Are there any substantial differences between the terms ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’? By the term retro (short for retrospective) we mean a cultural style that draws on past fashions and pays homage to the use of anything defined as vintage, whereas it is more usual to use the term vintage to indicate the qualities and value of objects produced at least twenty years before today and that have become true cult objects over time.
Vintage: what does it mean?
The term “vintage” comes from the old French word “vendenge”, derived from the Latin word “vindēmia”, i.e. “vintage”, which refers to great wines. But the term “vintage” is not only used in this context, it also refers to all products that have left their mark on culture and customs because they are inimitable, usually born between 1920 and 1990. From musical instruments, museum objects, computers, video games, motorbikes, cars, to fashion and clothing. Also be careful to distinguish between vintage and antique. Furniture that is described as antique goes back much further.
Retro: what it means
The retro style has also influenced fashion, art, erotica, television and film. Reference is made to retro art, which is a kind of ‘pop art’ that originated in the forties and fifties. In the field of erotica, ‘retro erotica’ is a class of photography that is inspired by the ‘pin-up’ style and pornography of the 1970s and earlier. Fashion is also inspired by the retro style. So clothes and accessories, which were in fashion long before, are taken as inspiration by designers to create what is in fashion again today.
Make-up is also influenced by the past and is inspired by retro, using the same gadgets used by film make-up artists in the 1940s and 1950s. Music and media such as television and radio also make reference to retro style, focusing on sounds, instruments, palimpsests and films that focus directly on 20th century achievements.
Retro and vintage in fashion terms
“Retro” and “vintage” are both descriptive labels for styles and clothing. In addition, both words can be applied to other designed objects. In terms of clothing and fashion, a “vintage” item is a garment made between the 1920s and 1980s. Vintage clothing echoes the style that was popular during this long period. The word can refer to the model, style and age of the item or garment. Vintage clothing or objects use old patterns and old materials. Clothes are considered vintage if the style and material used are between 20 and 75 years old compared to current fashion trends. However, even some people continue to wear vintage clothing as a fashion statement to recycle clothes and save money.