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Subversive Basics The ‘New’ Y2K? NY Fashion Summer 2022

By: Lyric Hounshell

Creator of SUNY Purchase Fashion, Kayla U. Dike pictured, photo via. Dike

The ‘Y2K look’ has taken over the fashion scene on TikTok, in haute couture and fast fashion for the past two years. Every couple of months, Y2K makes a comeback and fashion gurus create new ways to style low rise jeans and Juicy tracksuits. But what exactly will New York fashion summer 2022 look like? Will we see lowriders and baby tees roaming the city streets in the next few months or is something else on the rise?

Photo via ‘110 subversive basics ideas in 2022’ post on Pinterest

Y2K fashion has been around for some time; it isn’t anything new. Only now, more participants of the aesthetic are swapping out their Juicy Couture sets for subversive basics. In a recent TikTok trend, people took scissors to their basic tights and tops and played around with imbalanced symmetry. The trend has been referred to as basics that rebel against their original design or intent.

“Subversive usually calls for big shoes and tiny little intricate clothes that droop and hang and have their own little back stories,” said first year Purchase student and fashion enthusiast, Fae Osei.

As fashion analysts critiqued this year's New York Fashion week and Met Gala looks, the common themes of fringe, cutouts and sheer fabric prevailed. Subversive basics may be making its way up the fashion ladder but what does this mean for the original Y2K appreciates? Are geometric cutouts and muted colors here to stay?

F.I.T graduate who studied womenswear and menswear, Ariana Kingwood said the new subversive basics trend has the potential to replace the old Y2K, if not, even surpass it.

However, “it [the subversive basics trend] is a bit more unique and modern and has potential to last longer and even come back on its own years from now,” Kingwood added.

Like Kingwood, Osei feels similarly about the uprising and possible ‘plague’ the subversive basics trend has on Y2K fashion.

Osei said, it is definitely becoming a subset of the Y2K fashion trend that has plagued American culture. It's not really in the spotlight but it definitely is on the stage.”

What’s unique about this specific trend is just how widespread it is becoming. It allows for an excess of teens to take to their own craft and create something expressive and unique. A lot of emphasis lies on deconstruction, science fiction, DIY, and using your body as an accessory.

Whether you’re a fan of the trend or not, it seems to be here to stay, however, the cost at which these singular pieces bring along, may do more harm than good further down the road. The subversive trend on TikTok seems outwardly harmless but it can encourage a lot of problems in the fashion industry.

Photo of student taken at a soca party via @sunypurchase_fashion

“Fast trends like these can lead to massive fabric and micro plastic waste, though, personally I don’t think the trends are the actual issue. TikTok’s influencer’s often start out videos with sentiments encouraging people to buy singular pieces for their wardrobe but once it goes out of fashion people don’t know how to style it leading to major waste,” said the creator of SUNY Purchase Fashion on Instagram, Kayla U. Dike.

Nevertheless, authenticity is a common theme. New York is a melting pot. There is never just one trend or look at any point in time, everything spurs from somewhere, and creativity and uniqueness are the origins of New York Fashion.

Kingwood said, “I hope that the origin of New York Fashion maintains. I hope that originality maintains, and I hope that people continue to wear what they want despite the current trends.”

“I want to look around and feel like I'm in a time machine gone wrong where I'm trapped between a bunch of eras. I want to see the true Y2K girls with the futuristic vibe, the MCbling video vixens-esque look [Destiny's Child, TLC] and then you have the street style reminiscent of Tupac and Biggie, and of course my subversive ‘baddies.’ I really want to see everyone's own style and not just a bunch of people dressed in the same vibe,” said Osei.

“And I hope judgment in the fashion industry dies out. Fashion is more than brandalism and archive culture from the vaults of these big ass brands. It's about everyone's uniqueness and creativity,” they added.



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