Retro Resurgence: Why Vintage And Rockabilly Are So Hot Right Now

Kitsch is positively cool again and retro, vintage and rockabilly have made a huge comeback if popular, new free events like Queensland’s Kitsch in the Swich 2015 are anything to go by.

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Thousands of people from all over Australia are expected to flock to this year’s third annual vintage festival at the Ipswich Mall on Saturday, September 26 from 2-7pm. Ipswich is an urban centre in south-east Queensland, about 40km west of the Brisbane CBD.

Picture more than 250 cars lining the CBD, a traditional 1950’s beach, pinup parades, live rockabilly music, the Prom King and Queen Pageant, vintage and retro markets, swing dancing and bombshell babes galore and you get a good idea of what’s in store for this year’s Kitsch audience.

The one-day fiesta, part of the Ipswich Fashion Festival, will see thousands flock to the mall for a day of fashion and fun, with special guests including West Texas Crude, Miss Chrissy from the Lindy Charm School, Swing a Billy Ray, the Eastside Belles, Bonnie Rose Burlesque and Miss Katrina Lee all hitting the stage with live music, swing dancing and more.

retro, vintage, rockabilly

Local pinup babes and cool cats are invited to strut their stuff in the Prom King and Queen Pageant, where the winners of each category will win a vintage fashion shoot and the chance to appear in all Kitsch 2016 advertising and media. The Pinup Parades will feature retro, vintage and rockabilly fashions from local and visiting fashion specialists and designers, while the Pamper Parlour will be open all day to give visitors a touch of vintage va va voom with free make-up touch-ups throughout the event.

And this year’s Kitsch will also feature two new attractions: vintage photo booth Mavis the Caravan, via, will be on-site for free photos and the Brighton Beach ’53 pop-up will feature all of the traditional 1950s seaside treats – seaside donkey rides, a Punch and Judy puppet show, canvas deck chairs for visitors to relax in and a sand area.

Kitsch in the Swich 2015 is a huge national draw-card due to the fact that the whole retro, vintage and rockabilly market is exploding, says event organiser, Ipswich City Square marketing executive Rachel Vickary (pictured).

retro, vintage, rockabilly

“There are so many avid followers now and they all seem to travel big distances to attend various vintage events like ours,” Rachel says. “They also all seem to know each other and will see each other at different events.  There are even lifestyle vintage gurus who make a full-time living doing pinup shoots, workshops, hen’s parties, swing dancing nights and more. And there’s also been a resurgence of burlesque, with women of all ages, shapes and sizes learning the old art.

“I think all this is partly due to the fact that 1940s/50s fashion was all about curves and the female shape. Back then, the women were most universally agreed to be the sexiest – Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Jane Russell – were all voluptuous ladies with big busts, butts and curves. I think part of the attraction to the retro and rockabilly lifestyle is that women don’t feel as pressured to be thin in retro wear as they do in modern designs where you need to be a size 6 to wear the clothes. With retro and rockabilly, it’s possible for plus-size women to feel really sexy and pretty without the whole fat-shame thing.

“That time was also strongly influenced by music and a big step away from modern electronic music and metal. There’s been a big resurgence in swing dance music, blue grass and traditional rock in recent years, all of which have strong ties to classic car culture – think T-Birds from Grease. I’m constantly fascinated by this whole sub-culture.”

retro, vintage, rockabilly

For more information on Kitsch in the Swich 2015, visit

September 22, 2015

How To Tie And Style A Sarong

If you don’t have a sarong or two you are seriously missing out! Men and women throughout the tropics wear little else and once you get the hang of them you’ll understand the attraction. The fabric is cool and flowing, which is perfect for warm weather and provides flexibility to style them as dresses, short or long skirts, shorts, swimwear cover ups, scarfs, headbands and even turbans. Plus, packing a sarong or two into a suitcase can save travelers big bucks on excess luggage.

To add to the attraction, size isn’t a factor. The humble sarong suits any body shape. They are perfect if you’re pregnant or dieting because they adapt to whatever shape you are and breastfeeding mums can use them as a light throw over during feeding in public.

The main reason why people shy away from them is tying them. Unless you’ve been shown some sort of technique they can be a bit tricky. Additionally, there’s the fear that they will suddenly drop off in public leaving you exposed and stranded in your underwear! In reality, sarongs are actually a lot easier to tie and wear than many people anticipate. It won’t take you long to master and get creative, taking full advantage of their versatility.

Tying tips

sar1v1There are heaps of video on-line which will show you how to tie sarongs for various uses. So, instead of providing a step by step guide for each style, I’d like to provide the basics so you can tie them anyway you like and get inspired.

The easiest way to tie a traditional flat sarong is by using the material itself. The fabric is usually fine, so it twists and manipulates nicely. There’s no right way up either and the way you use it will depend on the size of the sarong and your body. If it’s too long just fold it. With a little more experience you can make shorts, mini skirts or dresses.

For basic use, imagine the sarong is a bath towel and position it as you would when you jump out of the shower and begin drying yourself. You should have hold of two ends, just like a towel. Position it at shoulder sar1v3or waist height behind you, depending on what you want to cover.

Bring together the two ends you have held and tie them in front of you or to the side. There will be excess fabric and the amount will depend on the sarong and your body size. Position this to suit your situation. For example, if it’s for a swimwear cover up you can let it be more revealing than you would for everyday use.

The image below will help you get a little more inspiration and show you the versatility of a single sarong.

Ways to style a sarong

A. The wrap skirt. B. Mini skirt. C. Wrap dress. D. Swim wear wrap. E. Mini dress. F. Halter dress. G. Shorts. H. Shirt



There’s also the option of tying your sarong with purpose made buckles (pictured). There’s a huge variety on offer or you can use your imagination, get creative and discover what works for you. Bangles are an option for some styles as well as adding  beads or long hanging accessories.

These purpose made buckles are perfect for use with tube sarongs. They are just as the name implies. Instead of being a traditional flat piece of fabric, the tube sarong is sewn so it resembles a tube (pictured). If you have a tube sarong, using a buckle can be a little easier than gathering the fabric to make a stead fast tie which tend to slip due to lack of fabric. You can also fold them in half to produce a shorter skirt or

Although tube sarongs are less versatile, they are still a very popular option for use away from the water. The attraction being that they tend to be less reveling. If you want to wear a traditional sarong away from the water and are deterred by the possibility of it blowing open, add a couple of large well placed safety pins to the inner side after tying it. This will hide the pins and keep your sarong in position.

Sarongs have also become a popular option for weddings in warmer climates. Prices start from around $25 and go up to around $200-$300. Regardless of the price, their versatility makes them worth every cent. They are addictive, so after purchasing your first one, don’t be surprised if you find yourself hunting for more!

Images via,,,

January 11, 2015