Fast Company

Beavis And Butt-Head And The Cranberries Want To Cash In On Your '90s Nostalgia

What a decade the 1990s was: The U.S. climbed from recession to budget surplus, unemployment was low, and there were music videos on TV. Our economy may be stuck in the '80s, but the pop culture of the '90s is back--and folks are cashing in.

1 What's back?

The Cranberries
Roses, the band's first album in more than a decade, drops on February 14.

Beavis and Butt-Head
New episodes featuring America's favorite delinquents started airing on MTV in October.

Plaid Flannel
The grunge staple recently appeared on the runways of Isabel Marant and J.Crew.

Nickelodeon classics
Childhood favorites Kenan & Kel, Doug, and All That have happily returned to TV via TeenNick.

Billy Crystal
The man who ruled the Oscars stage in the '90s will host the Academy Awards for the ninth time on February 26.

2 Why?

Nostalgia runs on a 20-year cycle, says Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past: "The people who lived it are now at the age where they want to relive it." And the angst-ridden music of the early '90s speaks well to unemployed millennials. "It was a time when people felt disaffected, underemployed. The generation coming up now is in the same boat. They can't relate to Britney Spears," says Jeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World.

3 How to capitalize

Bring back the look
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, founders of the cool-kid clothing haven Opening Ceremony, have perfected the art of reviving the '90s. They've collaborated with brands from their youth (Pendleton, Keds, NaNa shoes) and look to the mall for inspiration. "As uncool as it may sound, the mall had values," says Leon, who got his career start at Gap. "Every brand had an identity that was very personal."

Fuse the past and the present
Native Union's of-the-moment Pop Phone is inspired by moments past. Its bright neon handset--complete with a coiled cord--plugs into modern mobile devices and has attracted a cult following that relishes the phone's landline aesthetic. "People are nostalgic for a time when cell phones weren't yet a primary communication source," says John Brunner, managing director.

Recapture the attitude
The CW's 90210 brings the locale--and fashion--of Beverly Hills, 90210 into the 2010s. "The velvets, prints, and menswear are quintessential '90s staples," says executive producer Patti Carr. Fashion aside, the show--currently in its fourth season--has found its own Luke Perry-free identity. Says executive producer Lara Olsen: "We may be in the same zip code, but our drama is all new."

Photos: bobbekian (Crystal), waynewilkinson (Plaid), xurble (Nickelodeon)

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • César Serrazes

    ABOUT PRESS AND OTHER THINGS.

    What a shame just put The Cranberries and notice as alert: they want your cash. It´s not journalism, it´s pure opinion. Because to construct a fact, Rachel must to consider: if a band wants my cash, they will release old albums, cd´s collection, remix of their oldies. It´s the easy way. To compose, record and promote an album seems much more as a real work - and it spends money.So, let´s talk about Pearl Jam, the adorable band of all generations. I really lost the number of official re-editions of their albums, and official books, and official colletctions. That´s what we, journalists, can call "I want your money because you love me". And I love Pearl Jam, it´s just an example.
    So, Cranberries wants my cash. And I´ll give it, for sure.