Two stylists, Amanda Dolan and Meagan Colby, of SPARK PRETTY met while working at Betsy Johnson. They soon became best friends, bonding over their love of all things ’90s. “We had so much in common. I left Betsy Johnson and started selling vintage stuff online, and as I grew, I realized I needed a business partner. Who else but [my] best friend? SPARK PRETTY took off. It happened organically and felt so right,” says Dolan.
So why is the fashion world so enamored with the ’90s? Colby has some ideas. “Trends recycle every 20 years. But also, times are pretty gruesome right now and people are hungry for a simpler time. The ’90s were pre-digital, right? No one had cell phones or social media. Grunge was a thing, which lead to this notion of being yourself, and being real. Today, being real is associated with being fake real,” says Colby touching on the proliferation of fake news, and reality TV presenting a curated version of reality that everyone aspires to, even with the knowledge that what you see isn’t necessarily authentic.
Colby adds that the ’90s were just fun. “Trends popular in the ’90s [include] neon pink, neon green, tie-dye, smiley faces. The decadence of the ’80s went out the window.”
At the SPARK PRETTY pop-up, expect to find a choice selection of ultra-curated ’90s gear. The walls are covered in posters (some from the girls’ actual ’90s bedrooms) with images of Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch bathing suit, the 90210 gang, Justin Timberlake from his N’ Sync days, and the Spice Girls. Says Dolan, “We’re both pop-culture nerds and the ’90s were so saturated with music stores, posters, collectibles. Also, you know, the ’90s were our time.“
Stepping into the pop-up, you feel transported to the ’90s, with racks and racks of vintage t-shirts, lycra club wear, cow print, neon everything, fanny packs, and colorful bikinis. Some items not to miss include a 90201 jacket, clock purses, Budweiser gear, Miami Vice Hawaiian shirts, and the red dress Cassandra (played by Tia Carrere) wore in Wayne’s World.
The girls also adore their collection of Tony Alamo jean jackets, spray-painted with whimsical icons, and bedazzled in true maximalist fashion.
Finally, emerging designer Tom Knight is selling his ’90s inspired designs (that include t-shirts, jackets, and a corset mini-dress) at the pop-up alongside the girls.
When asked on how to incorporate ’90s vintage into your modern wardrobe, Dolan says, “Mix prints and wear lots of color.”
Colby adds, “A good place to start is with a classic vintage t-shirt. Also, just be yourself. Or if you’re really boring, try on someone else.”
’90s Forever – Summer Break Edition
A Pop-Up Shop by SPARK PRETTY
May 4 through May 30 (closed Mondays)
333 East 9th Street New York, NY
(Between 1st & 2nd Ave)
12 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily
SPARK PRETTY launches pop-ups throughout the year in New York, and can be found at the Manhattan Vintage Show.