Newtro, Freshness in Familiarity
Newtro, Freshness in Familiarity
  • Jung Yeon-wook
  • 승인 2019.03.22 16:21
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Have you heard of the word newtro? These days, it is easy to have an access to newtro in various ways, such as café or fashion. What is newtro? ST introduces the newtro culture. ...........................................................Ed


Last October, Bohemian Rhapsody , a movie about the famous British rock band Queen,
became popular right after its release, and now it holds a record for having 9,811,589 viewers.
CGV research center analyzed that the reason for the success of Bohemian Rhapsody is fandom
culture of the older generation who listened Queen’s music in their schooldays. In other words, the
center argued the reson for it is retro. To tell the conclusion first, the argument could be both right
and wrong because Queen is a band that had a huge influence on the older generation in the 1970s
and 1980s, and it was enough to attract people’s attention. However, according to the statistics released by CGV, the highest
proportion of booking of Bohemian Rhapsody is 20s at 32.3%, while its second highest proportion is 30s at 30.2%. In other
words, people in their 20s and 30s watched and enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody rather than the older generation. Then, why
is the *millennial generation so enthusiastic about the retro movie that the older generation could relate to because of their
childhood? It is because of newtro that we are currently dealing with.
*Millennial generation: People who were born after the 1970s.


Newtro is a neologism that combines the words “new” and “retro,” and it refers to the tendency
to reinterpret and enjoy the culture of the past through the freshness of something that has not been
experienced yet. Newtro is different from retro in that the whole generation enjoys the old fashion in a
new way. It is based on analog, which reflects the modern people’s desire to escape from digital fatigue.
With the development of modern technology, newtro will provide a variety of audiovisual pleasure
to people, as well as a convenient form of communication among them. Ironically, people got bored
and tired too quickly despite the highly-developed technology and digital facilities. As a result, people
looked for something more interesting, and finally they found newtro that gave them a freshness which they had not experienced.
For this reason, newtro is an attraction for the millennial generation who are always looking for a new motivation.


With the recent popularity of Bohemian Rhapsody, people can easily access to newtro in a variety of ways. The fields that people
can find newtro are extensive, including fashion, music, and leisure, so they are able to experience it everywhere in their daily lives.
First, we will deal with the field of music. Remake refers to reinterpreting the past masterpieces. Although remake songs have
existed steadily over the past few decades, people’s inclination toward remake songs have changed dramatically in recent years. IU’s
remake album Flower Bookmark is a prime example of newtro music. As soon as the
album was released, Flower Bookmark has been loved by countless people for a very
long time. There was even a follow-up album titled Flower Bookmark 2. In addition,
the retro style project group Caleb Five, which is formed by five Korean comedians
last year, gained huge popularity. It shows that people enjoy newtro music more and
more these days. By listening to newtro music, the older generation can recall the time
they listened to songs as a child, whereas the millennial generation can experience a
new culture.


Newtro can be found not only in music, but also in fashion. As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.” People go out to shop for clothes in the past that are rustic. One example is a collaboration between Gompyo flour and 4XR. Daehan Flour, the company of Gompyo flour, opened its flagship store “Gompyo Retro
House” in October 2018 for rebranding. Among the various products in the flagship store, the most visible product is the T-shirt that exactly reproduced the Gompyo flour design. 4XR reinterpreted the bear, which is the trademark of Gompyo, and the yellow and green colors, which are the representative colors of 4XR on the T-shirt. Moreover, the collaboration between GAS WHAL oral liquid, which is well known for its fan shape, and the global fashion brand GUESS is also an example of newtro fashion. The millennial generation might feel fresh about the collaboration between these two companies, which are Dong-hwa pharmaceutical company and international brand GUESS, whereas the older generation might feel friendly and familiar with GAS WHAL oral liquid considering it is a brand over 120 years old. The more surprising fact is that both of the previously introduced collaboration products have been sold out. Therefore, those examples show how much influence newtro has on people living in modern society.


Newtro can be easily found in leisure as well. Although refined or
charming cafes were popular on Instagram a few years ago, retro cafes are
attracting the attention of more people these days. “Huida” is a cafe located
in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu. The reason why this cafe is famous is because
of its unique interior design. Huida is basically based on wooden interior, and there are paper calendars and striking clocks, which most people could
find at their grandmother’s house when they were young, here and there in the cafe. In fact, those items were actually brought from the owner’s grandmother’s house. They serve drinks in glass bottles similar to old milk bottles. People visit the cafe to feel familiar as if they have come to their grandmother’s house, and to feel fresh because of those retro items combined with the modern cafe. Freshness in familiarity, this is the reason why people are so excited about newtro.


People can find so many newtro cultures in a variety of fields in everyday life. They would be delighted to welcome such culture
into their daily lives. It will also serve as an opportunity for them to understand about the culture of the older generation, including
their parents’ generation, the kinds of food they have eaten, and the kinds of clothes they have worn during their time. In this sense,
newtro plays a role as a bridge between the older and the millennial generation. If we are able to understand each other by newtro, as
well as enjoy and share the culture with each other, we might feel that the generation gap could be bridged.

Jung Yeon-wook[Web Editor]


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