“[It was] a lot easier and carefree,” Singh said. “People cared about nothing before, but now people are so worried about grades and boys and colleges, and this picture reminds me to stay in that carefree state, [while] still mak[ing] sure I am staying on the right track so my grades don’t drop.”
When asked what age she would want to be again, Singh said third grade because of this freedom to be laid back. She also admits that she enjoyed being the “queen of foursquare.”
“I was so competitive and it was just overall a really fun grade,” Singh said.
The photo below was taken when junior Leyla Zokhidova first moved to California from Russia at the age of four. Zokhidova remembers modeling and making stylish poses for the camera as she and her mother explored the park next to their new home.
But Zokhidova doesn’t feel as nostalgic as some others like Singh might.
“Whenever I see old photos of myself, I’m like ‘I was such a weird child,’” Zokhidova said.
Zokhidova says that if she could be a certain age again, she would want to be 14 in her freshman year because of the greater amount of freedom compared to her current life as a junior.
When sophomore Sachi Bhatkar was four years old, her mother was a Diwali enthusiast, and so she enjoyed celebrating and sharing the culture of the holiday with her daughter. Bhatkar recalls her mother wanting to keep the memory and taking a photo.
Hanging in her house, the photo reminds Bhatkar of the simplicity of her life then, as well as her innocence.
“I had nothing to worry about,” Bhatkar sa
id. “I was an innocent kid who was […] clueless about the world around her and that [...] affected my personality in a positive way.”
Still, Bhatkar enjoys looking at old photos and noticing how she’s changed. Like Singh, Bhatkar remembers one of the main aspects of her childhood as the games she’d play in school. For her, the environment of elementary school was more enjoyable than her years in middle and high school.
In the archipelago near Stockholm in Sweden, freshman Isak Westelius sailed with his family and family friends when he was five years old.
“It was summer time and we were just kind of sailing around for the fun of it,” Westelius said.
Westelius spent much of his early childhood in Sweden, which he says gives him a deeper feeling of nostalgia when looking at old photos.
He explains how photos like this one taken in his home country remind him of his feelings during these experiences.
“When I see this photo, I think back to the ocean and the sense of adventure that I got from going from island to island,” Westelius said.