Kanye made it happen.
Though travelling back, I still remember the first time I saw them.
I’m not sure if it was real. It was during the tail end of my first period of madness (about ten years ago now). Paranoia abounded everywhere and it was christmas day. I needed to leave the house, scared of being bottled in, so my sister and brother-in-law (possibly not married at that point) took me on a walk.
I don’t think they knew quite how far gone I was, but my behaviour was strange enough for them to know something was up.
Anyway, we hunted for an open pub on Christmas day. We finally found the worst pub in St Albans, and it was open. As we entered, a thick wall of unhappiness washed over me. The pint of bland ruddy ale didn’t help.
And so we stood there, awkwardly.
I don’t remember the details, but we started talking to a man my bro-in-law knew (vaguely) called squirrel. He was wrapped in purple fleecing, an enormous Russian hat and had purple slotted plastic glasses on.
I couldn’t see his eyes. Not only that, but he looked like he was from some incredibly cheap and shitty version of the future.
I was convinced he was an undercover policeman. I made us leave and head for home in a hurry.
I barely even remember if those events really happened. There’s a few periods in my life that are viewed through distrust. It’s like having had certain parts of my life explained to me by an obviously unreliable narrator. The next time I went into the worst pub in St Albans was a good few years later, and the paranoia was equally thick and heavy. And my insanity was worse.
So that’s how I came into contact with those plastic glasses. They look shit. They look like something an unhappy man on Christmas day will wear to cheer himself up as a crazy, spoilt young boy gets scared in front of him.
They look like a joke. Like something given away with a childs novelty meal in a cheap and nasty fast food restaurant.
But that’s fashion for you. Some things just catch on. Once you’ve got someone famous doing something, it’s somewhat credible, at least for some subset of people. Plus there’s something disctinctly eighties trashy about those spectacles, with the bold blocks of colour, but they also (as far as I know) didn’t exist back then, so they have a sense of futurism about them (not futurism as in the futurist manifesto, just futurism as in ‘of the future’. I could’ve saved myself a lot of words then by just writing ‘a sense of the futuristic’. Oops.)
So they are retro and now. And that’s how you do a style revival.
I don’t fucking know. Some adult-children just want to keep the eighties alive forever, and they’re willing to walk around half blind to make it happen.
Such is life.
Illustration by Maria.