Why Are ‘Retro’ Trends Resurfacing?

Vinyls still reap popularity, after decades of their initial invention. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.

Vinyls still reap popularity, after decades of their initial invention. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.

Sarah Tse, General

In a generation where almost everything can be done digitally, the resurfacing of vintage clothing, trends, and devices can come as quite a shock to older generations. Through various activities like thrift shopping and vinyl purchasing, the younger generations are seemingly providing a renaissance for trends that originally occurred as early as the 60s. Many are questioning the functionality of this resurgence, however, stating that streaming services and online clothing stores are more proficient and accessible than ever before and there are few reasons ‘retro’ things should come back. However, this hasn’t seemed to sway the interest shown in them. 


A Simpler Time 


Teens may feel overwhelmed with all of the digital media they see every day. Between almost all schoolwork turning digital and social media consuming them even when they are away from the screen, it can feel like everything they do is monitored and they cannot have a minute of peace. Relaxing while listening to a vinyl record can feel like a blast to the past that allows them to feel off the grid for once. Wearing clothing that gives a sense of nostalgia to older generations can provide a form of escapism from our ever-changing present. 


This nostalgia could also be the reason some older generations are encouraging this resurface. They were the ones who actually experienced the trends when they first occurred, so they might like the reminder of how life used to be. Despite how current generations are benefitted from all of the chaos of the present, many can feel like they want to stop the clock and finally feel relaxed throughout the day. 


No Hidden Meaning 


The renewed interest in vinyl records could also be for a very straightforward and logical reason– sound quality. There is no doubt that the sound quality of a record is leagues ahead of  a cell-phone speaker. Many fans want to listen to their favorite musical artists in the best quality available. Speaking of fans, vinyls are a great way to support artists. They typically cost more than buying the songs digitally and they can receive other benefits from the merchandise teams of artists. Vinyls also provide great collector’s items, they can increase in value with time, and they provide a more immersive experience rather than digitally streaming. When listening to a song on Spotify or Apple Music, it can feel impersonal because anyone and everyone with access to the song can listen just as easily as you. When you purchase a vinyl personally, it feels like you have a special connection with the music and record itself. 


Though the reasons for specific interest in vinyls can be reasonably explained, many others are harder to think through. For example, vintage clothing. Many question the choice to go thrift shopping because online shopping is more convenient and, in some cases, cheaper. However, the rebuttal to this idea is strong, with supporters arguing that it is a morally and environmentally superior option. Many online shops have been accused of child labor and cruel treatment of workers. It is also much worse for the environment due to all of the overseas trips being made. Thrifting can also introduce this idea of an individual and unique style. Many clothes at thrift stores are discontinued or hand-made, which can provide the buyer with a sense of specialty and creativeness. Furthermore, wearing things similar to what your parents may have worn can allow for you to feel more connected to them and to the time period. 


Overall Consensus


Of course, there is no idea that every single person will agree with; everyone has their own motivations for buying or using vintage things. We can only assume why they might enjoy retro devices or objects. However, nostalgia, quality, and personal connections are all typical reasons for the renewal of old trends and ideas. No matter the reason for being here, retro trends are seemingly here to stay for a while, and we should enjoy them while they last.