The Resurgence of Y2K


Michael Barera

An evolution of women’s fashion from the early 1900s. Features in the Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas. Photo by Michael Barera is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

 Trade in Nike tech for Juicy Couture; t-shirts for crop tops, because Y2k fashion is making a severe comeback. In recent years, 2000s fashion has been making its rounds back on the clothing scene, and the evidence is clear, especially in gen z. With publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar acknowledging the comeback, it seems like it’s here to stay. 

This decade’s clothing trend has already happened before as seen with the 80s. Popular Media such as ‘Stranger Things’ have been credited for bringing 80s fashion back and this same phenomenon is happening again with the 2000s. Former fashion design teacher, Donna Davis, says that this change was inevitable.  

“All fashion is cyclical and it was really just the 2000s turn. We previously had a comeback of 90s fashion. It’s hard to find new things because we tend to recycle everything. TV, shows, movies, you know it’s like let’s just redo that,” said Davis. 

Fashion today could be described as very diverse, which may make it hard to define what “2020’s” fashion means. Other eras seem to have very definite descriptions of what people at the time dressed like, but now it appears that there is a mix of everything. Junior, Mozli Partida, thinks that various styles contribute to what “2020’s” fashion is. 

“Everyone has different aesthetics and styles nowadays so I feel like there is no permanent definition to what 2020’s fashion looks like. Also the decade kinda just started so there is still time to see. Overall I would say that 2020’s fashion is a mix of different styles whether it be grunge or a Lululemon kind of style,” said Partida. 

Many schools throughout the country have dress-up weeks, and one dress-up theme that seems to be very popular is ‘Throwback Day’. If this tradition continues in the next 20-30 years, perhaps a throwback day for the 2020s could pop up. Since 2020s fashion can be difficult to define, it may be hard to visualize just what that day would look like. Or what people will say about fashion now many years down the road. Junior, Emelie Sarpong, says that people will think 2020s fashion was very versatile. 

“These days people are either wearing sweats with crocs, or leggings and a tank top, or mom jeans with a top, so it’s all very different. The people in the future will just have to make an opinion based on which style they choose to focus on, but all in all, I feel like they will think that 2020’s fashion was kinda boring,” stated Sarpong. 

According to L’OFFICIEL USA, “Gen z finds comfort in the not-too-distant styles of the early 2000s”. This statement could be due to exposure to mediums where Y2k fashion is at the forefront, such as social media or reality shows such as “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, whose old 2000s episodes reruns can be seen on TV. Since  Gen Z  is seeing these trends in real-time, it may be no surprise that they gain fashion inspiration from it. Junior, Jaylene Nyarko, believes that y2k is so popular because it’s everywhere.

“I think y2k fashion is coming back because you see it everywhere you go. Like Tiktok, or if you go to the store, the outfits they put on the mannequin look like something someone would’ve worn in 2003 or something. But besides that, 2000s fashion is just cute in general. Definitely better than what the early 2010s had going on,” said Nyarko.

The resurgence of this style may lead to concern considering the societal norms surrounding body positivity at the time. It was very common to see body shaming jokes in 2000s movies such as ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and ‘Love Actually’, which were out there for young impressionable people to see. In today’s society, however, body positivity is a big social movement, with brands such as ‘Victoria’s Secret’ revamping many parts of their brand to appeal to women of all shapes and sizes. Teacher, Ivonne Want, believes that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to this aspect.

“I don’t think that just because a style comes back necessarily people are going to follow the body trend as well. You can wear a style without you having to be, you know, skin and bones and look good in it,” explained Want. 

For the older generations, seeing the styles they wore as young people may create a sense of deja vu, but for the newer generations, it’s a new style that they can immerse themselves in. Despite this, the blast from the past shows how fashion can connect people of all ages.