Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, you would have spotted the huge shift in fashion that’s taken place as people have begun to emerge from pandemic-prompted lockdowns around the world. Gone are the minimalist styles that reigned supreme for years prior to Covid, led by the likes of new Bottega Veneta and The Row. Gone too are the copious amounts of loungewear we used to comfort ourselves while housebound. In their place? ’90s and Y2K-era maximalism: butterfly accessories, low-rise jeans, micro mini skirts, bold colours, bold prints, and bold hemlines. We were promised a roaring ’20s which hasn’t yet materialised, but in the meantime, we’re having fun and reentering the world in a fun, flirty, and colourful way.
Though it feels like we’ve only just begun embracing (or tolerating) the return of low-rise, those who trend forecast have already begun predicting what’s to come in 2022. On TikTok, searches for Indie Sleaze have begun trending (think high-flash photography, the ’90s club scene, imprecise eyeliner, old American Apparel ads, messed up hair and side-swept bangs) and so too have all things Tumblr—yes, that website we all frequented prior to Facebook.
To help predict what’s to come, we spoke to founder of Australian fashion e-tailer Order of Style Lana Coppel. After working in the fashion industry for around a decade, Coppel launched Order of Style in 2015. Always a fan of trend forecasting and using pre-season planning sessions to look into wider society to notice the connections between what is happening in the world and what we’re wearing, she’s the perfect person to break down what we (and Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid) will soon be coveting.
When did you start to notice your customers veering towards more nostalgic pieces and 90s/Y2K-era trends?
Essentially all trends that emerge are reflective of the mood within society and they are moments in time where you can really pinpoint the mood of the consumer. Fashion during the ’90s & Y2K tethered to a rapidly changing world—one in which there were massive tech advances, huge disparities in wealth, many unknowns, some paranoia and big moments of cultural change. Very similar to what has been affecting us for the past 18 months. This sort of nostalgia in fashion is typically a reaction to consumers wanting to comfort themselves, a way for them to reset their lives after Covid with something that is both new and old. The first big indicator that the ’90s & Y2K were trending for me was a move away from skinny jeans to the more relaxed wide-leg styles.
Have you noticed the designers you stock cater to the changing trends? Who do you think is doing this well?
More established ready-to-wear brands don’t tend to commit deeply to trend revivals, however, they will often incorporate some elements such as colours, fabrics and silhouette tweaks alongside their established aesthetic to appeal to their more trend-focused customers. MOTHER Denim the LA design denim brand, always has a finger on the cultural pulse, cleverly executing trends and has done a great job of embracing the 90’s & Y2K revival.
Do you think the pandemic has anything to do with the huge shift in trends and our move away from The Row-type minimalism to butterfly accessories and skin-baring pieces?
Without a doubt. Periods of restraint (whether self-motivated or imposed) always leads to a period of excess! And ‘90s trends are super extra—skirts over pants, furry bucket hats, hair clips, blue mascara! Hair Mascara! Mesh tops under tank tops, belts for the sake of it. The list goes on… I think it’s a super fun aesthetic and really embraces getting dressed as a celebration of self with a sense of frivolity that I think everyone has been craving.
What nostalgic pieces specifically have been popular with your consumer?
We’ve been seeing a lot of denim sales embracing the new silhouettes and bright Y2K colours have been popular.
Where do you see the trend going? Any predictions for what’s next?
I think this trend is definitely going to hold through the southern hemisphere’s summer. It’s a great fun aesthetic and it really works with the warmer weather. I think following this, we might be moving into the more Grunge-y Era of the 1990s, we can see nods to that already with the styles items like Doc Martens, flannel overshirts and midriff tanks, even baggier jeans, checked “PJ” flannel pants and boosted skate shoes [dubbed Indie Sleaze on TikTok]. Or it could continue on the more fun and flighty path and we will begin to see that candy raver aesthetic that was popular in the ‘90s club scenes – think Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion & Never Been Kissed.
Mother Denim The Tomcat Roller Fray Jean, $420, Shop
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American Vintage Ikino Jacket $480, Shop
Equipment Jules dress, $465.5, Shop