Remembering the Summer of Love
One of the most iconic moments of the American counterculture revolutions will celebrate five decades this year. The Summer of Love was both spontaneous and organized; it is important to remember it due to its profound impact on society and on culture as a whole.
Geographically, the center of the Summer of Love was the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in 1967. It is only fitting that the venerable newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle has been dedicating quite a few columns in 2017 to remember the historic event. Newspaper author Leah Garchik has been collecting impressions by readers who reminisce about those times and how they changed the world.
One of the most broadly recognized effects of the Summer of Love has to deal with fashion. Comfortable clothing was a major aspect of hippie fashion, and for women it meant wearing comfortable dresses with flat shoes and without brassieres. This fashion sense was brought home by World War II veterans and beatniks who traveled to places such as Morocco, where the Middle Eastern, African and Mediterranean worlds collide. Comfortable clothes briefly went out of fashion in the 1980s before returning in the 1990s and lasting until today; although members of the Millennial Generation are taking some steps back with stiletto heels and extremely tight clothing.
The widespread popularity of yoga also dates back to the Summer of Love, when instructors led hippies on communal yoga sessions at Golden Gate Park; these days, yoga studios can be found in strip malls across the United States. The preference for organic foods and purchasing items from farmers markets also started during the Summer of Love.
Something else that should not be forgotten about the Summer of Love is that young people felt empowered despite not receiving the support of their elders and the establishment. It is important to remember that the late Steve Jobs learned about Eastern philosophy after taking psychedelics growing in San Francisco at the height of the counterculture revolution; this experience prompted him to travel to India and expand his knowledge.