5 Brands We Love Channeling 90’s Style Nostalgia This Season

by Amanda Winnie Kabuiku

As we explore the way that designers have adapted to a masked world, many trends have resurfaced highlighting the nostalgia of socialization. It is no surprise that 90’s Style saturated with a culture of it-girl fashion has returned to the center of trend reporting this season. Designer Spotlight Contributor, Amanda Kabuiku brings you a round-up of our favorite brands right now, reminiscing on the cool girl aesthetics. 


Brands Serving 90’s Style Nostalgia

The reality of this era is that we are hidden behind our face-masks. There is this avowed desire to be seen, coupled with an urge to socialize. Every stroll to the supermarket and the ‘simple’ tasks of everyday life have become a time to reform our formerly conditional closets. Traditional wear and attire for a designated occasions is out the window. Many young designers, who look at the world’s state have understood this and take advantage of this season to offer striking, festive collections.

Minimalist, abundantly floral, colorful, or masculine meets feminine plays on silhouettes are some of the many trends attributed to the 1990s. The current fashion is steeped in this carefree wind because of the pandemic. Designers in turn show off a post-war approach and a surge of 90’s style influence. Whether is be little details, or a bold, head to toe look,  boredom is forbidden onlooking this inspiration. Fashion eagerly awaits dumping our ‘stay-at-home’ wardrobe for a closet that shows up no matter what the world’s walk. Allow us to introduce you to a festive, sexy, and expressive shortlist of designers…


Here are 5 of our favorite brands going against the grain of the moment:

1. House of Jewell

Emerging Brooklyn-based artist and designer Paula Jewell recently launched her zero-waste luxury label, House of Jewell, with a debut couture collection: Deadly and Divine, presented at an exclusive socially distanced presentation at The Brooklyn Aquarium. The SS21 collection of House of Jewell is characterized by splashes of color, sexy cuts, and a return to yesteryear’s changing rooms. The Brooklyn-based sustainable brand combines the practice of upcycling with vibrance. It is no secret that House of Jewell follows suit in a community of designers pursuing a no-waste era in the fashion industry. The brand takes a step towards the purposeful missions of tomorrow without sacrificing style. Alongside the collection, House of Jewell is also introducing a Sustainability Pledge to consumers to disrupt greenwashing that has taken hold of the sustainable design sect.


House of Jewell SS21 Collection Outtakes


2. Rowen Rose

After a quick stint with Alessandra Rich, the French designer, Emma Rowen Rose launched Rowen Rose in July 2018. Emma Rowen Rose’s pieces are both retro and very modern. Handmade in Milan, the Spring ’20 collection is influenced by the 1967 film Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. “There has always been a universal fascination for Paris and New York, and their women. They have always been coveted, often compared. Their duality as well as their individuality inspired many individuals, many arts and many works.

The graphic artist Vahram Muratyan in Paris vs New York, both a funny and extremely wise art work, analyzed with finesse and humor their differences by using their similarities, which represents an interesting point of view:

“Aren’t they really quite the same? In a complex yet simplified way Versus FW21 explores clichés and uses them, contradicts them and proves them wrong, or right?” says Rose. 

With its elegant references to Karl Lagerfeld’s beginnings at Chanel, its dramatic details assumed, and its androgynous volumes oversized, its cloakroom borrows from a theatrical aesthetic. Rowen Rose’s pieces seem straight out of Clueless, the film drawing a cult following in the 90’s. It is, of course, luxurious, glamorous, and festive. The pieces give the feeling of not going unnoticed in the supermarket’s aisles, a desirable effect and the only catwalk we are allowed to go, for the moment.



Rowen Rose FW21 Collection Outtakes


3. Marge Sherwood

An outfit is never complete without a bag. The Korean brand Marge Sherwood appeals to our memories and our longing for nostalgia in form but also in story-telling. Created by Sungeun Um and Soonyoung Kim, the duo designers named the brand after the heroine of the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The brand draws inspiration from several fashion eras. Some bags were inspired by the 90’s style, especially Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Moss. The designers are in love with minimalistic and classic styles, simplicity with an accent. Like Proust’s madeleine, these bags are the sweet fragrance of the best of the 90’s minimalism. The sophisticated leather handbags are carried by Celine Dion, Caroline Vreeland, Rocky Barnes, Anouk Yve, Alexis Foreman, Alyssa Coscarelli, Taylor LaShae, Estée Lalonde, Vivid Wu, and many other influencers. Um and Kim certainly know their classics.

Marge Sherwood SS21 Collection Outtakes



4. Molly Goddard 

London-born Molly Goddard – winner of the 2018 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund – launched her namesake label in 2014. Since the creation of her eponymous brand, she knows how to erase boredom. The designer fled the broader industry impulse to seek inspiration from muted quarantine surroundings. On the contrary, she accentuated our need to put on tulle and bright colors. It inspires an even deeper desire to sport show stopping style outdoors. 

“When we first came out of lockdown and decided to do a show, I wanted to do something pared back. I started designing a collection full of neutral colors. When slowly returning to the studio, after months of working as a team over zoom, I realized how dark and depressing the last few months had been. Eventually, more and more color crept into the collection. Neon pink tulle, green and black checkerboard, orange floral with black and yellow polka dots, bright blue vinyl bags…” explains Goddard.

By packing on the tulle, the designer makes a pretty clear statement: “We only live once.”

The collection displays a romantic, rock aesthetic that could be worn by a modern version of Gwen Stefani no doubt.

Molly Goddard SS21 Collection Outtakes

5. Gozel Green 

Ultimately, the pandemic has been a period of introspection for the fashion industry, and everywhere, especially in Africa, questions arose. How do we apprehend it? How do we imagine the fashion of tomorrow? The Nigerian duo Gozel Green has, in turn, broken through with their SS21 Collection “SportLight”. Their compatriot and successful writer Chimamanda Adichie-Ngozi regularly wears their pieces.

“Gozel Green’s latest collection is a symphony and an expression of how generations can infuse essential elements of our style into one. In addition to this fusion, you will find an exciting balance between cuts, dimensions, and the use of colors and intrinsic perspectives from the eyes of the creative designers. It is a perfect harmony of structured balance and its positive effects on the wellness of the soul, body, and spirit,” describe Sylvia Enekwe-Ojei and Olivia Enekwe-Okoji, the twin sisters behind the label.

Since 2012, they use bold pops of color and radical silhouettes to create looks that embody contemporary Africa. Their most recent collection is a nod to the sporty looks as seen in the R’n’B/Hip Hop videos of MTV, where jersey dressing was a hot commodity. Gozel Green claims a minimalistic and playful allure inviting themselves into the 90’s Style competition with class. 

Gozel Green SS21 Collection Outtakes


Thank you for keeping up with this round up, Pretty Birds! You can follow each of these brands via their linked websites or social media platforms.

(All images courtesy of the brands themselves)


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