Retro-mania: Fashion’s Obsession With Nostalgia

model in Christopher John rivers walks down runway in big pink dress
Model at the Christopher John Rogers show at NYFW.


The 2000s have been all about repeating and combining retro trends, but now more than ever, we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Maximalism continues to be on the rise with volumes higher than the NYC skyline. Trends include those Free People bell bottoms that everyone seems to have; puff sleeves big enough to float you up into the clouds; capacious skirts on dresses at Christopher John Rogers and Christian Siriano runways; and shoulder padded blazers with pleated pants are going to be every business woman’s go-to.


In textiles, busy patterns such as 60’s wallpaper prints are all hitting stores right now across all markets, from Topshop to Alice and Olivia, and more on the way from Loewe. Patchwork and quilting has never looked so high fashion as seen on the streets. Tribal prints are even somehow making a comeback. An explosion of vibrant 80’s neons and polka dots seem to scream at us in every store.


Model at Loewe in wallpaper print
Model at Loewe in wallpaper print


After NYFW, street style stars have brought looks that are straight off of the set of Saturday Night Fever. The revival of the disco collar and platforms are just the beginning of the grooviest styles yet. 


The new #Moschinorama campaign seems to have been sent to 2020 straight through a time travel portal from 1980 with Kaia Gerber having us almost convinced we were just looking at an old picture of her mom, Cindy Crawford. Is 2020 just another sequel to the Back to the Future franchise?


Moschino campaign featuring Kaia Gerber
Moschino campaign featuring Kaia Gerber

Whether it’s the surge of vintage shopping and sustainability or just the nostalgia of years past, “retro-mania” is here to stay. Even outside of fashion, history seems to be repeating itself.


We see these commonalities everywhere. Fear of Russian involvement and tampering with American elections is reminiscent of the Cold War just years before. Rise in social justice, a cultural movement that was spearheaded by the people before us throughout the mid-20th century. Trump’s Impeachment trial bears a passing resemblance to Watergate. Even the awareness of society’s impact on the environment parallels that of the anti-pollution protests of the sixties and seventies.


The contemporary “Youthquake” from Millenials and Gen-Z’s rivals that of their parents before them, so really, fashion is just the next step in this cultural reawakening.

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