The Return of Y2K Fashion
By: Iman Taouil
“Y2K” is an abbreviation that refers to the year 2000 and often to the clothing style of that era. A time before we banished wraparound sunglasses and low-rise jeans from our wardrobes.
Fashion, as we know, is cyclical. Sometimes, trends that we think of as long-forgotten resurface, more or less modified from their original forms. Y2K style is campy, kitschy, and sometimes tacky. It is marked by both the streets’ and the luxury brands’ influence.
As reluctant as some people may be, Y2K has slowly but surely, been making a comeback for a while now. Bella Hadid has been sporting Dior’s Saddle bag, a reinvention of the early 2000s original one, since 2018.
Gucci and others have been making logo mania great again. Juicy Couture tracksuits came back. Wearing multiple colored barrettes and hairpins is in again. People are wearing low-rise jeans and even music has been marked by this nostalgia. Normani’s Motivation, for example, came out with a music video heavily influenced by Y2K trends.
The return of Y2K fashion, despite its tackiness, could be explained by several things. First, fashion trends to be cyclical. With the popularity of 90s fashion that we’ve seen over the past few years, it may only be logical that we move on to the early 2000’s next.
Second, it could be explained by the rise of thrifting. According to analytics firm GlobalData, the thrifting market has grown 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years. It only makes sense that the more we thrift, the more likely we are to bring back older eras.
While Y2K style didn’t make a loud, all-at-once comeback, it has been subtly reintroduced with trends and accessories popping up in stores, in the streets, and in our Instagram feeds without much resistance. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the Y2K trends that have made their way back into our lives.
The return of the Dior Saddle bag is a clear testimony that the small, shoulder bags are back. The Saddle bag was created by John Galliano in 1999 when he was the artistic director for Dior. The most famous version of the purse, shaped like a bike’s saddle (or like a liver, depending on your interpretation) is only large enough to hold a phone, keys, and a few other small essentials. 2000’s it girl Paris Hilton and Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw helped make this trend popular back in the day. The bad made a big return for Dior’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection and has since been seen on the arms of everyone from Bella Hadid or K-pop star CL.
Amongst all the Dior Saddle bag’s variations, from denim to leather, one of them is printed with the Dior monogram all over it, evidence that the logomania of the early 2000s has also been making a grand comeback. Gucci and Fendi are among the brands that have been splattering their logos all over their accessories. Monograms are all over our Instagram discover pages. This is partly because, in the era of social media, the brands who chose to see the Internet as a tool tend to design their collections under the prism of social media. Logos and monograms have viral potential, they’re “aesthetically pleasing,” and easily shared. This trend also coincides with the rise of the Internet in the early 2000s.
The very tiny sunglasses, sometimes referred to as Matrix sunglasses, have also been making their way back into our wardrobes. They’re less about actually shielding one’s eyes from the sun than they are about style. Some variations of this accessory hardly do their job of sun protection and are instead worn low on the nose bridge. Tiny sunglasses were spotted on runways as well as in the streets in multiple shapes— round, rectangular, triangular, or even in flames shapes. Whether you go with or without frames, plainly black or colored, the only rule is to have them as tiny as possible.
Mesh tops have been on big fast fashion stores’ racks and shelves this year and are also a strength coming straight from the early 2000s. As they are transparent, they are mostly worn over a camisole or just a bra for the most daring ones. The fun about mesh tops resides in the fact that it allows you to play with layers. With patterns and motifs or black, it can spice up an outfit by being worn underneath a shirt and letting it peek by popping the collar buttons open, or under a t-shirt with the sleeves showing, or with dungarees.