Pop Culture

Urban Outfitters Is Selling an AOL Logo T-Shirt for $45

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(Urban Outfitters)

The 90s are trending hard, especially at Urban Outfitters. And now that includes the most 90s of 90s icons: America Online, because Urban Outfitters is selling a T-shirt with the old AOL logo for $45.

There’s an Urban Outfitters in my town, and whenever I go in lately, I can’t help laughing because it all looks exactly like the best fashion moments of the 90s. There are little velvet dresses, Y-necklaces, and baby Ts everywhere. All they need is a big stack of CK One perfume and the homage will be complete. I shouldn’t laugh, though, because everything I wore in the 90s also came from Urban Outfitters, so it makes sense that now they’re selling all the same stuff again.

I think we’ve hit peak 90s saturation at this point. There’s noplace to go but the 2000s, and anybody who remembers pink trucker caps and velour tracksuits knows we need to avoid the 2000s as much as possible. Can we stage a quick 1930s revival? We’ll all just saturate ourselves in bias cut dresses and cutting remarks. Or maybe we can draw out this 90s thing long enough to see a 2010s revival instead. What else was big in the 90s? Tamagotchi? Power Rangers? The WonderBra? Ska bands playing swing music?

This shirt may have officially taken the 90s trend too far, though. There’s always a line in the sand for fashion trends, and once you cross it, you swing back in the other direction. This one has all the markers of that apex moment: It’s so on-point with the overt nostalgia and corporate opportunism that it seems almost contemptuous. You can just see some wispy-bearded cynic in a converted loft somewhere saying, “I’m just going to sell a bunch of old AOL T-shirts for $45 a pop.”

But even if it wasn’t designed sarcastically, I can’t imagine the kids actually like this. Between the price tag and the overt nostalgia element, this seems more like it was made for those of us who grew up under a giant pile of free AOL install CDs. Do you still have your AIM screen name? I think mine was XxShadowDragonxX.

Teenagers shopping at Urban Outfitters aren’t going to be excited about this because they don’t resonate with the imagery the way we do. The “You’ve got mail” guy is an Uber driver now, which freaks me out in a “the stars are just like us!” sort of way, and also an “the economy is destroyed and we’re never going to be able to retire!” sort of way.

Now a Prodigy shirt … that I would wear.