Tumblr era returns a decade later


Illustration by Faith Okoli.

Let’s go back to a time we all remember; chokers, knee-high socks, thick eyeliner, and some of the best music (aka the Tumblr era). With the 90s and Y2k trends falling as quickly as they rose, some may ask themselves, “Which era is next?”.  

With my (non-professional) trend forecasting experience (and lots of TikTok scrolling), I can confidently say that the iconic Tumblr era is coming back. Our music, clothes, makeup, and social media will rapidly mimic the same trends we saw a few years ago.  

Tiktok is now what Tumblr was to many.  

With the rise of the “Instagram Baddie” in 2016, everyone seemed to be held to a standard of perfection. Since the pandemic started in 2020, Instagram was out and no longer captivated our attention during those long weeks of quarantine. Instead, Tiktok was gaining more and more popularity. 

Just like Tumblr, TikTok became a safe space where everyone could be their authentic selves and discover new things. In the article, “Move over Y2K: Why I celebrate the return of Tumblr, ‘Twee’, and the new era of ‘Indie Sleaze’ dressing” Doris Daga explains how the return of the Tumblr Era is going to become a way for our generation to reminiscent on those good times. Now that we are beginning to move forward from the pandemic, we are seeking things that brought us joy before the world shut down. Hence, the return of the 90s, early 2000s, and now Tumblr. 

Besides the TikTok and Tumblr similarities, we can also see early signs of this Era coming back through celebrities. The Arctic Monkeys and Lana Del Rey were two popular artists during the Tumblr Era, those of which are working on new releases. that, Taylor Swift fans believe that her new album ‘Midnights’ will also be reminiscent of the iconic era; due to the color palette of the album cover and the picture clues being released. 

If you scroll through Instagram, you might also notice that celebrities’ pictures seem more casual. You will notice a slight blur to the picture or a flash that uncovers minor flaws. As time passes, clothes will go from minimalistic nude to dark grungy colors. Makeup will follow this same pattern, going natural on the face but heavy and dark on the eyes and lips. Slowly but surely, the Tumblr trends will make their way back.! 

The Tumblr Era was well known for the great music and sense of style, but it was also awfully known for the toxic body negativity. Some may fear that with all the good things Tumblr came with, so will the bad. The app was known for hating on people who did not have the slim figure everyone wanted at the time. My hope is that we’ve moved forward from that negativity and that, hopefully all the current movements we have seen about body positivity will still apply. 

Although I’m ecstatic about the era coming back, I started going into a spiral about how others might feel. Patty Martinez, a third year student says, “Especially with all the Y2k fashion at the moment. It’s like a blend of the early 2000s and then 2010s. In a sense, it is a culmination of my generation”. She seemed to have a similar opinion as Doris Daga, who was previously mentioned for her Vogue article on the same topic.  

Although it can be a bit scary an old era may bring back some toxic traits, our generation does a great job at preventing most of it from happening. It’s nice to see us bringing back trends that are core memories of somebody else’s life or even ours. 

 *Cue “Do I Wanna Know” by The Arctic Monkeys* 



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