Fashion and Culture: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I’ve been thinking on Kurt Andersen’s Vanity Fair article “You Say You Want a Devolution? From Fashion to Housewares, Are We in a Decades-Long Design Rut?” for a few days now, and the ideas in it linger:

Since 1992, as the technological miracles and wonders have propagated and the political economy has transformed, the world has become radically and profoundly new. (And then there’s the miraculous drop in violent crime in the United States, by half.) Here is what’s odd: during these same 20 years, the appearance of the world (computers, TVs, telephones, and music players aside) has changed hardly at all, less than it did during any 20-year period for at least a century. The past is a foreign country, but the recent past–the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s–looks almost identical to the present.

Additionally, this cartoon from XKCD on traditional Christmas music is along the same lines–we’ve been playing the same stuff for decades.

And Dan Kois’ New York Times essay “Eating Your Cultural Vegetables” on art that’s good but boring makes sense in this conversation too.

I don’t have any conclusions, but these continue to lurk and make me think.

Comments are closed.