Some trends should be left in the past

The resurgence of Y2K and heroin chic is a step back for inclusivity in the fashion world

By Zeinab Rakhshandehroo

Baby tees, low-rise jeans and micro skirts – all iconic and recognizable elements of 2000’s fashion, or, as it is commonly known, Y2K fashion. The Y2K trend has been making a comeback since the summer of 2022, according to Vogue, with outfits inspired by the late 90’s and early 2000’s dominating both runways and streets. 

Despite the nostalgia this trend may inspire, Y2K is bringing back harmful parts of the 90’s and 2000’s as well. The glamorization of Y2K has led to a resurgence of the ‘heroin chic’ body type, according to The Swaddle. Characterized by pale skin, a very thin frame, dark undereye circles and limp or stringy hair, heroin chic promotes an ultra-thin and lean body type. The ideal body this presents is detrimental to all the work women have done in dismantling traditional beauty standards. 

Popularized by famous celebrities and influencers, Y2K trends promote harmful body standards.
(Photo illustration by Zeinab Rakhshandehroo)

Though the slim body type has always been put on a pedestal, heroin chic takes it further by popularizing unhealthy and extreme skinniness. This can be incredibly damaging to young women today, molding their perception of beauty to this one extreme, according to the Office of Women’s Health. The resurgence of heroin chic undoes all the progress made by the body positivity movement in recent years. Once again, this trend creates an unwelcoming and unkind environment for people with different bodies. Everyone should have the opportunity to be fashionable and stylish – a trend that only allows skinny people to participate will promote exclusivity in the fashion world.

Furthermore, the glamorization of slim, heroin chic bodies can encourage young women to go to extreme lengths in order to fit that standard, such as romanticizing eating disorders, according to Elle. Fashion should never come at the cost of one’s health – making beauty synonymous with thinness will be detrimental to the self-esteem of women and girls and prioritizes looks over health, according to a study by the National Library of Medicine.

In order to limit these damaging effects, heroin chic cannot be allowed to fully return. Strides have been made towards body positivity in fashion, and we cannot allow the resurgence of heroin chic to erase that. Elements of Y2K can be brought back to popularity while still maintaining inclusivity in the fashion industry.

Though it is easy to be blinded by the bright colors and nostalgia of Y2K, it is imperative to remember heroin chic is not something that should be brought back. Bodies are not trends, and we must find a way to combine the positives of the past Y2K trend with more supportive modern-day perspectives.