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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The early 2000s are back in closets

Low-slung jeans, glittery tank tops and more have taken over the fashion scene

Ashley Hays, an 18-year-old employee, sorts clothing at Flashbacks Recycled Fashion on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.
Ashley Hays, an 18-year-old employee, sorts clothing at Flashbacks Recycled Fashion on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.

The early 2000s are some of the most controversial years in fashion. Regardless of negative opinions, though, the fashion staples of the era are some of the biggest trends for fashion today. 

Sasha Culvert is a 22-year-old employee at Flashbacks Recycled Fashion, a vintage consignment store in Gainesville. Over the course of her two years on the job, she’s seen the rise in popularity of signature pieces from the time. 

“The amount of early 2000s clothes we get offered has increased like crazy since the start of this year,” Culvert said. “There’s always been a market, albeit a pretty small one, for things like low-rise jeans and Juicy sweatsuits, but now those types of clothes make up the vast majority of what I sell in a day.” 

The return of the early 2000s is not unprecedented, according to Desirae Allen, a 45-year-old professor at the Fashion Institute of South Florida. Allen teaches a class called Fashion Trends, the most recent module of which focused on concepts and silhouettes pioneered between 2000 and 2005. 

“Fashion operates on a 20-year trend cycle,” Allen said. “Some amount of the fashion from the 80s came back in the 2000s, the 90s in the 2010s, and so on.” 

Using the trend cycle as a reference has proven reliable since the start of the 20th century, and the styles gracing magazine covers, fashion week runways and daily wear are no exception. 

“Sometimes there’s a big difference between what we see on the runway or the cover of Vogue and what people are actually wearing,” Allen said, “but that hasn’t really been the case with the resurgence of the early 2000s now.” 

Part of the prevalence of early 2000s clothing, a style nicknamed Y2K after the computer scare of the year 2000, is its constant appearance on social media. 

Dennis Freck, a 19-year-old Gainesville resident known as @latelateden on TikTok, has accumulated over 15 thousand followers who look to him for guidance on emulating their early 2000s fashion icons. 

“It all started when I dressed up as Soulja Boy for Halloween two years ago,” Freck said. “I realized that I liked the way that early 2000s clothes looked on me and it felt like the most authentic way I could express myself through my clothes.” 

Freck began a closet overhaul two weeks after his initial foray into the style, and he has worn 2000s staples since then. He also sought to encourage others to embrace the early 2000s, deciding the best way to do so would be to make videos about his outfits. 

“It’s so fun to wake up in the morning and put on an outfit that I like, and I know other people are going to like too,” Freck said. “It’s the best feeling in the world when people leave comments saying that they’re going to try a similar outfit or wear an item of clothing they were initially too intimidated to wear.” 

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Although Freck was nervous to wear a style he hadn’t seen frequently before, pieces from the early 2000s have become must-haves for those looking to emulate runway styles. 

For those who can’t afford clothes straight off the runway, though, vintage sellers like Freck provide the easiest path to a fashionable Y2K outfit. 

“It’s important for me to be able to come to markets and offer people the clothes that I’ve put so much care into compiling,” Freck said. 

Freck’s booth at the Florida Vintage Market is one of over 30 offering clothes from the last six decades. Buying clothes from their original era won’t get you the most up-to-date, trendy outfit, though, Allen said. 

“Only some traces of the overall fashion from the previous cycle appear in the current one,” she said. “That’s why the 2000s aren’t a carbon copy of the 80s, and what people consider to be Y2K fashion now isn’t exactly what people were wearing then.” 

Styles are constantly updated to fit the preferences of the consumer, a detail that Allen points to denim shorts to explain. ‘Jorts,’ a combination of jeans and shorts, are one of the unmissable hallmarks of trendy clothes. 

“Jorts are so popular right now because they’re longer, which means more comfortable, and they pay tribute to the bermuda shorts of the early 2000s,” Allen said. “The length stayed the same, they just switched out the fabric from the brightly colored plaid of Y2K to denim.” 

References to the early 2000s exist in most of the biggest trends, whether they’re overt like jeans worn under dresses or subtle like the length of the most popular shorts. If the 20-year trend cycle proves true, Y2K will be on the runways and Gainesville streets alike for the next several years. 

Contact Bea Lunardini at blunardi@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @bealunardini


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