It seems the ‘90s trend chokehold has finally loosened its grip on fashion. Though the style set isn’t slinking out of slip dresses or retro sportswear steez anytime soon, they are all embracing the early ’00s and its unmistakeable kitschy-cool excess.
For many coming of age in the new millennium, it was an era strictly defined by Jennifer Lopez’s green Versace dress, as well as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s infamous double denim look.
However, the early aughts were also a period where casual iconoclast Martin Margiela was still at the helm of his own label, driving the industry’s attention away from trends and toward individuality of expression and cult items.
Today, his ‘00s legacy is an aesthetic epoch readily mined by everyone from Vetements to YEEZY to Jacquemus (read about the 5 ways in which Margiela influenced Vetements). It makes sense for the ’90s to wane in relevance when it comes to trend culture, and for the early 2000s to take its place.
Just a few seasons ago, it was obscenely on-point for designers such as Alexander Wang to reference the ’90s. After all, that’s when he came of age. Now, it’s the turn of younger brands and designers who came of age in the aughts to mine the era for its sartorial glory days.
Fashion designers are always looking back to their youth, so it makes sense for the aughts to move into focus and condemn the ’90s to its sartorial grave. Progressive labels like Poland’s MISBHV are courting serious industry intention for an unapologetic embrace of the early 2000s – the brand’s SS17 offering boasted plenty of bold, blinged-out aesthetics. They’re not alone either, with a slew of the industry’s most zeitgeisty designers and brands bringing back the era’s most revered and reviled trends.
We take a closer look at some of the early aught’s nine most iconic (and more off-kilter) trends in both the womenswear and menswear worlds, all being rehashed by fashion’s agenda-setting designers and street style stars, in a big way.
The Velour Track Ensemble
Long before the rise of athleisure and health goth, and well before technical leggings and track pants were considered acceptable office attire, the velour tracksuit was a sure-fire staple. Usually accessorized with a Starbucks venti iced latte and an itty bitty dog, the velour tracksuit was worn by every celebrity, and it became the famewhore uniform of the 2000s.
Needless to say, the velour tracksuit eventually met its demise, but it looks as though enough time has passed for it to be grossly (or gloriously) resurrected. Vetements collaborated with Juicy Couture for its Spring/Summer 2017 collection, sending out a slew of rich-ruby and dark-navy track ensembles in Juicy’s signature velour fabric.
The velour comeback hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the industry, either. Kanye West sent out his own iteration of the velour tracksuit in YEEZY Season 5, and even French house Chloè was among the brands coordinating its comeback.
Once adored by Paris Hilton, Madonna and Britney Spears, the velour tracksuit now counts Rihanna and Kylie Jenner among its new fans.
Demna Gvasalia, the creative force behind Vetements and Balenciaga, has been noted for combing Maison Margiela’s winding archive for some contemporary inspo. And when you compare Margiela’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection alongside Balenciaga’s recent offering, it’s hard to spot the difference. Balenciaga’s overblown tailoring and undone XL elegance borrowed heavily from Margiela’s archive of beautifully oversized silhouettes.
Similarly, Raf Simons looked to Margiela for his FW16 collection (he actually cited that in his show notes). which featured plenty of overblown shapes and deconstructionist details, while Kanye West rehashed oversized steez for his YEEZY line across multiple seasons.
Needless to say, the mass resurgence for ballooned staples has trickled into the mainstream, and every steezy influencer has been spotted in a lugging hoodie or a bulky coat.
The Bucket Hat
Ok, so the bucket hat does tow the line between a’90s accessory and an early ’00s staple but it enjoyed its best pop-culture rotation in the new millennium. At its ’00s peak, the bucket hat was worn by everyone from Jay Z in his “Big Pimpin” video to Nas, Brad Pritt and Britney Spears.
On the runways, it was Miuccia Prada who gave the bucket hat some artful eccentricity for Prada’s Spring/Summer 2005 show and more recently, Alexander Wang sent out his own iteration of the throwback headgear at his Spring/Summer 2015 show.
Needless to say, the bucket has been flexed among the streetwear cognoscenti for a while now, but the style set at large is only just catching up. Rihanna has been spotted enjoying the bucket hat and all its functional glory frequently.
The Trucker Cap
In the early aughts, the trucker cap was adopted as a ubiquitous accessory for every downtown, slumming 20-something who drank canned beer and listened to gritty garage bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes.
It quickly disseminated from Brooklyn vintage stores and into malls, and every celebrity from Pharrell to Ashton Kutcher donned a trucker cap. Suffice it to say, its appeal waned and it was put to rest in the pantheon of bygone fashion fads.
However, Hedi Slimane dug out the polarizing accessory for Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2016 show, and since then, Gigi Hadid and Kylie and Kendall Jenner have all been spotted topping their ‘fits with the trusty cap. Will you be dusting off your Von Dutch anytime soon?
Low Rise Denim
Technically, this denim trend first emerged in the ‘60s, and once again in the ‘90s, when the late, great Alexander McQueen sent out none other than Kate Moss wearing a pair of perilously low-rise, crevice-revealing jeans that he dubbed “bumsters.” It took a good few years for the trend to disseminate into the mainstream following McQueen’s 1996 “Dante” collection, but then came the early aughts, and low-slung denim was more than ubiquitous.
Now, the unlikely jeans are enjoying a revival, largely thanks to the likes of Kendall Jenner, as well a slew of agenda-setting street style mavens.
As American Apparel caught traction for its zany basics, the V-neck and the deep V-neck (the more tragic sibling) became a bonafide staple of the early 2000s. Since then, the V-neck has died and returned to life as many times as good ‘ole Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 2016, Kanye West became the latest fashion commentator to murder the V-neck with a simple statement in a radio interview; ”Nothing against people who wear v-necks, but I don’t like v-necks,” he said.
Of course, at its peak in the aughts, Kanye enjoyed the deep-V as much as any other guy, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be rehashing the V-neck for any upcoming YEEZY collections. Though no trending designer has been reckless enough to send out a V-neck T-shirt for any spring offerings, Raf Simons did send out a batch of deep-V sweaters for Spring/Summer 2016.
More recently, French brand AMI regulated the V-neck’s uncomfortable return with a more angular shape that could stay fresh for a while to come.
Shorts and Socks
Shorts and socks styled together were always a rarity in menswear, but Prada’s Spring/Summer 2002 went against the grain and indulged the off-beat styling trick in a bunch of looks. A few years later, Vivienne Westwood also reprised the scorned style hack in her Spring/Summer 2004 show too.
However, much like today’s pervasive “sweatpants in socks” trend that now has everyone from Kanye West to Shia LaBeouf transfixed, the mainstream totally dismissed these “nerdy” style hacks in the early aughts. Remember, these were the days where Abercrombie & Fitch reigned supreme, and you certainly wouldn’t have seen tube socks and shorts on any chiseled A&F model.
Needless to say, Abercrombie & Fitch has since fallen out of favor and the likes of Riccardo Tisci have affirmed the once controversial trend with some credibility. As pictured above, Tisci sent out models wearing obscenely high tube socks with obscenely short shorts for Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 2009 collection, and as a result, it’s slowly trickled into the mainstream.
More recently, Virgil Abloh revived the sporty tube sock and shorts trend for Off-White’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, and the unorthodox style choice might just gain traction beyond the football pitch and the hallowed dancefloors of Berlin’s Berghain.
Pink isn’t a new hue to the menswear palette or one inherent to the early aughts, but it was in the early 2000s that men finally felt comfortable enough to nonchalantly don an all-pink look. This was largely thanks to Cam’Ron stepping out to the 2002 Grammy awards in a head-to-toe pink look, and of course, style-savvy guys followed suit to emulate the hip-hop star’s signature steez.
Don’t forget, this was a moment where hip-hop was the arbiter of cool for mass culture at large, and even haute-y fashion houses like Christian Dior were cashing on its cache with low-slung “hip-hop” pants in John Galliano’s 2002 “Street Chic” collection.
Today, hip-hop’s fashion legacy is unwavering and unquestionable, and the recent revival of pink menswear should certainly be credited to pioneers like Cam’Ron. A quick survey of any street style capital around the world today shows pink is the color of choice among guys. The color has enjoyed plenty of runway rotation too, and brands from Off-White to Pigalle to GUCCI have all embraced the power of pink in recent seasons.
Another aughties hip-hop fashion trend that’s being re-hashed on the runways is motocross-inspired style. Back in 2008, Pharrell donned a NASCAR Jeff Gordon jacket, bearing plenty of loud corporate insignia like the Pepsi logo across the chest.
Since then, we’ve seen Heron Preston invert the NASCAR logo on some of his first bootleg collections, and Marc by Marc Jacob’s Fall/Winter 2014 menswear collection offering a salute to motorsport steez, and Ètudes Studio’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection “MX-ISM” saw models carrying helmets while wearing synthetic MX-inspired tops. Supreme and Palace even toyed with racing-inspired pieces for Spring/Summer 2017.
Now, it seems everyone is taking on motocross-inspired fashion. Labels like Maison Margiela, Alyx Studio, Supreme and even Berlin magazine 032c are riding hard and dirty with plenty of racing-inspired gear.
For more on the latest trends, here’s the 10 most hyped womenswear accessories right now.
- Cover Image: 032c