Newtro: The New Retro

Newtro (뉴트로), meaning new plus retro, is a trend that has recently taken off in the past couple of months. Retro can refer to as far back as the 1920s or as recent as the 1990s. No matter the era, it is all about adding a twist to the old. The newtro style appears in Korean fashion and music. Here are some examples of newtro in both!

Newtro in Fashion:

  • Chunky Shoes 

Reminiscent of the '90s, chunky shoes are back in fashion. The chunkier, the better! The newtro trend allowed for brands to experiment. Fila and Adidas are popular brands when it comes to chunky shoes (Fila released older styles from the '70s), the the perfect shoes for a newtro look. The official Adidas website describes a pair as "inspired by the '90s with a futuristic design.” That is the essence of newtro!

HyunA is no stranger to retro looks. She has rocked perms, cowboy boots, and of course, chunky shoes! The shoes and the neon pink socks might seem strange, but it works! Newtro is about experimentation, and HyunA isn't scared to add colorful twists to her outfits. 

  • Oversized Sweaters

Whether it’s a dad jacket or windbreaker, as long as it’s oversized it will do. Cardigans even count, too! The oversized jacket trend stems from the '80s and '90s. Pro-Specs specializes in newtro clothing, showing how a simple oversized windbreaker can make your outfit both retro and avant garde!

Here Ki-Bum, better known as Key from SHINee, is wearing not just one oversized sweater, but two! Along with the grainy filter, doesn’t this look right out the ‘90s?

  • Traditional Dresses

We’re not talking about hanboks! Aside from those traditional dresses, in Korea, some shops rent out dresses styled after 1920s fashion. This trend started after the popularity of the drama Mr. Sunshine, and has continued in growth thanks to Hotel del Luna, which was released in 2019. Ikseon-dong in Seoul has become the center for newtro, hosting a variety of these stores. 

There’s no better example for traditional dresses than Ji-eun Lee! She was the lead actress in Hotel del Luna, and throughout the show, she wore many different retro outfits.

Newtro in Music: 

  • D.I.A - Newtro Album

D.I.A released a mini-album based on newtro and even named it after the trend. The music video of their lead single "Woowa" starts with a jukebox, one of the most iconic retro symbols, and doesn’t just stop there! The concept photos of the album feature roller skates, paper hats, and disco balls. The visuals are retro but the song is a mix of synths, futuristic in contrast. It’s the best of both worlds!

  • YUKIKA - Neon

YUKIKA’s song sounds much like Japanese pop in the ‘80s, also known as city-pop. This type of music is a mixture of funk, disco, and jazz. She gives this genre a new life. Most prominent city-pop songs were released in the '80s, but her single was a new song to add to the playlist. The music video also sports classic eighties iconography like a sparkly skirt, perms, and of course, neon lights. 

  • Rothy - Bee

Rothy’s song is a blend of R&B and techno beats. Throughout the music video, Rothy wears outfits that include colorful hair clips and the occasional oversized sweater. The sets are also retro, featuring a sewing room, laundry mat, and a record store. Although, it also features modern things, like Instagram. It’s like the '90s took place in now! If you want to experience nostalgia for the nineties, then this is the video for you. 

Newtro allows for people to experience the past with a twist. Are there any trends you want to try? Tell us below! 

Cover Image: Rothy (Stone Music Entertainment)
Written by Stephanie Lemus

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