Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

“2024 is the new 2014”: Our incessant craving for nostalgia

Claire Smith
Illustration Claire Smith

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice.

Remember when dystopian novels and John Green books dominated Barnes & Noble, or when everyone carried around an EOS lip balm in their purse? Perhaps you recall a time when a friend invited you to get frappuccinos at Starbucks, or what it was like to live in a world where One Direction was still releasing albums. 

These core memories bring a wave of nostalgia for the early to mid-2010s—something this new year has also brought. Young people across various social media platforms have expressed their desire to bring back trends that were popular a decade ago. The 2016 song “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake and Justin Bieber was rediscovered by TikTok, with users such as @arenaixo saying the way the song sounds is “how [they] expect 2024 to feel.”

Electric pop songs, a genre popular in the early to mid-2010s, have garnered a new appreciation. “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX and Major Lazer’s “Light It Up” are once again trending due to their strong associations with that time period. Across the TikTok app, people are posting videos to these songs, lip-synching, dancing, and reliving a decade’s old pop music scene. 

Additionally, Kylie Jenner, who was known for having a unique “King Kylie” style in the mid-2010s, posted a photo on Instagram with her newly dyed pink hair. The photo is reminiscent of her old look, and has contributed to the current 2014 craze. With her caption reading, “hiiiii remember me,” the internet went wild over Jenner calling back on her iconic era with vibrantly dyed hair. 

So, the question here is: why are we feeling nostalgic for an era we have already lived through? 

James Lavner, 1930s fashion historian, theorized that fashion trends from 150 years prior would seep back into the mainstream. As technology and fast fashion became more prominent at the turn of the century, the cycle was shortened to 20 years. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have made the cycle of trend that much swifter, shortening it to just 10 years.   

Elements of 2014 fashion have not only resurfaced, but also been adapted for the new year. The famous Tumblr grunge look—consisting of denim jackets, black tights and band t-shirts—has made a comeback. 

A resurgence of pop culture from a decade ago has made its way back into the public eye. With the release of the Hunger Games prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” people have reread and rewatched the original stories, prompting more reminiscence. Hunger Games actor Josh Hutcherson has been the topic of conversation lately after a fan edit of him by MetroGirlzStation on YouTube was rediscovered. Originally uploaded in October 2014, the Whistle edit  has not only become a meme, but a limelight for 2014 nostalgia. 

The main aspects of the early to mid-2010s we seem to remember are the music, fashion trends, books, and movies. Collectively, we crave the “aesthetic” of 2014. But this poses my next question: do we actually miss this period of time, or are we holding onto a romanticized version of our past? 

A decade ago, I was only nine. I remember being jealous of my sister and her friends in middle school when they went shopping at Victoria’s Secret or when they went to a The 1975 concert. This current wave of nostalgia is an opportunity for people to experience the “aesthetic” our older siblings experienced. 

More so, people who experienced this era as teenagers are also reminiscing. Opinion journalist Isabella Victoriano noted her nostalgia for her high school years when she wore Doc Martens every day and had Marina and The Diamonds on repeat. However, Victoriano also brought up the increase of eating disorders and drug use in the early to mid-2010s, two pressing issues that deeply affected teenagers at that time. 

Tumblr was a place where many young people developed eating disorders and dangerous “dream bodies.” According to Mental Help, 90 percent of diagnosed eating disorders start before the age of 20. A majority of people on Tumblr in the mid-2010s were teenagers, making them easy targets for daily posts that pushed unhealthy and dangerous habits.

Substance use was also turned into an aesthetic on Tumblr. Smoking cigarettes was seen as “cool” on the social media site instead of as a harmful and addictive habit. 

It’s easy to idolize the past if we forget about its problems and only recall the exciting aesthetic. In her article, Victoriano states, “don’t let trends and the idea of a different era trick you into thinking it’s better than the life you are already living.” 

As a society, we collectively feel like we’ve missed out on the last few years due to Covid. Looking at life prior to 2020 brings a sense of comfort or familiarity, as we haven’t been able to truly move away from a pre-Covid world.

But Victoriano is right. While we sit here wishing for 2014, we’re missing out on what might define 2024. We don’t want to end up in 2034 reliving the 2024 aesthetic. 

Appreciate it the first time, before this year becomes nostalgic.  

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