Would You Pay Non-'90s Prices For Very '90s Clothes?

Photo: Courtesy of Zackery Michael/My Theresa.
On Wednesday, Tommy Hilfiger debuted a capsule collection on MyTheresa.com that looks uncannily familiar — and not because it's already been spotted on It Girls like Gigi Hadid and Suki Waterhouse. The new line is simply a reproduction of the Tommy you used to know — the logo-centric sporty gear everyone and their mothers wanted a piece of back then — at prices that aren't as much a throwback. (The re-edition items range from $198 to $654.) If you're a fan of cropped sweaters and football jerseys that will cost you, the line is available now. But if you consider yourself a pretty skilled thrifter, you've probably come across these same pieces before, in which case, like us, you're wondering if the fashion industry isn't just trolling us right now.

The hip-hop community is to thank for making '90s-era Tommy cool beyond its WASPy roots, but the brand's aesthetic has been more difficult to pin down in the decades since. And though there are signature elements that make it stand out among classic Americana — the red and blue, the wide stripes, the buffalo plaid — it's a stretch to say that its non-logo'd pieces are recognizable. This capsule collection, however, revives the streetwear period of the brand that was so influential, it's almost impossible to forget. But, is bringing back a sure-fire win (like, the exact win) the only way for a label that somehow lost its identity to be relevant again?

Remaking and reselling once-popular logo pieces is not a new strategy by any means. Most recently, Calvin Klein's collaboration with Opening Ceremony (and its offshoot with Urban Outfitters) brought back iconic looks from the same decade. The difference? The #MyCalvins line was offered at a fraction of the price of Tommy's redo. This made it easy for younger millennial consumers to buy multiple pieces, giving the brand a new life with a whole generation of buyers who weren't around to enjoy it the first time — a generation whose social-media tendencies meant major exposure for the brand. And the fact that it sold so well means that these collaborations are indeed profitable, so we can expect to keep seeing them crop up.
Photo: Courtesy of Zackery Michael/My Theresa.
"The point of this collaboration is to celebrate the credibility which [Hilfiger] generated in the ‘90s, which continues to resonate today amongst the next generation of Tommy fans," a press release for the collection states. "The flag logo was the starting point, and Aaliyah was the muse in the design process as she was such an iconic figure for the brand." In other words, the company's going all-in on this '90s thing, which begs the same question asked of all these nostalgia-driven business decisions: Is it worth paying inflated prices to make something old new again?

Let's not forget these items have been living on eBay for the past two decades. And if you don't believe us, you can get the originals here, here, and here — all for under $100. When we asked Buffalo Exchange's marketing director about millennial demand in regards to these types of collaborations, reality kicked in: "We’ve had a handful of customers ask specifically for '90s Tommy Hilfiger, '90s Polo and CK1 logo tees, however, the majority of our customers are asking for current pieces that emulate the styles from this era," Stephanie Lew explained.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of Zackery Michael/My Theresa.
The fact that today's younger shoppers prefer modernity to heritage isn't a shocker, per se, but it's a peculiar observation that comes at a time when the numbers prove millennials are not "brand loyal," and are actually shopping less. But in a world where trends come and go at a faster rate than they used to, maybe newness alone is enough to convince young shoppers to forego a month's worth of lunches rather than seeking out the cheaper originals. Time — and the success of this Tommy line — will tell.

More from Trends

Something strange is afoot, literally, across the pond. While New York Fashion Week this season was largely defined by the "see now, buy now" phenomenon, ...
Accessory trends are a changin'. That's the long and short of it. While we've seen a lot of the same pieces trend over the past year (i.e. chokers and mini...
If you've found yourself in a Zara, Topshop, or H&M within the past year, chances are you've seen garments made out of this swishy, lightweight, micro-...
Whether you feel most comfortable as a wallflower or in the middle of a dance circle, chances are you’ve got a celebration coming up that requires you to ...
Runways are oozing with new trends (obviously). But each year, it gets harder and harder to sift through them all. Our favorite fast fashion houses are ...
Fashion has always been a form of escapism, a way to break away from the daily monotony, the sea of khakis and T-shirts, and the sameness that traps those ...
For as long as we can remember, velvet's held strong to its holiday-season connotations. But we've always been firm believers in the luxe texture's ...
(Paid Content) Maybe it's the back-to-school mentality, but there's something about the coming of fall that makes us want to hit "refresh" on multiple ...
If you're obsessed with off-the-shoulder everything, but can't imagine wearing the trend post-summer, we've got some good news: On Saturday, It label Self-...
Finding an excellent pair of boots can be a trip. Since we can't possibly have them all (though, we'll keep dreaming we can), most of us try to find one or...
Sometimes, Fashion Month can feel as much (if not more) about the crazy, over-the-top outfits showgoers wear as, well, the shows themselves. There's ...
There is a thing happening right now with fashion that's exposing a wide divide between What Was Cool and What Is Now Cool. It's informed by the fact that ...
The last time you saw a group of models coming together for a common cause was probably for a selfie or to maybe board a yacht — which is all fancy and fun...
When my parents became aware of my burgeoning love of fashion, they did what they did anytime they thought I was starting to get into something; they ...