Why Retro So Loved by Millennials and Generation Z?
In South Korea, social and cultural attention is recently on the MZ generation, a collective term for Millennials (born 1980-2004) and Generation Z (born 1995-2004) referring to the digital generation who are accustomed to material abundance. These MZers are familiar with online ecosystem and hops on newer trends quickly while longs for unique and personal identity. They are a heavy influence on consumer markets, and from fashion and beauty to electronics, industries are making effort to steal their heart.
Among many of their likings, their love for retro clearly stands out. Once a global sensation, 1990s’ hiphop fashion and minimalism, among others, are brought back to life by MZers. It shows that these MZers are showing interest in retro fashion and overcoming loneliness with nostalgia. These MZ culture brought about a new trend called newtro, referring to new retro.
For past couple of years, the Covid-19 pandemic made people spend more time at home. The younger generation of people who grew tired of digital culture got shocked by emotions evoked by analog, and middle-aged people in their 40s and 50s immersed themselves in nostalgia and felt psychological comfort. This culture brought about big changes in fashion and shopping trend, and advertising slogans from ’80s and ’90s and outfits that were trendy at the time boosted advertising effect according to a research. Many researchers concluded that in an economic downturn or discomfort people look for things bring old memories, which further supports the reasons behind MZers’ love for newtro.
Recreation of early and mid 2000s fashion styles: Y2K styles
As its name Y2K suggests, the trend is a reconstruction of late ’90s fashion and of early and mid 2000s. Simply put, the styles were inspired by women who dominated the pop culture such as Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot, and Paris Hilton. The fashion is represented by sparkling materials, chunky and trendy sneakers, pleated skirts, baguette bags, wide leg pants, and colorful sunglasses. This Y2K fashion was translated into crop tops and velvet tracksuits in 2022, and the Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel in one of the America’s greatest hit sitcoms, “Friends”, is getting attention because of the Y2K fashion trend.
MZer’s consumer behavior is meaning-oriented
Another special trait of MZers is that they consider resell value of clothes and shoes, and they enjoy shopping at second-hand markets. They are particularly fond of the fun experience of buying clothes and fashion items, which drives their spending. Sustainability is another keyword in today’s fashion. MZers are interested in eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. According to a survey, 73% of Gen Zs agreed that they would pay higher price for eco-friendly products, supporting the consumption preference. Also, 96% of Gen Zs spend considerable time on reading reviews and recommendations on goods they are interested in, and 8 out of 10 MZers read a review before completing a transaction.