Vintage and retro fashion are both concerned with reviving cuts, silhouettes, trends and looks from the past. There is, however, an important distinction to be made between the two, and this concerns the time at which individual items were made. The term ‘vintage’ typically refers to pieces manufactured in the past, with >20 years ago being the gold standard for something to qualify within that category. Retro fashion, by contrast, is that which makes reference to earlier fashions but is actually made in the present.
Trend cycling and reinterpretation are closely involved in how vintage and retro manifest within contemporary fashion, including as influences on catwalk and street fashion. For example, in recent years, a spate of looks influenced by trends from the mid-1990s have appeared in high-end collections, establishing the revival of certain trends from that period reinvented through a late-2010s lens. This could be influenced by the availability of pieces from the mid-90s in vintage stores, as those items move into qualifying as vintage. In turn, this inspires to designers to create new items with this retro influence.