Y2K obsessions come and go but Petra Collins' much-copied aesthetic is forever. And her SSENSE-powered clothing line, I'm Sorry, is the physical manifestation of so many discarded Tomagotchis, Furbys, and Lisa Frank journals, with much more staying power.
Collins isn't simply repackaging '00s-era nostalgia as a clothing line, though I'm Sorry's first two collections were intentionally approachable.
Packed with the kind of ultra-wearable essentials that're too fun to be "fashion" but too cool to be thrifted, the first two installments of I'm Sorry basically served as an introduction to the brand.
Okay, not quite, but even as Collins continues cooking up banger basics ("I ♥ Gossip" T-shirt, "SHADOW BANNED" dress), the artist is more interested in filtering trends through the lens of her dryly acerbic design ethos. Your Bratz dolls could never.
"I'm Sorry started super simple, only creating basics like tees, sweatsuits, slip dresses, sweaters, and bodysuits because we wanted to get our footing first," Collins told Highsnobiety.
"The influences have always been strong but I think have come out the strongest this drop. I wanted to go through the process of trial and error before jumping into anything complicated (we definitely failed with some pieces and triumphed with others)."
Unsurprising, then, that I'm Sorry's third drop more obviously plays with aesthetics like cottagecore. But Collins isn't just borrowing from Instagram feeds and TikTok clips; she's putting a funhouse mirror up to the styles seen on social media (emphasis on the fun).
"This drop is HEAVILY influenced by my obsession with rural life but also with health and fitness culture like the TikTok trend 'That Girl,'" continued Collins. "With each drop, we create a narrative for the person that is wearing it."
"This one is, like, kidnapped by a pilates pink fitness manifest health cult that operates on a farm churning out aesthetic posts," she laughed.
"Like, in my head I'm hoping 50 girls do some type of sacrificial circle in the SHADOW BANNED dress."
I'm Sorry seems like the kinda line that speaks for itself, as if its garments need no further investigation.
Not at all: Collins and creative partner Dean DiCriscio have a truly thoughtful (and playful) creative process that befits a breakdown from Collins herself so the precious references don't go to waste.
For instance, the "I ♥ Gossip" tee references a shirt worn by Gina Gershon in Demonlover. Other design cues are even more, um, nuanced.
"The purse has a novelty keychain on it that we wanted to make haunted," Collins said. Unfortunately, no spirits were willing to inhabit the collaborative keychains that Collins created with fellow SSENSE alum Praying.
Praying co-founder Skylar "came up with an idea to have the keychain malfunction and flash from 'WOMEN' to 'OMEN' but the keychain actually did malfunction and now just flashes 'WOMEN' over and over."
Speaking of novelty, if I'm Sorry was gonna depart from its online-exclusive status in favor of brick-n-mortar, is there any question where its flagship store ought to be?
"I love the mall so much," exclaimed Collins.
"In Canada, we had this store called The It Store which I think was a novelty adult gift store. I remember it being scandalous and horny, You could buy sea monkeys but also sex toys? I tried to Google but there's so little info on it."
"I think I'm Sorry would sit between that and Build-a-Bear."