What makes retro so awesome?

Matthew Baines

What is it that is so exciting about vintage style?

Kitschy 60s retro look

Why are some folks drawn to retro or vintage style whilst others prefer brand spanking new and cutting edge design? We see retro style in all areas of life, whether that be homewares, clothing, stationery or even personal accessories such as phone cases or tote bags. What is it that makes the retro aesthetic so alluring to some? 

We all crave a bit of nostalgia!

Whether it be a sense of nostalgia, a throwback to a previous era, or just something that sparks a warm memory of times past. Many of us, just love the vintage style and can't get enough of it. The retro revival is definitely here to stay! Sometimes we prefer the real thing, such as vintage dresses or early 20th century paintings. Or we might want a more contemporary twist on the retro theme, a reinterpretation of yesteryear if you like. Either way, it is the vintage aesthetic that we find so appealing.

However, some might say that contemporary products come with contemporary standards and levels of professionalism, whereas more retro products can appear a little frayed and over worn. That said, the retro aesthetic can look great in the right setting, usually providing a contrast between old and new. Sometimes, however, we prefer to have a more consistent, streamlined look to our interior design home decor plans, or our vintage style outfits. This is where contemporary vintage style patterns can provide a great alternative.

Vintage secondhand shoppinng

Retro doesn't have to mean secondhand

By vintage style patterns, we mean designs in the retro style that have been applied to contemporary products. For example, a new t-shirt might have a gorgeous midcentury modern design printed across it, or a throw blanket might be brand new, but with a 50s style design. This way we get the best of both worlds: contemporary standards and materials whilst keeping hold of that great nostalgic feeling that we all yearn for.

In our view a contemporary living room, if it is following the latest styles down to the letter, can appear a little over-manufactured. Minimalism was a great style a few years ago, but maximalist style is what lots of us now prefer. By all means have a baseline of the most cutting edge furniture and fittings. But how about adding in a sprinkle of retro 20th century design into the mix. Not only does it allow you to express your personality, but it can also inject some fun and colour into the your look.

Searching for your unique personal brand

Really you are searching for the perfect unique look, either to your wardrobe or your homewares, or even your stationery collection. It is this individualism that we are looking for: the ability to stand out from the crowd, just a little bit by adding in the odd vintage piece to your wardrobe or sending a cute postcard based on an Alexander Girard design to your best friend. This way you are not a slave to the latest fashion but have successfully carved out your own personal brand.

A huge benefit of a good retro look is the fact that it is a timeless look. You have no need to chase the fashion trends when you are confident in falling back on a style that will never go out of fashion. Keeping the design simple is a sure guarantee that you will achieve this goal. Designers such as Paul Rand and Saul Bass carved out this style in the 1950s, using flat colours and simple no-fuss patterns rejected all the previous fussiness that had come before. This was an influence from the Bauhaus movement which had attempted to make products not only pieces of art, but also useful items that could be enjoyed through their purpose.

Now that these early mid-century modern designs are getting on for about 70 years old, we can look back on them with warmth and nostalgia. Simplicity provides not only timelessness but also the ability to inject into a contrasting pattern. Think about mismatching fashion items or sofa cushions. Don't just mismatch the pattern or the fabric, but also mismatch the era for added interest.

Helping our environment

There is also the added benefit of helping reduce waste by recycling products from yesteryear. Whilst at BillingtonPix we don't sell secondhand items, or recycled products we do care about the environment and ensure that we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, whether that be with our biodegradable phone cases, using non toxic inks or, in the case of our greeting cards, only paper that has been approved by the Forestry Commission.

Embracing the contemporary with the vintage allows us also to produce a fantastic number of downloadable digital art, whether as wallpapers for your phone (we have some free phone wallpapers by the way!), or as downloadable art for the home that you can choose to download onto which paper type you prefer.

Retro style will always be the best alternative to the contemporary, whether that be simply for that great feeling of nostalgia of the 'good old days', the ability to present a unique look in your home or your fashion, or to help the environment. 

contemporary retro

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