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What’s in a fad?

Shruti Hassan's take on fads during her childhood...

fashion and trends Updated: Aug 23, 2010 01:04 IST
Shruti Haasan

Today, I’m paying homage to some of the fads gone by, some that I miss in this very vague way, and some that are Satan’s creation for sure. As a child, it started with Barbies, a fad I have never understood. When I was a kid in the late 80s, Barbie’s clothing and
accessories were becoming huge, and by huge, I mean affecting the financial situation of parents everywhere.

It was an innocent time when the Swat Cats were like coolest thing ever, as was Johnny Quest (and our mothers and grandmothers still loved Bold and the Beautiful and Santa Barbara), but suddenly, things took a turn for the worse when we had these horrendous things called "friendship bands"! Horrendous, because it became a social menace. Your social standing is school was judged on the basis of the number of bands on your hand. Parents had to face the visual evidence of this peer pressure - a kid like me refused to remove them! I wore them till they were like dregs of a friendship long gone on my arms, like a warrior with shards of what was once clothing.ShrutiHassan

Finally, parents and teachers collectively decided to ban these wretched friendship bands once and for all. Then came the slam books, with the favourite actor, favourite colour and the one question that destroyed innocent eighth grade dynamics forever - “your latest crush”. My dad thought having a crush was some kind of fresh fruit drink, and then he cringed and asked, “Is it some kind of fighting style that you kids engage in?” But once he found out what a “crush” really was, he realised all of a sudden that he had daughters.

Then prevailed the dark chat culture. You would have all your school friends on the list. The very same people you met every day would have something new to chat about. I now realise that this is a fad that never changed. A lot of people still seem nicer online.
Then came the fashion fads that everyone (and by that, I mean all the girls in 7th grade) had to own a T-shirt, and it wasn’t just any T-shirt. It had to have those mega sleeves. Then came the cargo pants (I had the coolest pair with 11 pockets). I also remember when people would treat those white-striped track pants like they were regular pants and wear them to parties. Then came Harry Potter, and I say that in a fashion context because many kids, who didn’t even read a sign on a wall, would carry it around like the coolest accessory.

Then came the guy every girl had a crush on. Some of theme, of course, survived - they continued to grow and become really good actors (like Leonardo DiCaprio). Now back to the real world, we haven’t lost our craving for the “next big thing”, “the new it girl” or the “fashion must-haves”. I guess it goes with our short attention spans and our twisted greed for something new and shiny. Through all these fads, there will be that one thing that stands the test of time - one thing you could spend your whole life looking for. It could be work, love, friendship... I hope you find that “it” thing that gets your mojo going.

Read more Shruti Hassan columns