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As winter drags on, designers are turning their attention to their spring and summer lines, ready for an escape. The more designs we begin to see, the clearer it becomes that 2000’s fashion is coming back stronger than ever. The Y2K vibe is punctuated by vivid colors and prints, low-rise everything, cutouts, sequences, and bright accessories. Dolce and Gabbana's Spring Summer line was defined by their flippy metallic mini skirts and Y2K chokers while Prada channeled 2000s energy into their mini skirts and ultra-low kitten heels. If their designs are any indicator, there are indeed brighter days ahead.

But where did this Y2K trend come from? The answer lies in the COVID-19 pandemic. As people were forced to stay home during COVID-19 isolation, many passed the time revisiting their childhood comfort shows and movies. People flocked to the internet to share their love of 2000s fashion, and almost instantaneously, the trend ingrained itself in consumers’ minds. The 2000s have been romanticized as a time of glamor, light, and happiness, and in the midst of the pandemic, this is exactly what people were longing for.

One of the main drivers of this resurgence has been Gen Z. The generation has taken to Tik Tok to share nostalgia and speculate what the early aughts were like, as many were too young to experience the fashion of that decade the first time around. They found themselves craving glamor in what has been coined as “post-trauma fashion” by GQ fashion critic Sarah Seville Tashjian, and finding it in Y2K fashion.

From Zara to Dolce and Gabbana, brands everywhere are capitalizing on these 2000s trends. The eagerness to further cultivate these trends stems from the sharp blow the fashion industry saw in terms of revenue due to the pandemic. The fashion industry consistently facilitates the new, hottest trends to attract consumers based on the styles they are craving. Seeing the resurgence of the 2000s fashion on Tik Tok, designers and brands saw it as an opportunity to revitalize their sales. The 20% decline in revenue in 2020 is slowly becoming a distant memory as brands prepare to showcase their new Y2K inspired lines in upcoming fashion weeks.

In addition to capitalizing on Y2K trends, companies have implemented other creative ways to boost sales in the face of economic recession. Companies placed heavy emphasis on their online presence in order to entice customers to continue shopping. For some brands, this meant increasing online promotions and for others, it meant increasing their online presence through Instagram and Tik Tok to remain on the minds of consumers.

Luxury fashion companies, who saw smaller dips in revenue due to a more resilient wealthy demographic, were able to take their creativity one step further. High-end brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry moved their fashion shows online in cities like Milan, London, and Paris, and designers Rick Owens and Christian Siriano found ways to incorporate masks into their runway shows.

Although these implementations may have seemed like a hindrance to the fashion community, their tactics were effective. Global e-commerce increased by 4% in 2020, totaling $26.7 trillion worldwide. With fashion critics and bloggers alike eager to get their hands on these Y2K inspired collections, this growth is projected to continue into 2022. The fashion industry has been able to grow from the burdens placed on it by the pandemic. Even as restrictions begin to lift and economies revive themselves from the pandemic, these new avenues of trendsetting have become ingrained in the industry. It all goes to show the fashion industry is not afraid to celebrate the glamor or Y2K fashion and keep the party going virtually amidst a world recovering from a pandemic.

Princess Diana
YSL Cut Out Bustier Mini Dress
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