Come As You Were? Modern Grunge

07 Dec 2011|Cultural Insight Team

It seems that the youth of the mid-90s are experiencing something of a collective reminiscence. But with a very modern twist. Grunge nostalgia is emerging in a variety of ways – the highlights being the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s Nevermind, ‘Everybody Loves Our Town,’ a new book telling the oral history of grunge, and a Corinne Day (grunge’s most celebrated photographer) retrospective at Gimpel Fils gallery.

Nirvana’s Nevermind 20th Anniversary Edition (

But times have changed since teenagers first sported those happy face hoodies. And it shows. The new edition of Nevermind is described as ‘Super Deluxe .’ Which doesn’t exactly sound stripped back and raw. The catwalk has been filled with collections inspired by grunge, but its velvets and furs seem a long way from the unkempt, thrift store style of the 90s. And Urban Outfitters have launched a ‘Cobain Collection,’ which features a pair of £215 boots. It is a strikingly glossy take on a scruffy time gone by.

Have the Cobain disciples simply grown out of their flannel shirts and become iPad-toting hipsters who’ve lost the spirit of Seattle? Or is it impossible to sell the slacker aesthetic to super slick teenagers who’ve been weaned on Jack Wills and Cath Kidston?

We’re interested to see if the true spirit of grunge can ever re-emerge in a world torn between the appeal of lo-fi austerity and protest, and the love of novelty and technology.

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