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The Decade: Through the Lens of Pop Culture

One Direction poses for the 2012 TV Week Logie Awards. One Direction was created at the start of the decade in 2010 before announcing their hiatus in 2016. Photo taken by Brett Robsen.

The end of an era is approaching. The 2010s are coming to a close and so are many memorable icons. Between One Direction being formed by Simon Cowell, to their indefinite hiatus, Kim Kardashian marrying Kanye West, and Marvel releasing Avengers: Endgame, the 2010s have been nothing short of memorable. The decade has been full of style, celebrity, cinematography and music changes.


Fashion choices made this decade have been defined by the skater look, reviving ‘90s, and retro looks, and the baggy-chic look, and of course companies have stretched the envelope again in their designs. Franklin student Karissa Owens (11) describes the 2010s fashion saying, “ ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s have all been mixed together. We’ve seen a change between where our clothing comes from, the fast fashion industry has a big role this decade, but it’s interesting to see how thrifting and purchasing sustainable clothing has become more popular and fast fashion has begun to fade.” Owens brings up sustainable fashion, a choice that the fashion industry has made an effort to support. The fashion industry has begun the sustainable fashion movement to create a fashion industry that is ecological conscious and harm free to the environment. Thrifting and second-hand shopping have taken the fashion industry by storm, becoming one of the most popular ways of shopping for teens and adults. However, fast fashion brands such as SHEIN and H&M have gained an equal amount of supporters, with celebrities and influencers giving out discount codes to followers. Daniel Meier (11) has taken notice of smaller changes in fashion amongst teens, noting that “jeans [are] cuffed more often now, as well as wearing skater clothes. [We’re] moving away from the formal look and going back to casual.” Small, subtle changes can be seen mostly in high school settings where the popular look has shifted away from low rise jeans to Dickies.


Spotify recently released their Wrapped lists for 2019 and for the decade, listing Drake as their number one streamed artist of the decade and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran as the most streamed song. Ariana Grande rose from her Victorious days as Spotify’s top streamed female artist of the decade, releasing a total of 5 albums throughout the 2010s. The 2010s have had many diverse music genres break out to bring in massive album sales and chart records. Meier comments on the music changes this decade, saying, “There’s been an increase in different music styles. Jazz has gone down and hip hop has risen. A lot of rap artists have broken out like Kanye, and Travis Scott.” However, most of the most successful albums have been primarily pop. Some of the top selling albums of the decade worldwide have been 21 by Adele (consecutively for two years), ፥ by Ed Sheeran, The Greatest Showman and Midnight Memories by One Direction. All in all, this decade has made monumental hits on the charts with artists like Ariana Grande breaking chart records and making history. Artists such as Lizzo and Cardi B have shown the unorthodox and inspirational path to stardom that has changed the music industry immensely and will continue to influence others in this coming decade.


The eighth and final Harry Potter movie took to theaters in 2011, Glee took its final bow in 2015, and Stranger Things took Netflix by storm in 2016. As the film industry grows, so does the production and streaming development. With an increase in streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and recently Disney +, more television shows have reached millions of viewers and gained largely recognized success. Shows such as The Office, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Friends, and Brooklyn 99 have gained huge amounts of supporters over the decade for comedy lovers. Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Scandal have had fans on edge throughout the decade. Everyone has had preferences for their top movies and TV shows throughout the years but Paul Carlson (11) lists his top movies as, “The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inception, La La Land and Mad Max: Fury Road for entertainment.” Closing off 2019, the films Little Women, Marriage Story and Uncut Gems have had theaters filling up and are set to win many awards.

Animated films and TV shows have increased in popularity as well as quality. Movies such as Frozen and Coco have broken box office records; Frozen has become so popular that it has its own musical on Broadway. Tangled, Zootopia, Wreck It Ralph, Moana, The LEGO Movie, Inside Out, Trolls, Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse, How To Train Your Dragon and many more animated movies made powerful impacts on Hollywood, showing that animation has grown in its CGI techniques and animation qualities. Animated movies have touched the lives of many families. Films such as Coco resonated strongly with families who felt a strong connection to paying tribute to those of Mexican heritage who have been lost. The animation of films and shows has changed immensely throughout the decade with CGI animation evolving constantly. Gone are the days of puppet animation. Animators have explored more realistic animation, such as Baby Yoda. While animated films are either preferred by viewers or disliked, they have come a long way in their CGI animation and storytelling.

The 2010s have impacted many people, showing that industries can change, and equality has risen at the forefront of many fights against companies. Going in to the 2020s, the best way to remember this decade and its impact on pop culture would be by continuing to fight for representation and equity in all outlets of pop culture.

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The Decade: Through the Lens of Pop Culture