A confession, I have never been into fashion trends. There was a time in my life that I swore up and down I would become a fashion photographer. But, growing up I wore hand-me-downs from a boy family member. While the rest of the girls in my class wore bell-bottom jeans and cute sundresses I wore baggy jeans that my mom hemmed to almost fit me. The only time I was technically following a trend was by mistake. When I fell into depression in high school I wore the same black sweater with my hood up every day. I was labeled an “emo” kid and fit right in with the “scene” trend in the early 2000s. Regardless of my lack of fashion culture, there are trends I wish would come back in style to stick around forever.
I recently wrote an article on a young girl who is actively doing her part to bring awareness to the world around her. Kumei Norwood wants to push equality out into the world every day with her custom clothing and accessories. The products I love best are the ones sporting the phrase, “social issues are not trends.” Such an important phrase this day in age because social issues are not trends. But then, why does it seem as though they get treated like trends?
Starting with the hippies of the 1960s and their counterculture. Counterculture is going against what is considered normal in society at the time. Their rejection of established institutions, nuclear weapons, political and social orthodoxy. Hippies chose a gentle ideology that favored peace, love, and personal freedom. They rejected the way things were regarding cultural standards especially with woman’s rights and racial segregation. I know a lot of the time people conceive hippies as dirty homeless people who did a ton of drugs and listened to music in the grass. Honestly, hippies were the foundation of a lot of the wonderful things we have today. Things that are considered "normal" now like gay marriage, wholesome food, and being an individual all began with the hippie counterculture movement in the 1960s. Hippies created the first solar panels for powering their stereos while they lived off the grid. Even Steve Jobs was a hippie creating the all-consuming Apple industry. All from challenging the normalcy of every day by becoming their own person with their own thoughts. What a crazy idea that was.
The counterculture movement of the hippies simmered out around 1973. Yes, agendas were more or less accomplished. Leaders and true believers of the movement died. The next generation did not exactly pick up what their parents were laying down for them and life went on. The trend of peace, love, and individuality gave way to the next big thing. Although, they gave us many great musicians and great minds. Society and the movement moved on with life. I wonder what we could have accomplished in the world had we kept their ideologies alive. To “make love, not war” and coming together as a people no matter your race or social status. Had that movement continued trending instead of losing people’s interest as time matured. Not to say the movement did not live on in some ways only that it did not progress as the hippies of the 1960s had hoped it would.
This brings me now to the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement has been considered a modern-day counterculture movement. Although, people would argue, that civil rights movements are widely accepted in society today. I think if they were widely accepted that we would no longer need to move against racial inequality and violence. The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. The movement seemingly hit its climax in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. I say it climaxed because for a good minute Black Lives Matter was all anyone could talk about. It was the only thing on the news and social media. The movement was all-consuming in the lives of the American people. Cities were painting their streets with the words “Black Lives Matter” in bright colors, streets were being renamed, statues were coming down, and real conversations were happening.
In January of this year, 2021, the Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The winner is declared in October. Now, we are nearing the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death and the hype about the movement is simmering. Yet, innocent people of color are still being targeted. Police brutality is still a very real and very tragic thing that is happening. Social media has moved on to the next conversation-the next trend. That’s just it though, as Kumei Norwood states, “social issues are not trends.” This movement is not something we should just move on from like last year’s winter fashion trends. Racial equality, especially, should not be considered counterculture because it should not be against the norm of society. Racial equality should be normal and we should not stop talking about it until it is normal.
Like the hippies of the 1960’s spreading their ideas of individuality and free love. Coming together in peace and harmony to fight against the horrors of war and inequality. Then, the Black Lives Matter movement bringing people together in strengths not seen since the civil rights movement. This should not be allowed to simmer out and die. This should not be just another movement that goes down in history as a milestone. Coming together to fight against racial inequality and racial injustices should become an everyday thing until we do not have to fight anymore.
In conclusion, I do not have a favorite fashion trend that I would like to see come back to “strut its stuff” in the modern day. I would, however, love to see the ways of the counterculture movement of the 1960s to show itself again a full force in the modern-day. Helping to enlighten today’s people of the struggles of racial inequality. I do hope that the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain the momentum it needs. I hope the fires of the movement continue to burn bright until a definite change has overcome society. I hope that people pick their phones back up and start once more showing their support even though the hashtag is not as popular as it was a year ago. This is not a trend. This is an actual issue that is affecting people’s lives every single day. Think about what we could accomplish together.