The fashion industry is cyclical, and old trends are constantly being recycled and rethought in new and different ways. Most recently, the pandemic has had many of us thinking nostalgically of times gone by when things seemed to feel so much less complicated. This yearning for a seemingly simpler and brighter past saw the revival of classic Y2K trends like beaded jewellery, yoga pants, claw clips, cargo pants, bucket hats and trucker caps. Enterprising young designers also turned to their local op shops to discover bargain gems that could be turned into fashion accessories – such as iPod Mini hair clips. But what has all this to do with technology?

Technology as a fashion statement

For most of us, technology is an intrinsic part of our lives. It makes things easier and more convenient in a variety of different ways. And with devices like smart phones considered a necessary part of our day-to-day, it stands to reason that you need a device that suits your lifestyle but also reflects your own unique personality. Today, the phone you own is also an expression of your personal identity.

With the fashion industry turning its eye towards the styles of the late ‘90s and early aughties, it makes sense that the popular tech of the day is also seeing a bit of a comeback – from flip phones to Tamagotchis.

Retro trends in technology

These are just some of the retro technology trends in Australia that have had a recent revival.

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

The classic flip phone is officially back in a big way. Samsung has truly taken the neo-retro clamshell design and run with it when it comes to the Galaxy Z Flip3. However, there are a few unmissable details about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 that set it apart from the flip phones of the day as well as the current competition.

The most obvious difference between the Galaxy Z Flip3 and the original flip phones is that this is a smartphone in every sense of the word. The convenient clamshell design means it can easily fold up and fit in your pocket or your bag; but when unfolded, you’re presented with a full touchscreen that offers a seriously smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Then of course there’s the front display, so even when your phone is flipped close, you can still view and interact with notifications on the 1.9” cover screen display.  Plus, with a 10MP front camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera and wide-angle camera, you can capture truly stunning photos day or night. Forget the grainy, indiscernible photos of the original flip phones – the Galaxy Z Flip3 allows you to take high quality videos and photos, and its flip phone design means you have a built-in tripod at the ready.

2. Wired headphones

For a while there, it seemed as if everything was going wireless. From cordless vacuum cleaners to wireless headphones, technology without cables made life invariably easier. However, the biggest downside to wireless technology is the fact that you need to remember to charge it. That said, it seems that wired headphones have come back for a completely different reason other than convenience – “It” girls like Bella Hadid make them look effortlessly cool, and have successfully turned them into the new must-have accessory. Some have even argued that wired headphones and earbuds never actually went out of style.

3. Instant cameras

Despite the incredible capabilities of smartphones (or maybe as a direct counterpoint), instant cameras seem to be the retro tech that just won’t quit. Even though the first Polaroid company no longer exists in its original form, a whole new fanbase now exists that have fallen in love with the retro charm and fun of instant cameras.

4. Vinyl records and cassette tapes

Did you know that vinyl records now outsell CDs in the United States? While there are those who never gave up on vinyl, crate digging has become a favourite pastime for the younger music fans of today, too. And with new albums from artists like Taylor Swift, Adele, Olivia Rodrigo and Harry Styles topping vinyl sales lists, it’s not just about finding out-of-print gems; it’s also about the ritual of placing your record on the turntable, reverently setting the needle down and taking the time out to truly listen to the music.

Then we have cassette tapes. This is kind of a strange resurgence, as cassette tapes have never been superior in quality to vinyl or CDs. And there was always the risk that your favourite cassette could suddenly be chewed up and ruined by your Walkman or boombox. But that hasn’t stopped artists like Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa releasing new music on cassette, and fans have been quick to grab their own copies. Again, the revival of the cassette seems to have less to do with convenience and sound quality than it does a kind of nostalgic enjoyment. Cassette tapes are the original mix tape, and there’s something special about taking the time to discerningly craft your own unique playlist, rather than selecting songs suggested by the Spotify algorithm.

5. Retro games

If you were a kid growing up in the late ‘90s, chances are you owned a Tamagotchi. These virtual pets ruled the lives of ‘90s kids between 1996 and the early aughts, demanding that we care for them, feed them and play with them or else they’d die a virtual death – and you’d have to restart all over again. Now, Tamagotchis have made a comeback, along with Nintendo’s classic hand-held Game & Watch and a rising demand for refurbished Gameboys. In the age of virtual and augmented reality, it’s incredible to think that these decades-old games have seen such a spike in popularity. But like the other things on our list, it seems like there’s an everlasting, simple yet magnetic charm about less complex forms of entertainment in the digital age.

The future of technology trends in Australia

As technology continues to influence our lifestyles, and our lifestyles influence new technology, what new tech trends are around the corner? Imagining the ‘next big thing’ in technological breakthroughs is exciting. But to get a better idea of what the future of technology looks like, maybe all we need to do is look to the past.

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Chloe Baird


Chloe Baird,

With a background in tech and travel, Chloe is an experienced copywriter who is passionate about creating engaging and dynamic content that will teach her audience something new.