What is Retro

Retro. How many times we heard that word that so many mouths filled and we are left with the desire to know what means exactly. As well, we will try meet all uses and meanings which we can meet it.

What is Retro
We start at the beginning. It is best to know the origin of the word, its etymology, i.e., how it has been incorporated into our language and what sources did.


According to DigoPaul, the word “retro” derives from the prefix retro latin, which means, backward or in the past. This prefix can be found in many common words in our language; retrograde, back, back, back… but is perhaps more important to see how he came to our culture.
In France, retro appeared as abbreviation of undertake, a very used Word after the second world war due to the constant reappraisal of the Government of Charles de Gaulle and the role of France in the war. Theter, in 1970, the retro mode embossing in film and literature the civil French behavior during the nazi occupation. Soon, the term was applied to refer in a nostalgic way to fashions of the time. From there it was exported to the English by the cultural press and fashion magazines.
In Spain, the use of the word occurred gradually by proximity and cultural affinity with the French, although its recent emergence is of Anglo-Saxon influence.

Uses and meanings

Retro You can use to describe something as “outdated or old”, although it is often used in the sense of “timeless or classic”. It is also associated to obsolete technologies such as machines typewriters, cash registers, analog phones and even the first mobile or video game consoles.
However, the most common meaning of retro is that refers to objects and a near past attitudes that are no longer modern, correctly understanding the modern term, which does not mean anything other than current.
The confusion starts when it is also called retro to contemporary designs inspired by fashions from other times or when creations of yesterday are technologically updated.
That is why, in general, you can use and understand the retro Word as a reference to any attitude, fashion or design which is somehow related to the past, either directly or partially.

Retro decoration

Today, and although it seems a contradiction, being retro is modern, or in a more direct manner; the old is fashionable. Now more than most is to mix 50 to 60 with some 80’s and a little bit of whatever it is that you invent now.
The decoration, as part of the environment of art and creation, is not immune to this trend. Now all look proudly at home the old machine to write that we never came to dominate, put our beloved Nintendo under TV or try to impress to the visits by honking a turntable.
But the thing does not go only rummage in the attic, large companies will have noticed the reef that opens before them and have some lines of appliances that meet new need is for consumers. It is also common to find furniture and furnishing accessories that are replicas of the last half century.
On the other hand, there are designs that were created a long time ago and remain fully in force today, as they may be furniture by Le Corbusier or Mies Van der Rohe, arc lamp or some appliances of Dieter Rams, to mention a few. In these cases, the term retro becomes little precise, the aesthetics of these objects is not the associated to the era in which were designed, but it might still qualify as ‘modern’.


After this brief reflection, we can affirm that when we refer to an object as retro, what we mean is that There is something in it that evokes past, either because the object itself was created then or because, despite being new, use the aesthetic of another era.