Born between 1997 and the early 2010s, Gen Z grew up with cell phone in hand, and have been quick to adapt to new technology and trends. The selfie generation, TikTok teens, or whatever you call them are accustomed to consuming entertainment, social media, fashion, and more at the push of a button. With that sense of immediacy, young people celebrate and discard trends at lightning speed, accellerating the cyclical nature of fashion. Now, Y2K trends are once again in style thanks to Gen Z–just as Millennials helped usher in the ’90s nostalgia that has dominated fashion in recent years.
Both generations have latched onto their respective nostalgia-fuelled trends, displaying how vintage-inspired fashion and its celebration of the past has evolved into a source of escapism and comfort. For Millennials, who grew up in the wake of 9/11 and came of age during 2008’s Great Recession, looking back to their adolesence in the ’90s and the aesthetic cues of those times offers a sense of familiarity as the world shifts uncertainly around them. Studies have shown that Millennials are particulary risk averse, and for fashion, that means they would rather return to a tried and true trend rather than create their own.