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Y2K Fashion Trends On The Catwalk

If there is one trend that encapsulates the moment, it’s all things millennial. Y2K fashion trends were still the dominating mood at London Fashion Week – and beyond in Milan and Paris. But how come, 22 years later, the mood of the early Naughties is still resonating on the catwalk?

It’s a generational thing. As nascent designers grow up, they take all their childhood influences and remix them in their work. There tends to be a 20-30 year gap between such a big trend redux. This is why the Sixties were a major influence on 1990s fashion, early millennial labels looked to the late Seventies and now the hottest new names are reminiscing on all things Y2K. 

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It proves that the old fashion rule that you should never wear a trend if you remember it the first time round, is truly dead. (Along with the adage to never mix navy and black – the chicest colour combo ever, surely?)

But why is Y2K fashion chiming with Gen Z in particular? Well, it was hella fun. And Gen Z, after two years in lockdown, deserve a party. With only Motarola flip phones at our sides back in the day, it was harder to document the good times so the Naughties were freer. That came through in the fashion. While the Seventies were the decade that taste forgot, Y2K is hot on their heels. In 2001, no-one cared if your outfit wasn’t perfectly Instagrammable, so the resurgence of all things Y2K is a clap-back at the current beige aesthetic sweeping your feeds. We admit, we are fans of an oat milk latte-coloured linen blazer at times, but too much good taste can actually be incredibly dull. In comparison, who wouldn’t want Swarovski crystals sprinkled over your party dress, a whale tail g-string purposefully sticking out from under your hipster jeans, a cacophony of floral ruffles on a top or a low-slung belt to set it all off? Fashion should be fun, and Y2K is letting us play with our style again.

The prevalence of this trend also has an accessibility angle… Online marketplaces make it easy to score authentic Y2K gems for Gen Z shoppers. Depop Trends and Category Manager Agustina Panzoni explains why so many sellers focus on the trend. “The 90’s/00’s Y2K aesthetic has been one of the most prevailingly popular categories, search terms and hashtags on Depop over the past few years. Trends tend to start emerging earlier on Depop, and we’ve seen this crossover at mass scale in the last 12 months, with a recent 62% spike in searches in July 2022. As a peer-to-peer marketplace, we have a constant supply and demand of people sourcing, listing and searching items with the hashtag #Y2K on Depop.”

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