Do you ever scroll through social media and see something that reminds you of your childhood? Are you engulfed by a wave of memories that take you back to a better time when life was just a bit simpler? That, my friends, is nostalgia.

Now, do you ever watch TV and see one of those commercials that show your favorite Backstreet Boys hit or better yet, your favorite childhood game? That is what we call some kick-ass nostalgia marketing.

As each generation gets older, they become more inclined to get that little heart pull every time they see something that reminds them of their past.

Whether it’s a show, a song, or a movie, using nostalgia as a marketing tactic is a pretty genius way of creating that emotional connection between people and objects. I mean, who wouldn’t be more attentive to a brand that reminds them of their childhood?

Today, we’re going to take a trip down memory lane and talk about how you can use nostalgia marketing to sell more apparel.

But How Exactly Do Brands Use Nostalgia as a Marketing Tactic?

Nostalgia marketing is the strategic use of nostalgic images, themes, and references to connect with an audience on an emotional level. This strategy taps into sentimental feelings to create a strong connection with a product or brand.

When done right, nostalgia marketing will transport your customers back to a simpler time. It can also help create a sense of community and connection with other people who share the same positive memories.

There are also cases of younger generations feeling nostalgic towards times like the 70s and 80s—even though they weren’t alive to experience those generations firsthand.

Sometimes, youngsters connect those times to special people, such as their parents or even their grandparents. It’s essential to keep in mind that nostalgia marketing can be effective for everyone, regardless of age. The key is to nail down your target audience, messaging, and the symbols you plan to use to create the feeling of nostalgia.

However, it’s important to note that nostalgia marketing is not about simply regurgitating old advertising campaigns or rehashing past successes. To be effective, nostalgia marketing must be carefully crafted and relevant to today’s consumers.

What Does Nostalgia Look Like for the Apparel Industry?

What better way to evoke positive emotions than with some good ol’ fashioned apparel?

Clothing is one of the most personal things we own. Many times, our favorite t-shirts hold memories and feelings of their own. That’s why using apparel in nostalgia marketing can be so effective.

When people see clothing that reminds them of their youth, it can trigger many happy memories.

Maybe it’s the shirt you wore on your first date or the varsity jacket you had in high school.

Nostalgia can transport you back to a simpler time when you didn’t have to worry about bills, work, or any of the other stresses of adulthood.

How You Can Leverage the Power of the Past for Your Brand

Incorporating nostalgic elements into your custom apparel can create a feeling of warmth and familiarity that your customers will love. This can be a great selling point. Here are a few tips on successfully using nostalgia marketing in your custom apparel business.

Use Vintage-Inspired Prints

A great way to add a touch of nostalgia to your custom apparel is by using vintage-inspired prints. Whether you go for classic paisley or retro floral, incorporating vintage prints into your designs will give them a nostalgic feel.

Stick To Old-School Fonts

Old-school fonts can also help to create a sense of nostalgia. Here are a few of our recommendations for each generation:

*When you decide on a font, make sure you acquire the correct license to use it for your custom apparel. Licenses vary—so read the fine print.

darth vader

Use Old Slogans To Your Advantage

Another great way to evoke nostalgia in custom apparel is to use nostalgic slogans. (Ex. “Kowabunga” or even “I am your father.”)

color choice

Pay Attention To Color Choice

When it comes to a nostalgic vibe, muted colors are always a good choice. Think about soft pinks, powder blues, and lemon yellows. These gentle hues will help to create a feeling of nostalgia.

If you’re targeting baby boomers, you could use colors and patterns that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Or if you’re targeting millennials, you could use colors and patterns that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Little details go a long way when you’re aiming to create a nostalgic feeling.

Washed Out Prints

Whenever you see someone on the street with an old-school band shirt, the print is typically washed out. When the shirt is made, the print has been created that way on purpose. That washed out design gives the shirt a vintage feeling, making it perfect for nostalgia marketing.


Burnout is a form of specialty screen printing that effectively creates a vintage look. (See above)

Discharge screen printing is also an excellent technique for giving your designs a distressed appearance. A vintage look and a soft hand feel make the perfect combination for creating a feeling of nostalgia with your custom apparel.

Ready to Give Your Next Custom Apparel Order a Blast From the Past?

If you’re looking to get custom apparel that evokes that nostalgic feeling, planning is vital. Think about which memory you want to tap into. Also, think about how you’ll successfully pull off creating that emotional connection. Will it be through color, print, or creating a washed out, vintage look?

Finally, you will need the right custom apparel partner. You want to work with an expert manufacturer who will listen to you and get to know your goals for the project.

You’ll also want to make sure you have the opportunity to review pre-production layouts before your order goes into production so you can make sure your order will turn out perfectly.

That’s where Scrappy comes in. We’ll listen to your wants, needs, and deepest desires. We’ll respect your creative ideas and make sure every detail of your project aligns with what you’re looking for.

Our Brand Building Process (BBP) is the proprietary system we use to make sure we:

  • Provide the best recommendations for your project
  • Confirm that all details are correct before putting your order into production
  • Deliver your order to your doorstep for free—on time, every single time

Let’s Give Your Next Apparel Order a Touch of Nostalgia!

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