WHAT THE Y2K REVIVAL MEANS TO A GEN-Z

February 5, 2019

 




Born in 1997, it can seem like my perspective on the cultural zeitgeist of the noughties is blurred by youth. Touché. I was only two when we rang in the new millennium. But I was (and admittedly still am) one of those kids unapologetically enamored with the world of pop culture. Our generation, Gen-Z, came of age during one of the most mystifying times in modern history - where the adolescent emergence of culture, technology, and toxic celebrity began to more than intersect but intertwine. 

 

 

Now, my elementary-self was not aware of the social significance of the this convergence at all. I did kid things - read Harry Potter, play outside, get good(ish) grades - but the world of celebrity, pop culture, and all that came with it fascinated me. From either my Memorex MP3126 Boombox, portable CD player, or MTV blasted all the bops the 2000s could offer - Destiney's Child, Jesse McCartney, Eve, Britney Spears, Lil Mama, Missy Elliot, JoJo, *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, Lil Kim, Avril Lavigne, the list goes on. I have vivid recollections of Beyoncé, Michelle, and Kelly in bursts of pink sequins, blue fringe, white and purple, and ample midriff (with flashes of Solange and Stevie Nicks) inquiring on the state of their "Bootylicious"-ness. 

 

I was also never sheltered away from the messy (then infant) medium of reality television and the explosion of celebrity-for-celebrity's-sake. I kept up with Paris and Nicole on The Simple Life and the Osbornes, blew away time with The Real World, Laguna Beach, and later The Hills. America's Next Top Model, Pimp My Ride, MTV Cribs, Project Runway, Room Raiders, and Celebrity Death Match were my six year-old guilty pleasures, andTRL was the entree to my after kindergarten snack. God bless older babysitters.

 

The worlds of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon were also at my disposal, and the 2000s were the golden age of youth sitcom. The former offer up the most personal childhood influence thanks in large to their swath of original shows, movies, and Y2K superstars - namely Raven-Symoné with That's So Raven and the 2003 classic The Cheetah Girls, young Shia LaBeouf in Even Stevens, and Hilary Duff aka Lizzie McGuire aka Cadet Kelly. Lindsay Lohan was the Disney breakaway, carving out seminal 00s performances in Mean Girls, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Freaky Friday. The latter gave Gen-Z young Emma Roberts in Unfabulous, Miranda Cosgrove in both Drake & Josh and iCarly, the ladies from Victorious, Keke Palmer in True Jackson, VP., and the comedic treasure that is Amanda Bynes who grew up with us from becoming the heir to Carol Burnett to another seminal star in teenage 2000s cinema.  

 

When I see the trends of that decade resurging into the spring/summer collections of today, I see the nostalgic pop culture touchstones of my youth. It's a retreat back to when stylists were optional, taste was subjective, bad was good, good was okay, spray tan was strong, and authenticity took precedence. Demna Gvasalia at Vetements and Glenn Martens at Y/Project ignited the trend with their collaborations with beloved-turned-gauche 2000s brands Juicy Couture and UGG respectively. A modern incarnation of the go-to Starbucks run, paparazzi's waiting, starlet-off-duty uniform. Then, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Versace, and Charlotte Knowles all dropped their trouser waistlines for SS19, a trend Bella Hadid adopted, sending Twitter into a scramble to ask, "Are low rise jeans really... back??? *cringe*" 


The athleisure movement has slid into 2000s full-on sport territory. Oversized athletic silhouettes referencing hip hop culture of the 00s is also firmly revived. Rei Kawakubo reintroduced the Nike Shox - adorned with logo-heavy charm bracelets - in Comme des Garçons' SS19 collection. And logo-mania seems to have infected nearly every major label causing them to emblazon their monikers (or those of other brands, thank you collab culture) over everything like our ESPIRIT and Tommy sweaters of days past.

 

BRATZ dolls are now the beauty influencers. The Motorola Razr, the (un)official flip phone of the 00s, is back. It's 2004 all over again. The revival of Y2K culture is our generation's attempt at harkening back to (arguably) simpler times, when the only major decisions being made were what duet were our "...Baby One More Time" era Britney and "Survivor" era Beyoncé dolls going to perform. 

 

  

 

 

 

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