A rekindled love for the 90’s
Fashion regenerates itself. Just as trends within fashion are influenced from areas outside of it, they can just as easily be influenced from within too. Think of it as ‘retrospective regeneration’: the idea of looking within oneself to find an area to take forward and modernise.
London 2016. If you’ve been about, you’ll know that one of the biggest influence’s in streetwear culture this year has been Grime. Grime has found its way into the sound systems, wardrobes and vocabulary of the youth on a city-wide scale; I’d even go as far to say the influence has reached an international level, with collaborations between artists such as Skepta and A$AP Mob bringing the scene to the forefront.
But grime isn’t a new thing. It’s been around since as early as 2001, with the likes of Jammer, Wiley and Kano being some of the people responsible for the birth of the genre. Grime’s unlikely collision with the fashion world is surprising, as it’s something that, some would argue, is very anti-establishment in its origins. There’s no denying that the culture of Grime has been ‘consumed’ by a demographic made up of, quite frankly, people ‘not about that life’. Nowadays it seems that every kid has a pair of TNs or 95s; every kid has a nike tracksuit; every kid is banging Skepta and Stormzy at a house party. But that’s what happens in streetwear, and fashion as a whole. It picks a niche, and goes with it. Such is life.
Brands like Supreme and Palace (sigh) have also played a part in the regeneration game. Palace’s recent collaboration with Adidas paid homage to a 90s squash tracksuit, and had previously paid homage to 90s style cycling kits too. Supreme have frequently been attacked for ‘taking influence’ from brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, especially the 90s era. It goes without saying that Supreme and Palace aren’t solely responsible for the increase of interest in early 2000s and late 90s culture; Wavey Garms have also been huge advocates of importing the culture into modern day streetwear. Whether it be through the selective display of clothing available to buy in-store, or the curated audience on their Facebook page, they’ve played a huge role within London to bring back that culture.
But this surge in interest in the culture isn’t specific to London, or even the United Kingdom. In our time over in Berlin we’ve seen similar scenes, just with different brands and colder weather. Paul’s Boutique is probably one of the most reputable second hand stores in Europe; there’s no surprise to see it has found itself in the middle of Berlin’s rekindled love for 90s culture. I’m sure in some way, shape or form, Berghain has also played a pivotal role in bringing the culture back. Maybe it’s through the way the majority of the people that get into the place supposedly dress. Maybe it’s the 90s techno pumped from Friday night to Monday morning. Maybe it’s the long leather Matrix coats. I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it has had an influence on a more subtle level.
So with what seems, at least in Berlin, a love for the 90s culture, it made sense for German sneaker store Overkill to collaborate with Danish footwear brand, Hummel, to recreate some 90s nostalgia. Marc, one of the owners of Overkill, designed the shoe with his fascination of 90s runners at the forefront of his mind. The silhouette is a remastered 1990 Hummel trainer, with alterations made to fabrics, colours and small details.
In contrast to my local scene in London, from the mass of bodies queuing outside the store to the footwear on their feet, the want and love for retro runners in Berlin is very much alive and well. So it was no surprise to see that well over 100 people queued for the shoes on a cold autumnal eve outside the store… and it was no surprise to see the shoe sell out before it had a chance to be distributed to other retailers. Overkill had decided against wider distribution of the shoe to be able to give back to the community. That’s rare nowadays, as most people seem to want to just make as much money with little regard for the community.
Once everybody had bought their kicks, the guys at Overkill hosted the whole community at Fau Bar just down the road. They had curated an event with free drinks, pink balloons and fancy dress. It was a recipe for good vibes. They’d posted up some of the images taken for the promotion of the shoe around the venue too, which was actually done real. Even the colour of the lights, confetti, balloons and stickers were all made to match the shoes. It was a real give-back to the community, with no hidden agenda. People had bought their shoes already, and didn’t need to attend. But that’s the difference – they wanted to.
Something that amazed me was the fact that so many people were wearing the trainers at the event. They had been to the store, copped, put the shoes on immediately and went straight to the party. The people pictured aren’t just staff. They’re real people, with a real love for the culture. It was incredible to witness. The communal vibes out here are insane and I have to thank Overkill for allowing us to be a part of them. Everyone shows so much love for both the culture and each other, it’s hard not to think about planning your next trip to Berlin.
Words by Tayler Prince-Fraser
Edited by Daniel Hawksworth