The Rise of Retro
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The Rise of Retro

Have you noticed that retro is the new cool? Even in the innovations field, it seems like looking back is the new looking forward – maybe one day, black will be the new black again.

While the core technologies at the heart of these inventions are, of course, a product of the digital space age, the styles are regressing to retro. Even in the world of cell phones- where it used to be a matter of smaller is better- it’s become socially acceptable again to have a bigger phone (and yes, that’s tongue in cheek if you were wondering).

What sparked this trip down retro lane this morning? I had to replace an airless paint sprayer last weekend. The airless paint sprayer I chose has been worked over by an advertising team to give it cool retro styling. I mean, come on- it’s an airless paint sprayer. It doesn’t need to be pretty. On a slightly more relevant note, did you know that the paint sprayer’s humble fore-bearer, the pain roller, is in fact a Canadian innovation? The brainchild of Norman Breakey, it was, alas, another victim to the vagaries of patent law- but a Canadian invention none the less. And while we like to keep it cutting edge around here, never forget that there was a time when the ability to smear pain on rapidly was cutting edge- so novel an idea, in fact, that the paint roller is a top-class Sci-Fi invention in one of E.E. Doc Smith’s classic novels.

Technology’s not the only thing getting an overhaul of retro whimsy. Obviously, fashion has always been a victim to the latest fads, but even basic household appliances have fallen to the trend. Today, you can’t even hunt for the best kitchen faucets without having to stop and consider if the models you’ve chosen are fashionable enough for your house. Gone are the days of simple form and function – today’s household appliances have to coordinate, match and enhance your kitchen setting. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this journey to the center of combining style and usability.

Remember, technology may progress but fashion is a fickle friend. Trying to keep up with the fluctuations in style and trend is considerably harder even then keeping abreast of the increasing number of technological innovations available on the market. At the end of the day, it’s probably a safer [and cheaper] bet to play to your own tastes and needs first, and let quality underlying technological innovation carry you forward- even if that means working with the chicest of the choice airless paint sprayer just because it’s perfect for your needs.