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If you watch movies from the 1960s through the 1980s, 2012 looks a lot different than it does in real life. In old movies, 2012 is the space age, filled with flying cars, quick trips to the moon, and crazy silver clothing and shoes. Today’s 2012 is vastly different from the old movie interpretations. We don’t have flying cars, moon travel is as-yet impossible for most, and the most surprising difference is the fascination with vintage styles and design.

Although 2012 should be filled with future-minded thinking, it seems that we cannot get over the glory days of the past. From television shows that glorify past decades to food companies bringing back their “retro” or “classic” blends, it seems that nostalgia is the biggest influence of 2012. You can see this vintage retro influence in every area of life, from fashion, to food, to art.


It is easiest to see the influence of the past in modern clothing trends. Trends ranging from 1930s glam to 1980s punk and 1990s grunge are available in stores. Look at any major flash fashion store, and you will see clothing influences from every decade over the past 60 years. In one section of the store, you can see leggings, acid-washed jeans and loose neon shirts. In another area, there are ladylike skirts, demure blouses, and classic pumps. You no longer have to choose one style to wear. In 2012, you can pick something from any vintage store and fit right in.

Accessories are no different. You can choose delicate and ladylike pieces from the 1950s and 60s, or find large, bright earrings and accessories from the 1980s. There is truly no end to the vintage inspiration found in modern clothing stores. Very little distinguishes the clothes of today from cheap vintage clothing of the past.


Old-fashioned design elements are also coming back in 2012. Pieces and colors that would have been shunned just a few years ago are embraced today, such as brass furniture, 1960’s style furniture, and the color choices of the past. Many well-known designers use vintage styles as inspiration, even going so far as to use loud wallpaper designs that haven’t been popular in 20 or 30 years. A designer will often mix vintage pieces with new, to create an eclectic look that spans decades. Even offices have taken a cue from vintage design with old-fashioned desks, furniture, and wall art.


While the art world has not caught vintage fever as much as some other parts of life, the retro look is alive and well in the art world. Many artists are turning to artistic styles popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Some modern cartoons even look like they were drawn in past decades. Other artists also take old-fashioned subject material and turn it into new art, such as pop art made with vintage cameras, or painting a new design onto a vintage art piece.


Modern architecture also harkens back to past decades. Aside from the all-white trend that is also popular, architects are choosing designs that have a vintage feel, such as using concrete as a design element, or incorporating nature into the designs in vintage styles used over 100 years ago. Even floor plans and room sizes popular in past decades are not popular once more, such as smaller living areas and larger bedrooms.

Other areas of life

The retro movement spreads beyond art and design. There are signs of it everywhere in the world, such as when classic brands bring back older food styles or portion sizes. Soda companies now make “retro” blends of their drinks with old packaging or real sugar. Other food companies have also released “vintage” designs on packaging and even recipes to allow the modern person to experience life in the past. Old-fashioned cameras are also a popular choice. Some automotive makers are even creating new cars that look like vehicles from the 1970s, 80’s, or 60’s. If you look around, you can see vintage influences in every area of life.

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Posted by Nick Levitan

This is a guest post by Nick Levitan, a full time enthusiast in all things design oriented, and part time guest poster, Nick is continually intrigued by the vintage retro resurgence within today’s popular culture.

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