Millennials Are Going Vintage, But Not The Way You Think

Updated: Jan 2, 2019

Brands like Nike, Adidas, Nautica and Perry Ellis are re-energising looks from the 80s and 90s and millennials are all over it.

My neighbour’s teenage son has about 40 items of vintage clothing and apparel in his wardrobe which he has acquired over the last three years despite him not being into vintage fashion - at all. No, they aren’t hand-me-downs from his dad or favourite uncle, nor did he scout them out in an op-shop or one of Melbourne’s many fine vintage boutiques. He bought them all brand new from retailer’s like Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and Ralph Lauren (yea, he has an eye for labels, and... style).

It’s called retro releases, and I’m not going to lie - I’m in love with some of the capsule collections that these brands and others like Nautica and Perry Ellis are issuing; re-energising, in one form or another, arch rivals designs that came out in the 80s and 90s, tweaking them ever so slightly.

The looks of this era have come back full circle in fashion today and are being embraced by millennials who missed out on them the first time and those like me, who had a glimpse but have an appreciation for it this time around.

Kith is one retailer and fashion label that is getting some major hype in this area, and for good reason too. The high street label’s collaborations with Adidas, Versace and Tommy are just plain cool, leveraging its minimalist designs to create understated style with these iconic brands.

Puma has gone in a similar direction, with a major in-your-face twist on pop culture. It recently collab’d with soft drink manufacturer PepsiCo for its Suede 50 Puma x Pepsi capsule collection, in which the German’s iconic 1968 suede sneaker has been re-imagined. Pepsi is a great injection into the millennial market for Puma, given the soft drink brand is so strongly associated with celebrity culture and is ranked no. 29 on Forbes Most Valuable Brands 2018 list, with an estimated brand value of US $18.4 billion.

Lifewear brand Fila has been garnering the spotlight over 2018, but not by re-energising anything. It has simply stayed true to it’s original red, blue and white 80s and 90s signature styling. The label saw major a dip in popularity in the 2000s, until now. Its pull on shoppers in 2018 has catapulted thanks to the comeback of the looks of the 80s and 90s era.

Perhaps my mum may now appreciate what she sometimes refers to as my “hoarder” trait. Last week I pulled out an Esprit denim jacket that I used to wear when I was 16 years old. Then at 17 - I hated it and fast forward to 2018 - it’s the hottest jacket in my wardrobe.

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