Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Video: Check Out This Mall Mania Realness From 1990

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

It's peak shopping season, which makes it a great time to reflect on our not-too-distant shopping heritage, late capitalism and the return of high-waisted shorts. Behold, this archival video footage from local malls in 1990 stitched together by Joel Fletcher to a frenetic synth soundtrack.

Indoor malls—whose hallmarks were elaborate fountains, dumb gadgets to play with at Sharper Image and Tiffany lamps—were still going strong in 1990. The Northridge Earthquake hadn't yet wrecked the natural habitat of the original Valley Girls. All-white sneakers were an inescapable plague for middle-class mall-dwellers, young and old. The Los Angeles Times used to write long odes to malls of yore calling them a place where "you can go braless, wear funeral-black lipstick, and pop your gum a zillion times with no mother to scold you."

Alas, all good things must come to an end. The famous Sherman Oaks Galleria of "Valley Girl" and "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" closed down in 1999 before getting an overhaul. It wasn't the same. Dead malls abound. You can still get that 90s realness from a few malls around town (the Galleria in K-town comes to mind). But The Gap is no longer cool enough to lure us from the comfort of our keyboards. There are still elaborate fountains but they're outside now. And Rick Caruso has had to build a trolley, buy fake snow and have Uber offer us free rides to lure us into a shopping experience that requires us putting on (high-waisted?) pants. I can't wait to look back in 25 years and get nostalgic about discounts for Klout scores.