Creativity, where art thou?

What’s old is new again, and then likely will be old and then new again sometime in the future. Vintage is cool. Sporting vintage apparel is instant indie cred and antique furniture creates an unquestionable sense of style. Who needs new trends or original ideas when you can simply rehash what has already been done? It’s not only actual old stuff that’s hip, but vintage-styled pieces as well. But is this just a sign that every thought, that could be thought, has been thought? Now that may be a bit wordy. For all the English majors that cringed just now, I ask that you take a minute to swallow that sentence for a moment and ride this wave with me a little longer.

Retro appliances are a hot trend. It’s either stainless steel or retro for that ultra hip look. The age of Mad Men has invaded our interiors. Bold statement chairs are an important piece for those who follow design trends and have cash to burn. For the rest of us, the retro-style clock radio will have to do for now.

Fun and flirty books are also using pop art inspired illustrations right out of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Even classic books are being re-done as the ultimate throwback, see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Dacre Stoker’s sequel to Dracula. Why bother with fresh ideas when you can use someone else’s and throw in a few zombies, or just use some extrapolation skills, to make some coin? Who’s going to call you on it?

Vintage clothing and jewellery litters sites like the well-known online shopping center or a smaller site like People flock to their computers looking for the latest trends and great finds. Others of us dig through piles at a local thrift store hunting for that perfect piece to make others squeal with envy at our wardrobe. Part of the vintage craze is the hunt. Whether it’s jewellery or a piece of furniture, we love talking about how we tracked it down. How we fought off some other antique enthusiast and our plans to bring it in next time The Antiques Roadshow comes through our hometown.

So what are we clinging to? Why are we holding so tightly to what was? A theory I have, is baby boomers. Really this group are the answer to most movements, but as the “over the hill” population rises, so too does a desperation to restore what once was. It’s a midlife crisis everyone gets to experience as this group clings to any piece of their younger self that they can find. Perhaps our generation has inherited this sense of nostalgia. This, along with the attraction to indie style that is so closely connected with vintage flare causes all things old to be new again.

Whatever the case is, baby boomers or indie kids, the fact remains that the rehashing of old ideas demonstrates an overall lack of creativity in our culture. Genuinely unique and original ideas are an endangered species I wish PETA would fight for. Vintage, retro and antique is great. An appreciation for the past is important, but it leaves me lusting for original ideas. I may just be missing the bus, but all I see is sequels, prequels and remakes in any medium.