What Exactly Is Y2K Fashion?

Black women are owed credit for it.

Over the past few weeks, young people have confused, and argued about, Y2K fashion. Though there is definite overlap in multiple style trends from that period, Y2K style has been broken down into two primary categories–afrofuturism and the early 2000’s look.

So, what is Y2K?

Y2k was a period during the 1990s when people believed computers would register the year 2000 as 1900, putting banks, travel services and power plants in disarray, and possible danger. This was assumed to mark the end of the world and mass power outages and chaos were thought to be a definite step. Yet when the new millennium rolled around, all was well.

What does that have to do with style?

During the late 90s, Black music artists, celebrity stylists and video directors began to craft a vision for the future, often using metallics and spaceship-like video sets to creatively convey hopeful messaging. The idea was likely more aligned with afrofuturism than doomsday, although some, like Busta Rhymes, did think the world was in danger.

Among these agents were Hype Williams, June Ambrose, Missy Elliott and Blaque.

Some folks think that this is true Y2k style, as it leans heavily on ideas of the future. “This is what y2k looks like,” wrote Twitter user @fatherlyjada. Attached were four photos of Aaliyah, Blaque, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Devin Aoki. Fashion analyst Rashida Ward also shared her take on the more futuristic aspect of the trend.

What about the crop tops, logomania and fur?

Other popular circles are referring to the styles of the late 90s and early 2000s as Y2K fashion. Think Baby Phat, Juicy Couture sweats, Louis Vuitton handbags and blinged out tank tops. People are saying that Black women are the true originators of this style, as the trends were in sync with those prevalent in Black culture.

The resurrection of this iteration of the look was once attributed to “Cherry Emoji” Twitter, which was in fact a revival spearheaded by a Black woman named Taylor Crenshaw. Her adoration of Y2K fashion was pushed under the name “Hoe Twitter.”

Photo credit: The Guardian

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