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Top 10 Things Making A Comeback In 2020

by Matt Garrow
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Trends are like the seasons. They come, and they go. Sometimes, trends become stronger than ever. Other times, we move to the next one quickly. Many things from the 20th century became obsolete as we moved into the digital era, when being equipped with a mobile phone gives you access to so much.

However, many seemingly old-fashioned things are making a big comeback in 2020 for some interesting reasons.

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10 Record Players And Vinyls

For many years, records were the optimal way to listen to music. People brought up in the age of vinyl fondly remember their visits to record stores to check out the latest releases and add them to their growing collections.

But as the digital age approached and tapes and CDs changed the industry, vinyl became obsolete. Physical media itself became outdated in the 2000s when streaming and downloading became the number one way to listen to music.

In 2020, statistics say that record player sales are rising and that younger generations are collecting vinyls.[1] It seems that having a physical copy of something—in some cases, records that are 40–50 years old—is better than just having a digital download.

Nowadays, special-edition vinyls are often released alongside digital albums, singles, and even film soundtracks. We see this as a reverse trend of what happened in the early digital age when everybody tossed their CDs. Some people now regret their decisions to throw away their vinyl records.

9 Classic Video Games

Photo credit: Square Enix

Over the last decade, many classic video games have made comebacks with mixed success. Few have really been blockbusters.

However, 2020 promises to be the year in which one of the most significant games of the 20th century is recreated. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 7 is slated for release in April. This follows a trend over the past few years in which blockbuster games such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have been remastered or remade.[2]

If Final Fantasy 7 becomes a commercial success, video game companies will likely follow the trend and remake games that were successful years ago. On top of this, many classic video games were rendered obsolete when older cables like SCART were switched to HDMI. Currently, these games can only be accessed by an emulator. But many are being made available on both iOS and Android so they can be enjoyed by new generations of gamers.

8 Mullets

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The mullet—the hairstyle of the 1980s—is making a comeback. Just ask famous All Blacks rugby player Jack Goodhue. The hairstyle dubbed “business at the front, party at the back” was hugely popular in the 1980s and rivals the mustache as a symbol of the decade. Then came the 1990s, and many people had their mullets chopped off.

However, with the popular success of shows such as Stranger Things, the mullet is returning as an edgy and trendsetting hairstyle in the new decade. According to research from The Guardian, hairdressers in London are cutting at least “one or two” per week and the increase is noticeable.[3]

The reemergence of the mullet has been linked to a more open and accepting society in which gender-neutral haircuts are in fashion. The mullet is one of the most gender-neutral haircuts possible. Perhaps this explains its newfound popularity.

7 Unions

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During the 1950s and ’60s, the UK and the US had many people in their workforces represented by labor unions. In the US, about 35 percent of workers were said to be unionized in the 1950s.[4]

That number now stands at just 10–11 percent. Some millennials and members of Generation Z simply don’t know what a labor union is. In today’s service-driven economy, workers have been unable to unionize as their manufacturing counterparts did decades ago.

However, in the last two years, the union movement has become “stronger than it has been in decades” according to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. In fact, the movement is in the beginning of a resurgence.

A 2015 Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans expressed a favorable opinion of unions. If this level of support can be harnessed into actual paying memberships, we could be looking at a revival of labor unions in the workplace.

6 Stephen King

Photo credit: Roberto Parada

Although his achievements stretch beyond a single genre, master horror novelist Stephen King hit his peak of popularity in the 1970s and ’80s with classic novels such as Carrie, The Shining, and It. During this period, many of his works were turned into blockbuster movies, most famously The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

However, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, King spent a good deal of his time writing books for The Dark Tower series and his popularity arguably waned. Adaptations of his novels also slowed. As a result, many millennials grew up without being interested in or exposed to his writing.[5]

However, the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and the immediate need to create content has caused a resurgence in the popularity of King’s novels and the film and TV adaptations of his work. In the last few years alone, King adaptations have included It and It Chapter Two, The Dark Tower, Pet Sematary, In the Tall Grass, and the hugely popular show Castle Rock. There have also been TV shows like 11.22.63 on Hulu and The Outsider on HBO.

It is truly remarkable how much content based on Stephen King’s fiction is currently being churned out. This has given his illustrious career a second wind in the modern era. If young people didn’t know Stephen King when they were growing up, they will surely know him now.

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5 Houseplants

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During the 1950s and ’60s, many homeowners used houseplants to add an interesting decorative appeal to their rooms. This trend was largely gone by the 1990s as technology and flashier house decorations took over.

However, houseplants such as spider plants and snake plants are making a comeback. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), average sales of houseplants skyrocketed by 60 percent in the second half of 2019—thanks largely to the rise of Instagram and the culture of proudly posting pictures of your house.[6]

With a rising interest in veganism and the climate crisis, people seem to be ditching traditional ornaments and buying houseplants. Some individuals attribute this to the millennials’ wish to take care of something that’s real in a world that’s becoming more virtual by the day.

4 Shag Carpets

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During the 1970s, the most popular form of interior design was the overuse of shag—those extra-thick, bouncy, and fluffy rugs or carpets you see in films such as Austin Powers or TV shows like Mad Men. At the Summer 1970 Home Furnishings Market, the story was shag in a variety of colors and forms. It was even used on walls.

By the 1990s, shag had been replaced with beige rugs and laminate flooring. However, shag may be set to make a dramatic comeback. According to online reports, shag rugs are becoming a trendy option to spruce up living areas and make them cozier.[7]

Although the specific carpet designs of the ’70s are being left behind, modern fashions in shag have given it a new lease on life. This may be the beginning of a trend that recreates the styles of the 1970s as people seek more vibrancy and unique twists in their homes to promote through social media.

3 Social Boundaries

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Before the days of social media, individuals had social boundaries. Other people did not know where you had been, whom you had been with, or what you had been doing. People also didn’t know what you were cooking or eating. Sometimes, they weren’t even aware of what you did for a living. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, there was no way to DM.

The boundaries in the old days were both limiting and liberating. Switch to the digital era, and all this information is widely available in the public domain. Many people share every aspect of their lives for the world to see, and the lack of boundaries in their private lives has never been more obvious.

However, it seems that a backlash is occurring in 2020. People are suddenly ditching social media and striving for more social boundaries. They are leaving Facebook as well as blocking and muting more individuals on other social media accounts. Celebrities and sports stars have been noticeably dropping social media after citing the pressure it brings.

More people are interested in living minimalist lifestyles that harken back to the pre-digital era. Privacy and the joy of missing out (JOMO) are slowly but surely replacing intrusion and the fear of missing out (FOMO).[8]

2 Tea Strainers

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Prior to the invention of the humble tea bag, people made tea with different types of infusers and strainers. These strainers contained loose leaves which were said to brew a stronger and more flavorful cup of tea.

However, in the early 20th century in the United States, small silken bags were used to package loose tea leaves and customers accidentally dipped these bags straight in the water. From then on, infusers and strainers were increasingly put on the back burner until it became common to brew tea with a tea bag.[9]

However, in recent years, tea straining has been making a comeback as young people prefer the less processed option of loose leaf. As millennials and younger generations turn their backs on mass-produced items in favor of supporting locally produced, fresher options, it seems that changes are also heating up in the tea industry.

1 World Division And Mistrust

Unfortunately, not all trends on this list are positive. In 2020, it seems that the world is sliding back into Cold War mistrust and paranoia, largely driven by political factions that seek to gain power from it. In the past few years, some have cited the election examples of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro while others look to Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi as polarizing figures.

But these are simply a sign of the times in 2020.

The emergence of racial intolerance in various regions across the globe and the use of social media to spread this message has made it feel like the world has taken a step backward. The climate crisis is often belittled and not taken seriously (or not believed at all).

Countries like Russia are still using covert tactics to manipulate world politics and create mistrust. It is no wonder that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has its Doomsday Clock currently sitting at 100 seconds to midnight. They describe the world as perilous and chaotic.[10]

This is the closest that the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight. Let’s hope we follow the trend of the 20th century and eventually steer clear of nuclear disaster.

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fact checked by Jamie Frater