Whether you remember the early 2000’s like the back of your hand or whether you weren’t old enough to be dressing yourself back then, there’s no denying that the outlandish fashion of the Y2K decade made a statement. The sexed-up, spray-tanned, low-rise decade was filled with trends that have been immortalized in iconic chick-flick movies, TV shows, and now, the closets of Gen Z shoppers who have fully leaned into the secondhand market offering thrift-able relics of 20+ years past. That little 2-0 isn’t just a reference to the number of years that have gone by since the turning of the new millennium, it’s also a fashion rule that has stood the test of time. The 20-year rule, which applies to art, media, interior design, and clothing (to name a few circles in which it is relevant), dictates that trends run on a 20 year cycle — hence, the resurgence of Y2K style in 2021.
The Y2K style revival came slowly and then all at once as it moved from being a predominantly youth-occupied subculture to a mainstream, all-encompassing term to refer to the trendy, throwback style that seems to have invaded most stores that target younger shoppers in 2021. The style movement has brought back trends like baby tees, cropped lace camisoles, baguette bags, Juicy Couture velour tracksuits, low-rise jeans and yes, even the dreaded whale-tail (the Jean Paul Gaultier trend that has been replicated in the form of “fashion floss” by Jacquemus, Versace, Cult Gaia, and Acne Studios). Bella Hadid has been an early adopter of many an early 2000’s trend, rocking claw clips and pants slung low on her hips (her lithe frame doesn’t hurt when it comes to pulling off most trends, no matter how controversial). Iconic Y2K brands like Fiorucci and Juicy Couture have also seen a recent resurgence.
You might be asking yourself, “where can I score authentic, coveted 2000’s styles that will count as vintage (i.e. made at least 20 years ago) in the next decade?” Fear not — a large, varied selection of Y2k pieces can be accessed on the Depop app.
Depop was founded by Simon Beckerman in 2011. You know, 2011 — the year of bubble skirts, tribal prints, hair feathers, and the first season of Game of Thrones. Several other resale apps were founded around that time, including Poshmark (2011), Vinted (2012), and Mercari (2013) although eBay dates all the way back to 1995. Each app follows a similar structure where users snap photos of their clothing, post the photos to their profiles, and print out a shipping label to easily mail off the item once it sells. This is recommerce, the concept of selling new, used, or previously owned goods through online platforms. These clothing apps push for a circular clothing model that allows for the redistribution of secondhand clothing which, to a certain extent, prevents the mass exodus of clothing from closet to landfill. Buying and selling secondhand clothing even allows you to have a revolving closet of styles in a more sustainable way, a concept that you’d otherwise be hard-pressed to find anyone but those who directly benefit from constant shopping to be advocating for. These different recommence platforms may be competitors but they all work in conjunction to make sustainable shopping habits more accessible.
However, Depop has come to the forefront of the streetwear and vintage conversation in a way that other apps have not. Depop has taken on an aesthetic of its own due to the fact that, according to the company, 90% of their active users are under the age of 26. The app has become associated with a niche, vintage, one-of-a-kind style thanks to their Gen Z and Milennial target audience so it’s easy to see that despite the mass adoption of the 2000’s trend by street style stars and retailers, the biggest supporters of butterfly clips, mini lace camis, and schoolgirl skirts have been the Depop girls. The term “Depop girl” typically refers to teens who utilize the eBay-meets-Instagram platform to sell a curated collection of items that were purchased at thrift stores and then flipped for a higher price. Y2K fashion is the most popular category on Depop, followed by anything that is 90’s-themed.
The Depop girl is an indicator of the cultural zeitgeist. “Thrifting” has become more popularized as a verb and the act of buying secondhand clothing doesn’t carry the same shameful connotation that it used to. Thrift flips became even more popularized on YouTube and now TikTok as Emma Chamberlain’s rise to fame involved going to Goodwill and rocking oversized men’s polo shirts not unlike the ones you’d probably find in your father’s closet (this was, of course, before her Louis Vuitton days). It’s just not as cool to buy a massive influx of poorly-made, brand new items anymore as younger shoppers push for brands to be more ethical and transparent about their fabrics, sourcing, and labor and sustainability practices. The most affordable way for young digital natives to express themselves through clothing in a sustainable way is to shop secondhand, so the rise of Depop naturally followed.
But before there were Depop girls, there were resellers, brick-and-mortar vintage stores, and eBay. In the Netflix show depicting how Sofia Amoruso started Nasty Gal (formerly Nasty Gal Vintage) in her apartment through eBay, her character says, “you know how people flip houses? I flip clothing.” Though this is not a new practice, there has been an increasing amount of pushback against sellers, mainly younger women looking to supplement their income in a sustainable way, for taking items from thrift stores due to the pervasive idea that secondhand clothing only exists for those who can’t afford it. Elizabeth Cline addresses this concept in her book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” labeling it the “clothing deficit myth” — the idea that your donated clothing goes directly to a local person in need, when in fact there is a surplus of donated clothing to the point where donations surpass what secondhand stores would be able to sell. Depop is not only a way to access and shop for tennis skirts and baby tees, it’s also a distribution channel that sends pre-owned clothing directly from one person to another and effectively extending the life of the vintage piece.
There are, however, downsides to revisiting history. The 2000’s were filled with loud messages of unhealthy diet culture and unsustainable buying practices as shoppers flooded fast fashion stores like Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, and Hollister. Though there’s no doubt that the designers and brands that have recently favorited the Y2K trend aren’t actively trying to revive the baggage that came with the times, there’s no denying that the nostalgia for early 00’s clothing is linked to harmful ideas about the female body and what it should look like. The low-rise denim trend has also started a conversation about how Y2K fashion is perceived differently on thinner vs. curvier body types. The inherent preference for smaller bodies when it comes to early 2000’s clothing stems from an internalized fatphobia that raged through fashion and media. The problematic cultural mindset that at one point was tied to the skimpier archival styles of Y2K is something that younger teenagers may not even be aware of as they reach for archival styles that are experiencing a resurgence. The debate about whether low-rise jeans can only be worn by certain body types or not is also vaguely reminiscent of the battle cry against skinny jeans and leggings before they became widely-adopted styles for all sizes. Fashion is inherently circular and historically speaking, any form of pushback or even contempt towards a particular piece only seems pushes it further into the spotlight.
We love to infuse elements of nostalgia into fashion because dressing can function as escapism, as long as we remember to acknowledge and rewrite the narrative surrounding the clothing from past decades that we celebrate and inhabit. It’s only fitting that Gen Z, armed and outfitted in the clothes of generations past, gets to pave the new path forward.
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a36281549/reclaiming-y2k-how-depop-revived-the-2000s/
createdAt:Wed, 28 Apr 2021 21:35:47 +0000
displayType:Long Form Article