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How to Profit From 90s Nostalgia

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

The other week I wrote to you about The New Nostalgia.

We’re seeing a huge surge in demand for yesterday’s fashions…

Partly it’s younger generations discovering the joys of old music, film, TV and fashion… with a boom in vinyl, cassettes and retro video consoles.

But it’s also people in their 40s, 50s and 60s going dewy eyed over films like Saltburn and TV shows like One Day…. People who want to remember the ‘good old days’ of the 1980s and 1990s.

As I explained, there’s money to be made here…

From flipping old records, cassettes and video games…

To using nostalgic images and slogans on your marketing and content.

But today I want to give you one of the quickest and easiest ways you could potentially tap into nostalgia.

You don’t need to set up a business…

You don’t need to find rare records or collectables…

You don’t need to stump up huge amounts of cash for inventory.

And you don’t need to have special skills in design, copywriting or marketing.

This can all be set up quickly and easily on a couple of platforms and then set to run virtually on autopilot without you even needing to touch the products you sell.

Ready? Here is in a nutshell.

How to Profit from Nostalgic T-Shirts

We’re seeing a trend among young people right now for 90s fashions – baggy jeans, crop tops, scrunchies, flannel-shirts and grunge rocker wear.

But there’s item of clothing that never really goes out of fashion – the humble t-shirt.

The global market for custom t-shirt industry is expected to surpass $10 billion by 2025, according to Shopify.

What’s great about t-shirts is that they are a blank canvas.

You can embellish them with any images or slogans that you like.

So why not create your own nostalgic t-shirts?

The 90s is a great place to start – or even the early 2000s, to ride on the back of Saltburn’s popularity and the return to the charts of Sophie Ellis Baxtor’s Murder on the Dancefloor.

You could try humour… quotes… slogans… old phrases and sayings…

And they’re really easy to create.

  • Using AI tools like Chat GPT, you can get ideas for text and images generated for you.
  • Using software like Canva you can make professional looking designs really easily with pre-prepared templates.
  • Using print on demand services you can get your products made and shipped for you.
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When you have a product ready, you can use eCommerce platforms like Etsy to find customers and make sales. Or dedicated t-shirt platforms like these:

Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

How to Use AI to Find Nostalgia Niches

You need to start with your customer and think about what kind of nostalgia will appeal to them.

That means thinking about their age and what kind of cultural references will trigger emotions and memories.

Next, go to Chat GPT and try this prompt:

➡️Act as my Etsy product development expert. I want to produce a range of t-shirts that trigger nostalgia for the mid 90s (1992-1998) in the UK. Please come up with suggestions.”

It might suggest the following:

  1. Britpop Band Tributes – shirts featuring stylized artwork or iconic lyrics from seminal Britpop bands like Oasis, Blur, Pulp, and The Verve. Britpop was a defining aspect of the ’90s UK music scene, and tapping into this could capture the essence of the era.
  2. Cool Britannia – Capitalize on the “Cool Britannia” phase, which characterized the mid-90s in the UK, symbolizing the country’s cultural renaissance in art, music, and fashion. Shirts could feature Union Jack motifs, reimagined in the styles of the time, or slogans that capture the optimism of the era.
  3. Iconic TV Shows and Characters. The ’90s saw some iconic British TV shows. Consider designs that feature characters or quotes from shows like “Absolutely Fabulous,” “The Fast Show,” “Father Ted,” or even children’s shows like “The Demon Headmaster” and “Teletubbies” for a playful, nostalgic vibe.
  4. Fashion Trend The mid-90s had distinctive fashion trends, including the rave scene and streetwear influenced by American hip hop culture. T-shirts could feature neon colors, geometric patterns, or references to iconic fashion items like bucket hats and Adidas Gazelles.
  5. Football Culture/ The ’90s was a golden era for English football, marked by memorable moments and players. Designs could celebrate famous footballers of the time, legendary matches, or iconic kits from the era.
  6. Tech Nostalgia. Pay homage to the early days of the internet and home computing. Designs could feature nostalgic references to dial-up internet, early websites, or vintage video games that were popular in the UK during the mid-90s.
  7. Retro Advertisements and Snacks. Vintage adverts, snacks, and drinks that were popular in the ’90s could inspire some quirky and nostalgic designs. Think of iconic brands and products that defined snack time for ’90s kids.
  8. Music and Cultural Festivals. The ’90s were rife with music festivals and cultural events that left a lasting impact on attendees. T-shirts featuring stylized versions of festival posters or referencing significant cultural events could evoke strong nostalgic feelings.
  9. Slang and Catchphrases. Incorporate ’90s slang and catchphrases into your designs. Phrases that were part of the everyday vernacular can instantly transport someone back in time.
  10. Iconic Locations and Nightlife. Celebrate famous venues, clubs, or locations that were the heart of the ’90s social scene. Think of the Hacienda in Manchester or the iconic London clubs and bars that defined an era of music and youth culture.

Ask ChatGPT to focus in on one of these niches.

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Eg. “Let’s focus on 9. Come up with 20 suggestions.”

And you might get ideas like…

  1. “Mad for It” – Celebrating the Madchester scene and general ’90s enthusiasm.
  2. “Wannabe” – A nod to the Spice Girls’ debut hit and ’90s aspirations.
  3. “You’re Twistin’ My Melon, Man!” – Iconic Happy Mondays reference.
  4. “Alrighty Then!” – Although from Jim Carrey’s “Ace Ventura,” this phrase was ubiquitous in the UK.
  5. “It’s Coming Home” – From the iconic football anthem, capturing the spirit of Euro ’96.
  6. “Bothered?” – Catherine Tate’s catchphrase, though late ’90s/early 2000s, it resonates with the tail end of the era.
  7. “Nice One, Bruv!” – A phrase that encapsulates the camaraderie of the era.

You can do this for all the suggestions in turn, picking the ones you like best. Remember, you can always ask Chat GPT for more, or give it an extra instruction to narrow it down.

Now it’s time to make your design.

How to Make Your T-Shirt Designs

Your options are:

  1. Create the design yourself

You can use Canva to find t-shirt templates for your design project. It offers a wide range of customisable t-shirt templates, including those that could fit a ’90s nostalgia theme.

Sign up here

Use the search bar to look for “t-shirt templates.” You can also use keywords related to your specific theme, such as “vintage,” “retro,” or even more specific ’90s-related terms to narrow down your search.

After selecting a template, Canva allows you to modify text, colours, and graphics. You can upload your own images or use Canva’s extensive library of graphics and fonts to capture the ’90s aesthetic accurately.

  1. Get someone else to create the designs for you
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You can find qualified t-shirt designers on sites like – for instance, here’s a list of their t-shirt designers:  If you like someone, check out their previous work and portfolio, then contact them to hire them.

Once you have your designs, your need to get some mockup images made so your customers can see the t-shirt will look like.

Next up, I recommend you join Printify

They offer a custom print on demand t-shirt service where they can ship the product directly to your customers.

The big benefit is, you can link this to an Etsy shop, which can act as your eCommerce platform.

When you do this, the process becomes virtually automated.

As soon as Etsy gets an order via your shop, it connects to Printify, who make and fulfil your order.

So all you need to do is focus on a good listing, and the rest happens without you lifting a finger!

And of course, nostalgic t-shirts are just one idea – you could tap into all kinds of niches, fads, crazes and past-times.

The possibilities are limitless with this one.

What do you think? Let me know…

Rave on…

PS: If you want to find out more about how you can use AI to create amazing images you can sell, check out PIXEL PROFITS.


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