WHETHER you lived in the 1980s or not, no one can refute that the 80s were one of the most iconic and memorable decades of the modern era. Characterized by goofy fashion trends and where geeks and rock stars reigned, like almost every decade, romanticizing of the 80s has come at last. Right on time, roughly 20 years after the decade ended, the 1980s are staging their comeback in modern culture.
What ways can we see the comeback of the 80s? And why is there a new generation obsessed with this seemingly offbeat era? In 2016, we see the 80s craze coming back in movies, fashion, as well as music.
The 80s were an era where musicians who did their own thing thrived. Odd people who sounded “bangin’” were top hits. The 80s were a time in history where culture seemingly spread its metaphorical wings and did its own thing—and many millennials are drawn to this aspect of the 80s. The way in which new bands create similar music to that which was created in the 80s is through the use of the most iconic instrument of the era: the synth. Artists combined synthesizers, guitars and funky beats for an interesting form of music that is immediately iconic. Artists today aren’t copying the style exactly, but rather combining it with modern synths and guitar riffs to create a hybrid, 80s/millennial sound. A great artist example of this is:
This English, pop 80s band has a huge following from both teenage girls as well as people inclined to this 80s style sound. In an interview with Some Kind of Awesome, Matt Healy, the lead singer, talks about his early influences:
Interviewer: So with your [Healey’s] Dad being so into music, what influences do you have from him and as a band as a whole?
Healy: Well, I think one of the main reasons our band is so groove orientated is because our influences are from R and B and Soul. My Mum was big into Motown like Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Kim Weston and stuff like that while my Dad was massively into the Stones, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, so that all played a part.
R and B, born in the 80s, as well as the aforementioned bands that Healy’s parents introduced him to are all (for the most part) from the 80s era. This leads into one of the theories as to why they 80s are having such a revival today:
The people now creating films, fashion, music, and art, grew up with parents who lived through the 80s and raised their children on music or children’s films from the era. They could be old enough to have actually grown up in the mid to late 80s. Thus, roughly 20 years later there is a natural progression of 80s influence into their own work in 2000-2016.
Then the children, once they reach adulthood, create music and art based on these influences—this leads to a revival of the era, as a generation revels in their romanticized childhood. This certainly seems to be the case with Matt Healey.
Other “80s style” artists include, Tame Impala, Børns, The Wombats, and The Bleachers to name a few.
Although fashion trends and their origins are virtually impossible to track, it is relatively easy to track “retro” trends. A retro trend Is basically a trend that was once popular, lost popularity, and is now coming back into popularity. Few decades have more iconic clothing styles than the 1980s with its bright colors, puffy vests and strange sports headbands. A lot of what drove 80s trends was the advent of “spandex” and the movement of fashion (similar to today) of making clothing both very comfortable and very stylish.
This idea of “comfort style” can most be seen through the advent of leggings. With its intense popularity today, modern culture has forgotten that leggings are not a creation of the 2000s but rather the 1980s. While today’s spandex is a whole lot less colorful, the concept still remains. Fueled by the revolutionary 70s, the 80s lit the flame (or some might say re-lit) the fashion trend of comfort and style as seen through the advent and re-adoption of leggings and spandex.
Other examples of fashion trends that are coming back from the 80s are women’s “crop” tops, animal print (whether real or fake), as well as the color scheme and simplicity seen in shoes brands such as Nike and New Balance.
Today we live in a culture that loves re-making things, and presenting them to the world in a new, fresh way.
This culture trend is commonly referred to as “remix cultue”. Remix culture—which can be seen in new movie remakes such as the Star Wars Saga revamp, or in music and fashion as aforementioned– really caught hold in the 2000s.
While some “culture” experts think that remix culture is on the way out, others believe it never came at all, arguing that people have been re-using and reinventing old ideas since the beginning of time.
In regards to movies, this idea of remix culture is seen in movie “remixes,” the full recreation of some movies, as well as the continuation and extension of past movie saga’s. Star Wars presents a perfect example of this idea of remix culture—an 80’s grand slam, the first movie knocked viewers out of the park.
The original Star Wars saga lasted until the early 2000s, and now in 2016 we see a continuation of this saga with the releasing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the upcoming release of Star Wars: Rogue One in December.
Other examples include the Star Trek series revamp, and new Beetlejuice and Gremlin films set to release this year. But besides just trying to re-create old movies, recently many filmmakers have been adding 80s film and plot styles into modern movies. A good example of this is
The Netflix original TV-show, Stranger Things. A “blow-up” TV series, after airing its first few episodes, the name Stranger Things began flying around popular trends all over the internet.
People loved the childish, nostalgic 80s style of this “extraterrestrial” series. The key idea to remember is that Stranger Things is not an anomaly, but rather the 80s styles that it uses are popping up in thousands of films, both short and long, and TV shows all over the world.
Humanity remembers the best of eras, as the past is always romanticized and idealized by future generations.
The 80s were a golden decade, based on how it is remembered through movies and films that were produced. People— especially millennials— are attracted to clothing styles, ideas, and characters that defy society and do their own thing.
What better era is this seen than in the recalcitrant and fresh 1980s?
People in the 80’s were (or at least in hindsight) all about popular people with quirky, very individualistic personalities. This idea of individualism can also be see in the exotic clothing choices and the neon colors and frills that accompanied them. Whether true or not, the 80s are perceived by the millennials as a time in history where the individual was glorified for being themselves.
This idea is very popular today as seen in the mass popularity of gay marriage, racial rights, and upraising of “societal underdogs.”
There’s no denying that the 1980’s were and offbeat decade. But in 2016, offbeat is cool.