The past is now the present: the prominence of nostalgia
Nostalgia is the trend of the 2020s. The influence of Y2K can mainly be seen in arenas like beauty and fashion to industries like technology – its expansive reach.
A quick scroll on Tiktok or Instagram reveals how nostalgia has shaped our hair and beauty trends. Matilda Djerf’s highly-coveted hairstyle is reminiscent of the 1970s hairstyles with big curls. Equally noticeable is the nostalgia amongst black women. After December, with many Nigerian and Ghanaian women returning home, french curl braids were everywhere. The french curl braids look like the pick-and-drop many of us got during primary/secondary school (though their price point says otherwise).
Brands like; Diesel, Blumarine, I am gia, and Poster Girl has been quick to ride the wave of nostalgia. Diesel’s AW 2022 collection was filled with denim, utility wear, leather, knee-high boots, and mini mini skirts – all features of Y2K. On their website, they advertised one of the runway items describing how it was “wearable as belt or skirt.” A notable aspect of Y2K fashion is that nothing is tacky or ‘too much’ – the clothes raise eyebrows, and they are meant to. @Aliyahsinterludeshowed that best when the picture of her wearing a bikini and moon boats on the beach made rounds on Twitter.
And the impact of Y2K on technology and design is far from subtle: aesthetics and images are now riddled with metallics, iridescent and holographic motifs, rounded typefaces, and 3d texts. The Digi Fairy, a brand strategist, called this “the re-emergence of millennium tech-utopianism.” In other words, the aesthetic demonstrates a new optimism within technology.
While the original Y2K movement occurred sometime after the popularity of the internet, the new trend seems to be coinciding with other technological trends, such as the Metaverse. The Metaverse has been the subject of plenty of discussions and hopes, as it describes the plan for a single, immersive 3D virtual space where humans essentially experience the physical world online. Think of a more impressive version of Movie Star Planet.
But ironically, this nostalgia and love of the past is nothing new. The past is always present as trends re-live themselves. Even the ballet flats many of us wore in the 2010s have slowly crept into fashion thanks to Maison Margiela. But beyond this general trend, the resurgence of Y2K and nostalgia seems well-placed within our social and political context. After the lockdown, its subsequent restrictions, and the widespread cynicism, Y2 K’s comeback feels like a timely revival.
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