Capitalize on Early-2000's Nostalgia in This Year’s Apparel Sales
The turn of the century (and the millennium!) known for pop culture disruption and the dot-com boom is now 20 years ago and considered vintage. However, lots of GenZers, Millennials, and Xers have gotten back into Y2K fashion trends. The pandemic, climate change, uncertain economy, and other political and social issues have sparked a much bigger turn to nostalgia for earlier, happier times.
This nostalgia has taken hold, in part, as Gen Z hit TikTok in the last two to five years, discovering Y2K vintage fashion and pop culture trends. Early-2000s fashion also went from a side niche to a bigtime return-trend as more celebrities have worn archival fashion at events and on the red carpet.
Y2K-related searches online have also jumped up in the last year or two. On Tradesy, an online resale marketplace, searches for “baby tee” skyrocketed 2,000%, “low rise” rose 50%, and “cargo pants” increased 28%. Similarly, on Lyst, 2000s fashion queries have risen 450%.
The overall aesthetic of Y2K fashion is futuristic with a retro edge: shiny materials, chunky sneakers, wide-leg, low-rise pants, and colorful sunglasses. Some of the biggest pop culture influences included Carrie Bradshaw from the HBO hit “Sex and the City,” Bratz Dolls, and the movies “The Matrix” and “Mean Girls.” Today’s Y2K-referential styles are more wearable for more age groups and body types, so don’t ignore these trends.
I drew inspiration from the runways, fashion blogs, and social media influencers to list some of the Y2K styles we’re seeing everywhere — and you should be pitching to your clients who love being on trend.
When we say “2000s fashion,” we immediately think of the velour tracksuit, worn by the likes of JLo and Britney Spears, and made popular by the Juicy Couture and Baby Phat brands. Luckily, a lot of apparel suppliers in the wholesale print industry brought this trend back, with matching full-zip hooded sweatshirts and joggers. However, the range of styles, cuts, and fits of these tops and bottoms gives you the ability to find the right match for your client’s brand and needs.
To really tap into the look, you can wear the same color tracksuit head to toe. Neutrals in whites, tans, camels, and grays fit perfectly here. Extra points if you choose a bright shade like blue or green to play into the Y2K aesthetic. Again, you’ve got a lot of color options today thanks to industry suppliers. You can also pitch accessories, like fun bucket hats, that come in velour fabrications.
Crops and Cardigans
The 2000s were all about midriff-baring styles. “Baby tees” from the early 2000s are the on-trend crops of today. The good news is, there’s a crop for everybody, and every body. From muscle crop tanks to those boxier cropped hoodies that hit just above the waistline, everyone can tap into this trend today that brands like Fiorucci and Juicy Couture dominated circa 2000.
Remember Gwen Stefani in her crops and belly chains? That’s why it’s no surprise that bralette tops are also back in. While these tops may be more appropriate for gym wear and certain summer events, this is a piece that does stand the test of time. For today, a bralette top would be great under a deep V-neck top or a slouchy muscle tank with elongated armholes.
In the same vein, you’ll also see tie-front shirts and short button-up cardigans making a comeback. These are great layering items over T-shirts, tanks, dresses, and more.
Power couples Jay-Z and Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, made head-to-toe denim and patchwork denim a thing. While your clients may not want to rock a patchwork denim jumpsuit, you can present denim wovens, jackets, hats, or bags. In addition, you can show off T-shirts, hoodies, and other items in a denim hue.
Jeans styles from the early 2000s included low-rise and wide-leg looks, inspired by street, skater, and grunge styles. In the wholesale market, you’ll find joggers and even scrub pants that reference the more comfortable lower-rise and wider-leg look. While you may not be pitching a Y2K extreme wide-leg pant anymore, you should know that these looser, more relaxed styles fit and flatter more body types. That means your buyers will want to take a second look.
Don’t forget cargo pants. People loved the relaxed feel and lots of pockets. Stars like Fergie and Christina Aguilera rocked them. Today, designers like Tom Ford are sending cargoes in bright colors, paired, of course, with crop tops. Like the wide-leg styles, people care about having roomy pockets to store essentials and tools. Pay attention to pockets in uniform pants, scrubs, and other bottoms for people on the go.
We always like talking about accessories, so on dock from circa 2000 is the one and only bandana. The bandana was a staple accessory for Y2Kers, as it is today for humans and dogs alike. Bandanas are a great giveaway item for events and different organizations, so keep these on your radar. Pay attention to the colors and patterns you choose for them, since you can match them to brand, school, Greek organization, or event colors.
A Sign of Self-Expression
2022 is a year about self-expression as we exit two years of pandemic feelings and lockdowns. The early 2000s were experimental and future-oriented, with the big tech boom, so it makes sense that we’re embracing many of those Y2K trends. One last area to look at is materials: ultra-shiny and translucent.
You might remember seeing celebs sporting puffer jackets in silver, pearlescent, or metallic shades in bright colors like pink, blue, purple, or green. Translucent fabrics, whether clear, white, or tinted were also hot as layering items and in accessories. For younger wearers or groups, don’t be afraid to play with shine, color, and translucency in key items or accessories you pitch.
These 2000s-inspired styles are ones to watch and pitch to your clients starting now, for the rest of 2022.