I have noticed that when I talk about Y2k fashion, often people don’t know what I’m on about. Even though it seems to be all over the internet at the moment. However this said, most people who know about it are going to have to have at least some remote interest in fashion. Plus I reckon that most of the people now sporting the outfits are going to be younger than those around at the time of era which the style resembles (early 2000s) who would have been old enough to know what was going on. But that is not really the point.
Rather that the models look young, and I mean very young. Also thin, also white, probably tall; you get the drill. But would it be reasonable to argue the Y2k trend is more so this way than past fashion fads?
What is Y2k?
Around the time, Y2k was used to describe a computer bug (known as the millennium bug), that was expected to happen as the year changed from 1999 to 2000. Now, Y2k relates to an era between the late 90s and early 00s; and is mostly associated with bubbly pop music, fashion, nostalgia (obviously) and technology. Here is a little mood board anyway…
So what’s wrong with Y2K?
From a personal point of view, I actually love at least most of the aesthetic and fashion (although I’m not too big on the low rise jeans).
Nonetheless, what most would associate with Y2K now, would be very different from how the culture really emerged. Because while we think of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, low rise jeans and or even cute cami tops which you would find on shein, a substantial number of people who had initially contributed to the culture haven’t been recognised as much as they deserve. For a start, many of the popular items that are now heavily associated with Y2K, were once associated with impoverished black American areas of the USA. Meanwhile the glittery accessories, bright hair and fur coats which are usually featured on white women, can be attributed to Lil Kim.
Is it a Good Outfit or is she just Skinny?
If I were to go on Pinterest and spend about 10 minutes looking at “outfit inspo”, then I could promise you that if I were to gain a pound (in money) every time I saw a small girl sporting an outfit that would look either bland or ridiculous on myself (no in-betweens), then I would be more than able to take a few days off work! Nonetheless, it is said the reason why models are so skinny, is so that attention is drawn to the outfit they are wearing, rather than their body. Yet as we scroll through looking for outfit inspiration, many of us are going to see the thin girls as the desirable body type. But surely, body image has always been an issue within the fashion industry, so what is so wrong with Y2K? Well, during this era, any body slightly larger than this ideal, would often be seen as “too big” (even if most would still describe it as thin). This ideal would often be referred to as the “heroic chic”, which involved “angular bone structures, pale skin and an extremely thin frame.” What’s more, is that many of the items of clothing were especially revealing, and because they were heavily featured on very small bodies, many who remembered the fashion from the time have actually raised concerns about how it will impact people’s body image!
Can we Reclaim it?
It is reasonable to argue that since 2000, the “body positivity movement” has come a long way. This has sent messages to girls and women to accept and embrace their flaws, and to dress how they would prefer as opposed to hiding their bodies. As a result, some women have began to feel slightly more confident in their own bodies, meanwhile there is probably more representation of a range of bodies now compared to in the past. Nevertheless, most would agree that there is still a considerable way to go, before women of all sizes can all really feel confident in their own bodies. And whilst there have been some plus and mid sized women choosing to wear more revealing Y2K clothing, it is also true that many women are concerned about embracing the trend. Furthermore, it would be important for the Y2K trend to be more inclusive toward people of colour and to acknowledge the origins of the era. Nonetheless, as it stands while there are people of colour embracing the trend at this moment, generally the style still strongly favors white people instead. Therefore, while all of us can choose to enjoy the fashion while embracing our own bodies, it is likely there will be a considerable time period before all of us can really enjoy general trends at ease.