What's hip and happening in the '90s

Created by Claire Cavendish on Mon Sep 19th, 2022 @ 19:40

To some the nineties don't seem so long ago, but there are 20-year-olds that don't seem to remember them too well. Some quick pointers to the general vibe and feel of the 90s below might help you establish your character in the setting.

Pop Culture

Most of the pop culture you'll be referencing would be things from the late eighties, since the 90s have only kicked off. This means Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, with Madonna as the undisputed Queen. Speaking of Queen, the rock band just lost their leading man in November '91 and U2 just released 'Achtung Baby' featuring 'One'. For the youth, Nirvana and the Grunge culture from Seattle is storming the scene. Need more music from '92? Look no further!
On the silver screen we get to enjoy things like Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Back to the Future and many, many more. This years cinemas are fueling a dino rage with Jurrasic Park reigning supreme.
The small screen is dominated by Seinfeld, and Star Trek: The Next Generation just grew its beard. The Simpsons is coming into its own going into season three.


The eighties ended on a high and the early nineties are riding the high. A decade of peace and prosperity in Europe with the divides between East and West being bridged. The Soviet Union just crumbled and opened up new avenues for western culture to spread beyond the Iron Curtain. For the U.K. there's a tentative lean towards more progressive governance, something that in '92 is at the forefront of the general elections. A fierce battle with the Conservatives in a position where they have everything to lose and Labour clamouring to dethrone the Tories after their Iron Lady Margareth Thatcher stepped down from her role as party leader.


The early nineties are pushing technology into exciting new eras. The Internet is becoming a thing on the back of the digital revolution, but it's mostly reserved for larger organisations and institutes of learning. Computers don't use fancy graphic interfaces, everything is wired, and not even the screen itself supports RGB colours. To listen to music everyone buys CDs, and a Discman is the pinnacle of listening to them when you're out and about. Though Cassette is still king for both audio and video, and you're more likely to enjoy your favourite bootlegged tape (Radio announcer voice expertly avoided in the recording) on a walkman or stereo.

If these quick pointers aren't enough, consider the following places for inspiration:
- Wiki article on the '90s
- Wiki article on '90s Fashion
- A list on things '90s people remember
- A trip down memory lane

For all of your research remember we're in the early '90s (currently '92), so always check whether this is something that already happened (unless you're a pre-cog).

Categories: History and Insights