Retro Renaissance

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Text by Anya Lassila and Michaela Seah, photos by Anya Lassila

Palo Alto High School sophomores, Anya Lassila and Michaela Seah, set out to dig deeper into the fashion culture and its representation among their peers. With a longer article to be published in Paly’s arts and photo magazine, [proof], take a sneak peak at a collection of photos and quotes to get an insight of how earlier decades of dress and style have influenced the current generation. Why these trends are resurfacing as a retro renaissance is a difficult question, but well, that’s grunge culture baby.

Isabel Armstrong

“I really enjoy vintage movies […] from the ‘40s to the ‘60s, but I also take [inspiration] from modern adaptations. [There are] a lot of interesting social media influencers and fashion writers, like Leandra Medine. She has a blog [about] saying f**k you to society’s expectations of fashion and dress how you want. That’s where I get a lot of my inspiration: interesting articles by women who are trying and exploring new styles and ideas in fashion.” -Isabel Armstrong

“I think I try to stand out. I’m pretty honest about that. I like the attention of wearing a blazer with literal shoulder pads in it or wearing yellow pants. I like that attention and so I try to express myself through not being mainstream.”

Robert Vetter

“I think my fashion more reflects what I’m drawn to and what I like instead of a deeper source of my identity. It mostly reflects a lot of what I like to immerse myself in.” -Robert Vetter

“Tons of ‘90s fashion trends have come back – it’s the fashion cycle. Like the ‘70s were inspired by the ‘30s or ‘40s and the ‘80s were inspired by the ‘50s and ‘60s. It’s kind of all collapsing on itself and everything is coming back.”

Eve DeMarzo

“A lot [of] ’80s fashion is centered around the feeling of androgyny. Women were wearing shoulder pads, men were wearing tight pants and makeup, and I feel like that really helps me as a queer individual – I am able to express myself in this androgynous way [while] still being extremely feminine at times. I’m not pinned down by the fact that I’m gay. It helps me express myself in a colorful, cool way, and people still see it as fashionable and awesome. It makes me feel really good when people compliment me on my outfits because that’s an expression of me.” Eve DeMarzo

“Standing out is definitely important to me. I think expressing myself through bright and bold fashion makes me feel empowered because when people look at you and they [think] ‘wow she’s dressed crazy, but it’s awesome,’ it makes you feel powerful and it cool in a way a lot of other things can’t.”

Olivia Wolfe

“If you’re gay, you’re forced to reexamine your place in society. You have to take a step outside yourself in a way that straight people don’t have to go through. Feeling ostracized from society causes a lot of gay people to go to less mainstream stuff. You’re forced to look outside yourself and it ends with a lot of people taking a step away from the mainstream.” -Olivia Wolfe

“I don’t really think about other people that much when I wear my clothes. I just want to look put together and nice.”