The Retro Style is Back (Again) – Why Retro Always Seems to be Trending

Retro is back in a big way. But, in a way, it never really left. Let's take a look at the retro style and its enduring appeal.
April 8, 2022

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By Branded Joy Editorial Staff

Retro is back in a big way. But, in a way, it never really left.

You can see it everywhere, from fashion to home decor to web design. But why does retro always seem to be trending? And why will it always remain a popular style?

Let’s take a look at the retro style and its enduring appeal.

What Is Meant By Retro Style?

Retro is an aesthetic that intentionally aims to copy past lifestyles, trends, or art forms. The retro phenomenon is present in most aspects of life where a previously established aesthetic has been replaced by a more contemporary vision.

picture of various magazine sections displaying the retro style in fashion

Retro branding refers to the re-release or revival of product and service brands from a bygone era, generally with enhanced features such as efficiency and operation.

One way to understand retro design is a blend of old-fashioned design and aesthetics with modern functionality. Retro stands in contrast to the vintage style, which quite literally entails using old-fashioned products and services as they were originally created.

In a way, retro is about paying homage to a past that exists now only in our memories.

Why Are Retro Styles Popular?

There are many reasons for the enduring popularity of retro styles. For one, retro can be a way to tap into nostalgia. We all have a longing for simpler times when life moved at a slower pace and we had more time to enjoy the simple things in life.

Retro design is also often playful and whimsical. It can add some much-needed fun and levity to our lives. In a world that often feels serious and stressful, retro can help us relax and enjoy ourselves.

Retro Styles And Nostalgia

In its most basic form, the retro style is an expression of our longing for the past.

And not just a desire to live past times, although that’s certainly part of it for some people. Rather, retro designers are often people who want to experience a past they never got the chance to experience first-hand.

image of a retro style arcade with two men in the foreground playing on a The Simpsons arcade game machine

If you’re among those who think about the past fondly, there’s a good chance you’re drawn to the retro style.

In many ways, it’s difficult to experience the past in a very negative way. As the saying goes, the past is seen through rose-tinted goggles and the retro aesthetic is really a sign that we look back at simpler times with fondness.

The Magical Aspects of the Retro Style

There’s also something even less defined about the retro aesthetic that many people find enchanting.

And it’s a certain emotion that retro designs evoke. A feeling of happiness and contentment. A time when we didn’t have to worry about the future because everything felt more certain.

For some people, the appeal of the retro design is simply that it makes them feel good. There’s a strong emotional connection to the style for many of us that’s difficult to put into words.

The Authenticity of Retro Styles

Lastly, there’s something about the retro aesthetic that just feels authentic and pure.

Many retro products remind us of a time when society was less focused on consumption and planned obsolescence. A time when things were made to last.

image of a plank wall in a shed with many retro style and vintage tools hanging in racks

In a world where it often feels like everything is mass-produced and disposable, retro can be a breath of fresh air.

And when a brand is known for being made to last, there’s an element of authenticity that comes with that. After all, what’s more authentic than wanting something you made to be used forever.

Retro Styles as an Element of Resistance

Everything we discussed above converges at a single point our experience when we’re faced with retro brands.

And that’s discontentment.

The authenticity of retro brands as symbols of heritage and long-lasting quality presents a sort of challenge to short-lived consumerism that’s so rampant today. In other words, choosing retro styles gives us a chance to take a stand against low-quality disposable goods.

Many people are willing to spend more money (sometimes substantially more) on vintage fashion simply because it’s an investment in a durable product and manifests distaste for unsustainable practices.

In a similar way, the things we find enchanting about the retro style are an expression of our resistance to modern trends. In part, that boils down to a glamorized view of that past influenced by various media.

The Retro Style is Unique!

If you’re looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, the retro style is always an easy way to do so.

The great thing about retro is that it doesn’t refer to any particular aesthetic or design trend, like art deco, for instance. Instead, the retro style evolves and changes with the times.

Retro encompasses a very wide range of periods and styles and as times go on, new styles become “retro” and the scope of retro changes entirely.

So, you can draw inspiration from many eras and fashions.

image of a cabinet designed in a retro style with many retro style canned goods and spices displayed in the cabinet

In the same way, you can relive a way in which people experienced a world that is very different from our own through retro technology. Decades ago, analog tech was king and the process of using technology put us in much closer contact with the objects we were using.

Once You Go Retro, You’ll Keep Going Back

The retro style is one that has been around for a while and it doesn’t seem like it will be going away any time soon. People love the appeal of retro styles, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.

There’s something comforting and nostalgic about embracing designs and ideas from decades past. It can make us feel like we’re escaping the chaos of the modern world – even if it’s only for a little while.

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