by Richard Sampang
Have you been singing to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody lately? Or binge watching the entire series of FRIENDS or even pulling up a Rachel Green/Fresh Prince of Bel-air look? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Welcome to the RETROspective thinking! Where the current generation try to relive the past.
Throughout different social media feed, hundreds of photos, posts and videos have emerged that seems to relive the 70’s up to the 90’s. More and more people have been more enthusiastic with Rick Astley’s slick voice and stripped polos in living their daily lives. It created a new market trend for brands to follow. From Netflix’s San Junipero episode in Black Mirror, Gucci belt bags and Fila’s chunky dad shoes, brands were able to capture the taste preferences of these retro lovers. The concept of retrospective thinking paved way for brands to strategize new marketing, designing advertising and selling techniques that will help them reach their target market. From creating sophisticated futuristic designs from different clothing companies, they turned to going back the old days. Adidas’s 1960’s Stan Smith and Nike’s 1970’s Cortez became a must fashion statement for fashionistas. Both of them almost have the same message for the people buying them, recreate the past. In an article written by Darling (2017), every vintage garment or old styled clothing, comes with a story. Little is more exciting than being able to trace the origin of a garment, known as the “provenance”, and to be able to conjure up wonderful images of its past life. Netflix’s Black Mirror episodes San Junipero and Bandersnatch, two of the famous episodes, also have captured the eyes of viewers by showing “old school” theme episodes. Even Bruno Mar’s and Cardi B’s Finesse have also engaged people to listen to old style kinds of music. Why do people fund this kind of thinking? In a study done by Pritchett of Armstrong State University (2017), wearing retro items that no one else owns gives the wearer a sense of individuality, much like the slight differences in handwritten calligraphy that vary from person to person. This directly contrasts the mass-produced clothing sold by some brands in the market, which is dubbed “fast fashion” in the industry.
It’s more than just a phase, it’s old artistry that people continue to preserve and appreciate in different ways. Current generation have included in their style the old artistry not just because their stylish and on trend, but because those people express how they appreciate old artistry. I personally would call myself a “Retro-Loving” person. From collecting shoes, clothes, movies and music, I find joy in having these things in my life. As a college student, some people, particularly the ones older than me, find it fascinating for a young gentleman like me, inspired by having The Godfather and Pulp Fiction part of my top movies. I have different 5 playlists in my Spotify account. 2 of which are playlists from the 70’s-80’s and from the 50’s. I was able to compile these songs not just because they were famous before, but because it gives me glimpses of how they used to live their lives in the past, especially my 50’s playlist. I collect plate numbers of countries I visit, some of which are old and dusty.
I was able to ask people their take on this mindset. Earl See, a student from De La Salle University, said that the reason why he wears striped oversized shirts and also 90’s jackets and shoes is because those styles are not dead. “It doesn’t mean that if it was created and made famous in the past, we must forget them because we live in the new era.” This is absolutely true. That is why brands continue to bring back old style because they also believe things like these have still a place in the community.
Brands have adapted through the preferences of the current market. Offering a way for consumers to “have” their products and services without compromising what they want. Brand communication have been more effective when they tackle both the consumers wants and needs. And through the influencers, people have the ideas to follow. But even influencers based their styles from past influencing people. Lady Gaga’s style was heavily influenced by Queen. She even got her name from Queen’s song Radio Gaga. Everybody follows somebody that is why brands were able to communicate effectively.
Truly the new age has never forgotten the past. It even commemorated what happened in the past. Netflix’s Riverdale series is a perfect example of how people still clings on to the past. From an old comic novel, Riverdale showcases a retro-modern take that people want to experience. From Pop’s milkshakes and their uniforms to Archie’s iconic varsity jacket, they reflect how our society view the current era with a touch of old artistry.
And this continues to emerge and grow as the people continue to preserve and appreciate the things it gave. Living in a retro-modern world doesn’t mean that we cannot let go of the past. But rather, we were able to accept that the past should not be forgotten and part of our history.