Retro-Cool: Predictions for in the New Decade

Recycled trends, products or ideas of the past often fuel pop culture of the present. Something old will have a resurgence and become popular again—it’s all very cyclical. So when you look at things that have come back into style or retro-cool, you can start to see a loose pattern of how long it took for that thing to regain popularity.

Many such things seem to go dormant for about 20 years after a peak in popularity. So if you look at the decades things popular in the 1970s became popular again in the 1990s and pop culture from the 1980s resurged in the 2000s. There a probably several reasons for this. Marketers can introduce new generations to old ideas as if they’re brand new–and not spend any money developing them. As younger generations move into their 30s and have more spending power, the things popular in their childhood create a sense of nostalgia, so that generation l buy old products and trends. Obviously, Hollywood will recycle at the drop of a dime, often being so inpatient they won’t wait as long as 20 years.

Here are some examples of recycled trends from the 1980s that we just saw regain popularity in the 2000s.

Television & Film
Kid’s shows that were popular in the 1980s like “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” became blockbuster movies (disappointing ones in my opinion). “Knight Rider” became a show again, “Miami Vice” was made into a movie (just plain bad) and ”A-Team” is set to release this summer.

Skinny jeans have been around for decades but were popular in the 1980s, non-existent in the 1990s and then came back just a few years ago. The Ray-Ban style aviator’s sunglasses that Tom Crusie sported in “Top Gun” made it back.

Music is a little trickier, because some artists and styles never seem to diminish that much. But some 1980s music had a noticeable resurgence in the 2000s. Bands like Modest Mouse and the Killers had a sound that echoed the Talking Heads and early U2. American punk in the 1980s (which itself could be seen as a 20-year return of late 1960s garage bands like The Kinks) featured bands like The Ramones and lent a musical style and look that would be adapted by 2000s bands like The Strokes and The Jets.

As the decade has now turned, this pattern would suggest that retro-cool movements will begin pulling from the 1990s, the decade in which I grew up. I’ve made a few predictions of what we could see in the next 10 years.

Pop Culture Predictions for the 2010s

We already saw new versions of “Melrose Place” and “90210” begin in 2008-2009, so surely Baywatch will follow . It only takes a few bad actors that look good in swimsuits (Megan Fox, please) and a few chimps writing the scripts to get this one back on the airways.

Home Improvement was one of the most popular family shows of the decade, so look for Ashton Kutcher to revise the role of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor with Jason Biggs (“American Pie”) as his his lovable loser sidekick, Al Borland.

What says 1990s better than “Saved by the Bell?” Once the “High School Musical,” Miley Cirus and Jonas Brothers phase dies down, the next wave of teeny bopper heart-throbs will make their mark through the characters of Zack, Slater, Kelly and Jessie.

“Pretty Woman” will be remade for a generation of movie goers that don’t have a clue who Julia Roberts or Richard Gere are. It would present a great comeback role for Lindsey Lohan if she’s not in rehab at the tiime.

With the advances in computer graphics imaging, Hollywood won’t be able to pass on the opportunity to remake 1990s blockbusters “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day” in 3-D. “Showgirls: 3-D” will soon follow.

Also look for 1990s children’s television staples, “The Power Rangers” and “Captain Planet,” to be made into films. Not to be outdone by “Barney vs. Teletubbies.” Think more along the lines of “Monsters vs. Aliens” for this movie and not “Freddy vs. Jason.”

Music & Video Games
N’ Sync and the Backstreet Boys will have reunions, and not necessarily in the recording studio. Don’t be surprised if VH1 casts the Backstreet Boys into some joke of a reality show or starts a new talent show where they serve as judge, jury and executioner.

Miley Cirus, and her “diddy,” Billy Ray, will remake his 1990s country line-dancing anthem, “Achy Breaky Heart.” And I will gag.

The 1980s saw an anti-disco backlash, so my hope is that an anti-auto tune backlash, urged on by Jay-Z in his song “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-tune),” gains momentum. By the middle of the decade, look for pop music to get back to a more organic sound.

It was just announced that a remake of the 1990s classic video game, NBA Jam, is being developed for Wii. And as 3-D technology grows and 3-D televisions become more common it could breathe new life into games like James Bond and Mortal Kombat, and create new generation of college kids that flunk out due to excessive video game play.

Casual wear will once again be dominated by track suits. And for those that don’t want to look that coordinated, Hammer pants will be a great option for lower body comfort. When it’s cold, people will grab their brand new Starter jacket with their favorite team’s logo plastered all over.

Hypercolor gear will make a comeback, and a wide cross-section of folks will again be sporting surf and skate wear from the likes of Stussy, Yaga, Freshjive, Quiksilver, Simple and Billabong. Often a t-shirt from the aforementioned companies will be accompanied by overalls—with one strap undone of course.

Women’s business fashion will be dominated by the over-sized blazers with NFL-sized shoulder pads. Preppy men will build up their business-casual wardrobe with Duck Head clothes in a wide range of colors and styles. Those who aren’t as preppy will incorporate the 1990s grunge fashion into the workplace with jeans, plaid ties and drab colors.

The fade hair cut has already reappeared via some NBA players—look for this to continue. Not far behind will be the post-mullett fad for men, the bowl cut, and women will once again find bangs to be bangin’.

Ah, the 1990s…hopefully we’ve learned from at least some of its mistakes. Please feel free to leave comments and your own predictions below.

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