Elements of culture today from Instagram filters to expressions like YOLO (sadly or not so sadly) won’t last forever. They’re major trends at the moment, but they’ll soon be gone and we’ll laugh on these cultural touchpoints as people tend to do every decade. Our YAB member Emily Smucker discusses what her generation currently values, yet explains why these items are fleeting fads. So long zombies and skinny jeans…we’ll miss you in 20 years!
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That’s So 2012: 10 Trends Of Today That Will Be Mocked In 20 Years
Every era has its defining aspects — things that we look back on with a mixture of laughter and nostalgia, thinking, “How could people have ever thought that was cool?” Some of these trends we confine permanently to the trash bin, while others we secretly like and resurrect for a “retro” look. Still, the trends define the era.
What trends of today are going to define this era in 20 years? To find the answer, I started scrutinizing the world around me, talking to my friends, and doing research online. It was hard. I didn’t want to admit that some of the things that seem so great will eventually be, well, so 2012. In the end, however, I came up with the following list:
Take a good look at a pair of Toms. Yes, the guy who invented them is a marketing genius. Yes, by buying a pair you can give a pair of shoes to a child in Africa. But honestly, the shoes are oddly-shaped canvas. How long do you think it will be before people realize that they can buy shoes for African children without subjecting themselves to strange-looking footwear?
2. Skinny Jeans
Just like circle skirts defined the 50’s and bell bottoms defined the 70’s, skinny jeans are going to define the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. Unflattering as they may be, the simple truth is that everybody wears them.
3. The Overuse of the Scarf
Scarves have been used as fashion accessories for decades, but recently people have begun to go overboard, wearing big scarves, extra big scarves, layered scarves, and scarves in the summer. The big scarf and skinny jeans combo is the look of today, and while it seems low-key, certainly not earth-shattering, you won’t be able to wear it in 20 years without looking “so 2012.”
4. Wall Words
Can you walk into a house these days without seeing a random word somewhere demanding that you “believe,” “love,” or “live?” If it isn’t a big wall sticker, it’s a wooden cutout sitting on a shelf.
5. DIY Projects
I am afraid that someday these Pinterest-inspired coffee-filter wreaths, paper balls, and twine-adorned everything will be dusty and droopy and viewed similarly to the way we now view those old yarn Kleenex-box covers. That is to say, just because you can make something yourself doesn’t mean you should.
6. Chalkboard Paint
Sure, it’s cool to be able to write on the walls, the furniture, and the coffee mugs. But I guarantee you that in 20 years, you will walk into a house and, seeing the scribbled-on black wall, think, “This house hasn’t been re-done since 2012.”
It’s hard to predict what websites will go out of style and which ones will stay in — so much of it depends on how well they adapt to the times. Then again, there’s Instagram. You take pictures, you make them look vintage, and you share them. There’s nothing to adapt and grow. In a few years at most, something new and cool will come along, and Instagram accounts will be left dormant.
Pinterest has a little more hope than Instagram, but I still don’t think it will last. The idea was clever and fit a niche, but the site itself is disorganized. It wouldn’t take much for a new site with a similar idea to come along and steal poor Pinterest’s thunder. People will speak of the old Pinterest days the same way we now talk about Myspace.
Zombies have had their moments in the past, and will no doubt have their moments in the future, but 2012 is the peak of zombie-mania. Literature, movies, and people in general are into paranormal creatures and apocalyptic tales. Zombies fit into both these obsessions. Only in 2012 will we get to watch our fellow students do perfectly serious research papers on how to survive the zombie apocalypse.
10. Random Rappers in the Middle of Pop Songs
Even Rebecca Black jumped on this bandwagon. Honestly, I don’t get it, and I don’t think people in 2032 will either.
That is my list. No doubt you love some of the trends listed, while others you are already laughing at. Whether you love them or hate them, I predict that these ten items will end up being iconic of this era.
Emily is happiest when she is drinking tea and reading a book in a sunny room. She is 22 years old and currently a sophomore in college. Majoring in communications and minoring in elementary education, Emily spends her spare time doing theater, blogging, and designing clothing. Her first book, titled “Emily,” was published in 2009, and she hopes to publish more books in the future. If you would like to read Emily’s blog you can find it at www.emilysmucker.com.