words Al Woods
From how we listen to music, to what we wear and how we decorate our homes, the retro style is an undeniable favourite. Although millennials weren’t actually there to witness the first wave of vinyls and videogames, for example, they are certainly making up for it now by looking to the past for lifestyle inspiration.
Whether we’re driven by nostalgia for the ‘good old days’, a desire to stand out and rebel against fashion trends, or we’re just drawn to the retro aesthetic, many of us can’t resist a throwback. So, what exactly is it that excites people about the retro look?
A nostalgic experience
It isn’t just the fashion world that embraces the retro look; people are more frequently opting for vinyls over streaming music online, novelty screenings of older films, and retro videogames. From Sonic to The Smiths, everything retro is having a resurgence and it could be something to do with the whole nostalgic experience.
Admit it, there is something novel about pulling a vinyl record out of a dusty sleeve and setting it up on your retro turntable. The sound quality might be crackly, but somehow this adds to the overall ambience. What’s more, this style of listening encourages you to slow down and listen to a full album rather than jumping between shuffled songs on Spotify. Over the past year, a total of 4.2 million vinyl albums were sold in the UK, a 1.6 per cent increase over 2017. It’s clear the allure is only growing.
The same can be said about shopping; there is a certain appeal about rifling through vintage shops to find that perfect piece. Modern clothes shopping can lack challenge, with rails of replicas laid out as far as the eye can see. It will never give you the same satisfaction you feel when you come across a unique vintage gem after a lengthy search.
Higher quality for lower prices
With the fast fashion industry under scrutiny, many shoppers are now choosing to either buy second-hand, retro items, or invest in higher quality pieces that will last. According to Forbes, millennials place a higher priority on the environment (42 per cent) than boomers. This is another reason why retro style is thriving. The benefit of vintage and retro clothes is that they have been built to last, with stronger material and a timeless style. Therefore, they have a much smaller environmental footprint.
In a society that revolves around ever-changing trends it is a relief to own some pieces that you know are going to withstand the test of time. Vintage and retro clothing is built to last. It can endure the changing tides of fashion trends — making it the perfect long-term addition to your wardrobe. No matter how many seasonal outfits entice you, your classic pair of vintage mom jeans or, for the guys, your favourite pair of men’s white trainers aren’t going anywhere. Plus, you can constantly re-vamp them with newer pieces for that modern/vintage twist.
A unique look
Do you want to avoid those awkward matching-outfit moments when you’ve spent so much time perfecting your look? If so, a retro revival is the best way forward. As well as minimizing the chance of clashes with your friends, you’re bound to stand out with your individual retro pieces. Not to mention, you get to be ‘that guy’ who constantly gives the answer ‘it’s vintage’ when asked where an item of clothing is from…
It’s this sense of individuality that appeals to so many people. Whether by filling their wardrobes with vintage pieces or just giving a nod to the retro look with the occasional accessory, retro is an easy way to add a unique flare to fashion. However you do it, you’ll create a look that’s individual to you and isn’t just dictated by what’s in fashion.
Whether it is the nostalgia of the retro revival, the practicalities (both for the environment and your pocket), or the timeless aesthetic of a perfectly put-together vintage outfit, we can see that retro fashion and culture is here to stay.