The Role of Retro in Youth Cultures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

 

The reintroduction of fashion trends and styles from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's is flourishing among youth cultures independent of the segment or tribe the youth might belong to. However, the taste for retro in terms of dress codes and interior design varies within the different tribes.  The devotion to retro is not a new phenomenon, but in contrast to earlier times, today's taste for retro is expressed through a mixture of fashion trends deriving from several time periods and combined in new and innovative ways. This mixture of fashion styles results in the flourishing of new aesthetic expressions and taste discourses devoted to deliberate eclecticism, which needs to be conceptualized. This paper contends that the taste for deliberate eclectic aesthetics in dress codes among youth cultures has become a legitimate taste discourse and an alternative to the modernist classic legitimate taste in the sense of Pierre Bourdieu. In this context the term interference will be introduced as a term for an aesthetic expression that comes into question when fashion styles are mixed in new and innovative ways. This way of dealing with aesthetic expressions is similar to the way artists and trendsetters within the avant-garde subcultures in the last century devoted themselves to kitsch, camp, and eclecticism. This aesthetic orientation is, however, today becoming a legitimate and mainstream taste discourse. The main point of this article is based on interviews from empirical research accompanied with photographs of teenagers dressed in accordance with the taste discourses identified by the study.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTwenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy
PublisherAssociation for Research in Popular Fictions
Publication date2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventTwenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy - Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jul 200812 Jul 2008

Conference

ConferenceTwenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLeeds
Period10/07/200812/07/2008

Keywords

  • Retro
  • Pastiche
  • Aesthetics
  • Youth cultures
  • Taste
  • Identity
  • Neo-tribes

Cite this

Thorlacius, L. (2008). The Role of Retro in Youth Cultures. In Twenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy Association for Research in Popular Fictions.