What is trendy right now?
I write about music from time to time, so I suppose it’s my job to know this. But I don’t know if I can tell you confidently what schools are ascendant. Some artists are popular, of course: Taylor Swift and Beyoncé bestride the Earth. And while Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars sit at number one with the funk equivalent of Coke Zero, are they, like, hip?
Wait, no: D’Angelo is cool, trendy.
As many before me have noted, music is now too splintered to qualify as having any single direction—to talk about in any way outside of intra-musical conversations whirling themselves into ever more thorny complexes. What interests me is that two essays appeared in the last week alone suggesting that this is not only happening in music anymore.
In last week’s T Magazine, pegged to New York Fashion Week, former New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn admitted she didn’t know what was trendy either. Nor, she added, did she think it was possible for a look to “trend” anymore.
“There is no single trend that demands our attention, much less our allegiance, as so many options are available to us at once,” she wrote. She contrasted it with the past:
Of course, throughout the 20th century, the way women dressed was governed by trends—from the hobble skirt of the 1910s, a Paris invention that spread to small cities and was ultimately sold by Sears, to Dior’s radical New Look of 1947, to the ’60s miniskirt. But for lots of reasons, mostly to do with economics and, inevitably, the Internet, the industry has moved away from that model.
The last time Horyn can remember a trend moving from the runway to “mainstream manufacturers” were these green cargo pants, and “that was more than a decade ago.”