The shell toe and the throwback craze

I’m very excited about my new sneakers: old school adidas Superstar basketball shoes, introduced in 1969 as the first basketball shoe with an all-leather upper and rubber shell toe (not to mention the trademark adidas stripes). All Day I Dream About Sindy. Or Sex. Or Shoes, as the case may be.

All this throwback stuff is coming back into fashion and I can’t help resenting the appropriation of my childhood pop culture. I know, I’m starting to sound like a bitter old person who starts every phrase with “back in my day…”, but it’s strange to think how we spent so much time making fun of the 80’s and early 90’s and how embarassed most of us Generation X kids (hey, I still fall into the 1961-1981 bracket) became of cheesy 80’s fashion, music, and culture filled with consumerism and conspicuous consumption. And now, we embrace it in a throwback craze (like in the VH1 show “We Love the 80’s”) and Generation Y is buying old adidas shell-toe shoes and off-the-shoulder Flashdance t-shirts and sweatshirts. And look at celebrities like Will Smith— he owes his celebrity to the cheesy flourescent-colored fashions and pop rap of the Fresh Prince of Belair and now he’s promoting the old Converse basketball shoes in I, Robot.

Of course, when we embraced the old school basketball shoes, we were in a throwback crazy to 60’s style. Every generation steals from the previous one– in my mind, Baby Boomers were the last ones to really come up with something new. Since then, we’ve merely been recycling cultural artifacts and repackaging them for consumption. The commoditization of culture!

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