Four friends walking down the street. Picture taken from the back with some wearing a JanSport backpack.

5 Backpacks for Every Retro Core Aesthetic

Natalie Daniels Aug 24, 2023

Do you love a particular era or decade? While scientists haven’t figured out time travel yet, fashion is a cool way to peek back in time. And, with trends like TikTok’s retro core aesthetic flooding our feeds, there’s never been a better time to look to the past for a little style inspo. If you’re wondering which core aesthetic you are or just want to add some retro accessories to your look, we’ve got a lineup of backpacks you’ll love.


What is retro core aesthetic? 

The retro core aesthetic is a trend coming from TikTok that celebrates vintage or retro pieces worn in a modern way. It gives a nod to retro styles with designs inspired by the past. 

Since 1967, JanSport has created backpacks that act as a snapshot of that specific period. Whether you’re looking for the Y2K vibes of the 2000s or the free spirit adventurer mood of the 1970s, there’s a backpack for every decade.


Which core aesthetic are you?

Every decade, styles and trends change. We can see that in aspects of fashion—even backpacks. From the 1960s through to 2000s, which of the five decade-inspired backpacks will you pick? 


The 1960s: Floral Backpacks

JanSport first began in the late 1960s, as outdoor enthusiast Skip Yowell, engineer Murray Pletz, and seamstress Jan Lewis worked together to create a backpack that allowed them to “make their own adventure”. You’ll find the packs that started it all in JanSport's Heritage Collection

1967 was known as the ‘Summer of Love’. Here, the counterculture movement blossomed, filtering into music, art, and political and social activism. The term “flower power” cemented the late 1960s and early 1970s as young people pushed for environmentalism.

These ideals evolved into the current internet trend, “cottagecore.” With this love of nature, floral prints continue to dominate this aesthetic. If you’re looking for a backpack that fits your love of the environment and quiet rural life, look no further than these floral backpacks for your cottagecore aesthetic.


The 1970s: SuperBreak® 

In the 1970s, college students were looking for ways to carry all their books. That is until the students at University of Washington discovered JanSport ski and hike backpacks. While these were tailored for the great outdoors, the bags included enough space for all of their school essentials. These trail-turned-campus daybacks soon developed into the iconic SuperBreak®, finally earning its name in 1984.

Today, the SuperBreak® still includes water-repellent fabrics, lightweight material, but has been updated for all our tech needs with compartments for laptops and water bottles. Whether you’re gearing up to study, or ready to take a weekend adventure, the SuperBreak® is your retro core aesthetic go-to.


The 1980s: Neon Backpacks  

The 1980s was the age of neon, as young people craved cheery colors to mark a new decade. Bright tones ruled pop culture from “MTV” and Madonna to movies. Sweatbands, leg warmers, and leotards in endless bold colors were all the rage.

And, today neon and colorful backpacks are still going strong. The SuperBreak®, Right Pack, Granby, and Main Campus backpack all come in megawatt colors like lime neon, peach neon, blue neon, and bashful bouquet neon. So channel your inner ‘80s for your retro core aesthetic and stand out from the crowd.


The 1990s: Right Pack

With the popularity of the leather bottom packs of the 1970s, JanSport decided to recreate that solid style of the past, while incorporating the newness of the 1990s. This became known as the Right Pack

Today’s Right Pack features a modern design with styles inspired by its original creation. You’ll find warm, vibrant colors like blue dusk, yellow maize, and red tape. The Right Pack offers modern features like a laptop sleeve, organizer pockets, and much room inside. Get to class in a nostalgic style, or take a trip to the mountains with your ‘90s-inspired Right Pack.


The 2000s: Pink Backpacks

Welcome to the 2000s, where the Y2K aesthetic and Paris Hilton lead the scene. The turn of the century promoted aesthetics filled with futuristic looks with a retro flair. Colors like pinks, purples, greens, and blues ruled the decade. Even today, we see callbacks to the fashion of the Y2K era, with young people searching how to pull off the “pastel academia” look.

If you hope to blend in with the Y2K aesthetic, JanSport’s pink backpacks are the perfect choice. You’ll find styles from SuperBreak®, Right Pack, Main Campus, Big Student, and even a Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack. Don’t settle for one kind of pink. Pick between misty rose, begonia pink, peach simmer, and vintage pink. 


From floral print backpacks, the 1970s SuperBreak®, neon backpacks, the 1990s Right Pack, and pink backpacks, we’ve got the perfect pack for you to live out your retro core aesthetic dreams.

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