Fashion fads, polarized politics and the digital documentation of Generation Z are establishing the social atmosphere of the 2020s. These four University of New Mexico undergraduates spoke about their thoughts on what the commencement of the decade means to them.
Midwest vintage meets oversized streetwear
Inky prescription specs, an oversized navy blue corduroy button-up, beige corduroy straight legged slacks and a pair of canvas Doc Martens enveloped Isabel Figueroa, an art history major.
Figueroa said her personal style is an amalgamation of three distinct muses: her older brother, streetwear and "overpriced vintage clothing" — because of both the sustainability aspect and the recent ascent of thrift-culture.
"(Thrifting) used to be like 'oh, you’re poor,' and now it's 'oh you found that at the thrift, love that for you,'" Figueroa said. "I think the more different you seem to come off in the way you present yourself, like in your clothing, it's like the more cool you are."
As for the trends Figueroa wants to be a relic of the past decade — flare boot cut pants top her list.
"The bottom (of the pants are) dirty, it’s all ripped up. It’s gross, just don’t do that. I also think turtlenecks are too tight," Figueroa said.
Even so, Figureoa spouted a few predictions for the trends that will define the 2020s.
"Maybe overalls and Doc (Martens)," Figueroa said. "I’m really into Midwest, east coast style, and having lived in Chicago, everyone wears overalls and Docs. In Albuquerque right now — I don’t know — I feel like we’re still in 2013 — rocking the Vans and the skinny jeans."
Figueroa also highlighted the cultural schism between millennials and Gen Zers in terms of beauty standards and attire.
"I think (Generation Z) does whatever they want and wears whatever is cool to them or whatever they feel like showing," she said.
Although Figueroa expressed that politics don't dictate her personal wardrobe, fashion is important in how it relates to one’s social belonging.
"(Where) you fit in society, or where you would put yourself in, that's where your style and sense of fashion will come from," Figureoa said.
Emo nostalgia meets internet thrift
Bridey Caramagno, an art studio major, sported an all-thrifted fit with the exception of her platform Doc Martens. Caramagno overlaid a lace and silk top with a black turtleneck underneath, hemmed dark wash jeans, a ring gifted by her boyfriend, circular wooden earrings and a necklace made by her friend Doug Brandt.
Caramagno said she draws style inspiration from online presences.
"I really like this brand I follow on Depop, InternetGirl," Caramagno said. "She’s really taken on the early 2000s trend with gusto, and it works for her."
She added she enjoys the work of designer Helmut Lang and keeps up with fashion forward Instagrammers like @avanope and @totallycooldad. Caramagno said she created an Instagram account when she was 11-years old and expressed mixed feelings looking back.
"I remember I would follow people and be like, 'I want those clothes — I want all that,'" Caramagno said. "I think the ability to look on something just in your hand ... and just have people from all over the world too showing off what they wear has really created a really cool narrative of people being able to find their own."
Despite the creative impact social media had on her aesthetic, Caramagno acknowledged that increased internet accessibility in one's formative years isn’t wholly positive in terms of both fast fashion and technologically-induced anxieties.
"You (have to) keep up with (trends), but it's also like, why do you want to keep up with that? And it’s like, because everyone else is doing it," Caramagno said. "It’s a huge issue with the environment."
As for how our political climate impacts her self-expression, Caramagno spoke on the privileges afforded to her because of her race.
"I am a white woman in the world, so I have the privilege of being able to express myself a little more out there," Caramagno said. "Men in general (aren't) really able to wear what they want in certain parts of the country, which (sucks)."
She said she hopes to see a shift towards ethically sourced clothing and a deviance from the traditional gendered confines.
"I see a lot of people shopping more sustainably lately, which I want to start (as) a new trend for the decade," Caramagno said. "Men wearing skirts and dresses and women wearing really baggy clothes."
Fashionable performance art meets the downfall of authenticity due to mass-production
Chenjera Floyd, a senior in studio arts, wore "the most bland outfit." He had a pair of red Vans, thrifted camo pants, a gray long sleeve shirt, a black hoodie and a burgundy ski mask.
Floyd defined his style as streetwear — however, he said he didn’t follow trends.
Floyd compared a ‘Matrix’ style of fashion to the current fashion world and believes a fashion industry focused on mass-production will turn negative.
"Everyone looks different, but the idea of everyone wearing the same thing feels like a simulation in a sense," Floyd said.
He also said professional dress is monotonous and drabby.
Floyd predicts that 2020 will be defined by a shift from traditional professional wear to a mix of mass-production and streetwear.
Soft grunge meets individual expression
Analisse Mirabal is a freshman in interdisciplinary art. Mirabal throws herself fully into the current trend, which she describes as "soft grunge."
Mirabal wore Doc Martens boots, black jeans and a black turtleneck layered with a graphic tee. She odes to Madonna’s "Desperately Seeking Susan" through her layering of earrings, chain necklaces, rings and bracelets.
"I love the turtleneck trend. If I can wear a turtleneck, I’m gonna wear a turtleneck. Chains, I’m very big with chains," Mirabal said.
Saying goodbye to the 2010s also means saying goodbye to Birkenstocks, in Mirabal’s opinion.
"No one understands how much I hate Birkenstocks," Mirabal said."I think (biker shorts) can look cute, but I see the Kardashians do it so much that it’s like ... sis, c’mon."
Mirabal said the people that surround her have a strong influence on her fashion.
"I love anyone who’s just willing to push the boundaries, because I think a lot of people think fashion has rules, and it doesn’t," Mirabal said.
She believes social media shaped how she dresses. After attending Catholic school, Mirabal felt that she didn’t have a solid identity. When she finally began high school, she said she was able to re-create her identity through fashion.
"I saw this girl wearing a Metallica shirt, her Adidas superstars and like dad jeans, and I was like, that’s kind of cute. And I did that," Mirabal recounted about her first formative fashion experience on Instagram.
Backlash, rebellion and resistance are all words Mirabal used to describe the current fashion trends that have spurred since President Donald Trump took office.
"I think the night when the election happened, I was wearing a pink crop top ‘80s sweater," Mirabal said. "Then shortly thereafter, I was like 'I’m going to start wearing black pants, black Vans, black t-shirts.'"
Looking forward, Mirabal predicts that 2020 will be defined by the transitions between the decades.
"They’re bringing the 2000s back — like baby girl fashion back — and I have a feeling that sets are going to come back," Mirabal said. She also believes that "soft grunge" will be more prominent, especially through brands like Doc Martens.
"Doc Martens — that whole brand blew up with everybody ... and now it’s like, really uncommon that I don’t see someone wearing Doc Martens," Mirabal said.
Alyssa Martinez is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amart4447
Joseph McKee is a graphic designer at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @josephdmckee