With the release of K-Swiss’s new Clueless collection, it’s no longer possible to deny our cultural obsession with 90s nostalgia.
K-Swiss Shoes have released a line of sneakers based on the fashions of classic 1995 teen movie Clueless. And if you don’t know by now that the 90s are back in a big way, this should certainly make it clear to you.
Cultural nostalgia cycles go in waves, and typically operate on a 20 year timespan. In the 70s, cultural nostalgia was all about the 50s. In the 80s, the focus was the 60s. In the 90s, it was the 70s. And then the cultural nostalgia wheel landed on the 80s, and seemed to get stuck there. We were obsessed with the 80s in the years after 9/11, when five out of seven dance nights per week at the long-departed Richmond club Mars Bar were 80s-themed. And we were still obsessed with the 80s when Stranger Things premiered on Netflix two years ago.
But now the wheel seems finally to be turning again. Maybe it’s the coming of age of Generation Z, or the fact that a great deal of Millennials have children of their own these days, but one thing’s for sure: 90s nostalgia is the new hip thing. Look at the MCU’s Captain Marvel, from earlier this year — everyone flipped over the 90s period-piece details contained within the film. Last month, Igloo Coolers got some traction in the world of retro car nerds with their limited “90s retro editions” featuring an obviously dated pastel color palette.
And now, K-Swiss has launched a sneaker line based on the style sported by Clueless’s teenage protagonist, Cher Horowitz. The two available designs both feature the pattern from that distinctive yellow plaid skirt suit Alicia Silverstone wore in one of her most memorable scenes in the film. One shoe is a more subdued white, with the plaid design only on the heel and tongue, while the other is plaid all over, complete with offsetting stripes.
Of course, all of this is based on an extremely idealized version of 90s teen culture. After all, Cher’s yellow plaid skirt suit was designed especially for the film by Jean Paul Gaultier, a French designer whose clothes weren’t exactly within the typical 1995 teen’s school-shopping budget. But then, it seems that 90s nostalgia is currently most appealing to people who were quite young in that actual decade — people who first saw Clueless on a Blockbuster videotape rented by someone’s mom for a middle school sleepover. As she was in 1995, Cher Horowitz is more aspirational than relatable.
Still, these shoes do have a certain panache. That said, Alicia Silverstone herself — who grew up to be an animal-rights activist — responded to the announcement on Twitter with a sincere wish that the shoes were cruelty-free, i.e. free of leather.
So in 2019, Cher Horowitz can’t get down with dead meat on her feet. But if you have no such objections to the materials with which your shoes are made, you might want to check out K-Swiss’s Clueless collection. While they last, a pair will set you back a cool $80.
Even in 2019, I gotta tell you, that feels a little too rich for my blood.
Photos via KSwiss.com