The latest trend is Y2K attire. Gen Z is also fond of it.
First came the death of skinny jeans. Then, the revival of cargo pants, halter tops, and baby tees.
If there’s one thing retailers can agree on, it’s that Gen Z is hot for early 2000s fashion trends that are now growing in popularity.
College interns and young workers wear wide-leg slacks to the office. The claw clip, a retro hair staple, is back. Like mesh tops, mini skirts, and lots of colorful dresses that can make customers look like they stepped out of a Disney Channel show from 2004.
Fueled by social media platforms including TikTok, the so-called Y2K phenomenon has resurfaced as users began attending parties and going out after the pandemic lockdown. What started as hair accessories like butterfly clips and the comeback of straight-leg jeans has spread to all denim garments, cargo and flare pants, and everything shiny.
New Yorker trends analyst Casey Lewis has noted so many micro-trends over the past few years — often tagged with the suffix “core” — that she’s created a newsletter about them.
Think “Barbiecore” and “mermaidcore,” reminiscent of hot pink Metal Inc.’s Barbie doll or sheer material with ocean-like colors and sequins. There’s also the “Beach Granddaughter,” a youthful update that evolved from the “Beach Grandma” trend featuring oversized cardigans and linen sets.
“Gen Z isn’t even close to rethinking these old trends,” said Lewis, whose “After School” newsletter documents youth consumer behavior. “They’ll dig up every weird trend from way back and bring it back.”
Retailers from high-end Nordstrom to discounters and fast-fashion outlets are pushing the style in campaigns and on shelves. And consumers seem to be eating it up.
Sales of women’s cargo pants rose 81 percent from January to May, the most recent month for which data is available, according to retail watcher Sarkana. Low-cost fashion chains H&M and Zara say they are seeing success with biker jackets, denim garments, and crop tops. And Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shen, which markets to young women, said sales of its children’s T-shirts have tripled this year, making them the most popular T-shirt style of 2023 by far. Is. Is
The company is also seeing a big jump in sales of flared pants, corset tops, metallic dresses, and women’s tracksuits, often reminiscent of the wardrobe choices of glamorous socialite Paris Hilton at the height of her popularity. They are made of colorful cloth.
Style watchers classify it as part of the Make Bling era, which overlaps with Y2K but emphasizes flashy items produced by brands like Juicy Couture and Baby Fat, a TV show. Personality and designer Kimura Lee Simmons has a popular streetwear line, which was relaunched in 2019.
As always, trends are fueled by celebrities like model Bella Hadid, whose outfit choices are analyzed by fashion magazines and other onlookers. The style also bubbles up directly from consumers through social media, challenging retailers accustomed to runway shows that set the tone.
“Even a year ago it was not reported that these trends were going to decline,” said Kristen Classi-Zummo, an analyst who covers fashion apparel at Sarcana.
Retailers, including Macy’s and Walmart, said they are paying close attention to what pops up on social sites and analyzing topics searched by consumers. But it can be hard to tell the difference between trends that just generate attention versus what shoppers will actually buy, says Jake Bjorseth, who runs traders, an agency that helps companies reach young consumers.
Alison Hilzer, Walmart’s fashion apparel editorial director, said she’s also seeing a lot of microtrends. Some have longer lifespans than others, making it difficult to know when to jump on them.
The discounter, which is marketing Y2K-inspired cargo pants and barbecues, is ramping up growth to catch up with market trends, though the company declined to offer more specific details. Walmart is also pursuing key influencers like Alex Earle, who has collaborated with A-listers including Selena Gomez.
Despite retailers catering to younger consumers, many aren’t actually buying. Instead, they’re wearing items from each other’s closets, which has tripled since 2020, fueling the resale market, according to Boston Consulting Group and Vestier, a French luxury resale site. According to the Collective’s research. Helping to give. Affordability was the primary driver, but shoppers also bought used items to be more planet-friendly.
Yasmin Beckett, a 22-year-old graduate student in Manheim, Pennsylvania, said she visits a local thrift store almost every week and shops on resale sites like Depop, which offers Y2K-heavy options like baguette bags and baggy jeans. she does. He does.
Bukit usually gravitates towards tight shirts like loose, loose pants, jeans with flared legs, and mesh tops, which help her stay cool in the summer while wearing a hijab.
Popular TikTok influencer Aaliyah Bah, who has amassed more than 2.5 million followers and popularized her Y2K-inspired look as “Aliahcore,” also inspires Bekhit. This look is a bit more alternative, often featuring matching shorts with miniskirts or crop tops, fishnet stockings, and cute knee-high boots.
“I love the way she dresses,” Bukit said.
But for every day, Beckett said she usually finds outfit ideas on social media and puts her own twist on them.
Also sprinkling retro hair. Tahlia Lode, a master stylist at the Drawing Room New York salon, said she saw a lot of ’90s and Y2K trends, like spiky updos and space buns, bouncy blow-dry flux, and block coloring, where sections of hair are dyed. In contrasting colors. Gen Z clients are more receptive to these looks than millennials, he said.
“For Gen Z, this is all new to them. So while we can look at it as something that’s cyclical and coming back, it seems that Getting it for the first time.” is