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When Y2K goes brutal

Emerging brands that have ridden the '0s aesthetic

When Y2K goes brutal  Emerging brands that have ridden the '0s aesthetic

From Nicola Brognano's butterfly tops for Blumarine to Miuccia Prada's DIY mini skirts for Miu Miu, the y2k revival of SS21 seemed like a welcome but doomed trend. Crotch skirts and low waists seemed too vivid a nightmare to re-enter our everyday lives in such a brazen way, yet one year on, we can say that the 2000s are more alive than ever. Maybe it was the pandemic prohibition that made us crave everything that oozes sex and debauchery or maybe the cloying minimalism of the last few years, the fact is that the y2k style is not only the favourite of the moment for it girls and celebrities, but it has reached the next stage, it has become brutal. A plethora of emerging brands have invaded the scene riding the y2k wave, but in a modern, if not futuristic key. Subversive basics, DIY, avant apocalypse and a massive dose of surrealism, as well as, of course, the iconic models of the millennium bag years, are the key ingredients of the maximalist aesthetic of these brands that we like to call, to quote an expression of Olivia Palermo, "brutal" y2k.


If Roberto Cavalli and Ottolinger had a child, it would be @didu_official, the brand founded in 2018 between Antwerp and Shanghai by the eponymous designer. Subversive culture and modern craftsmanship, sustainable fabrics and cut-outs in a mix of international influences, avant-garde garments that channel feminine power through cowboy hats, feathers and oversized bomber jackets: the Rosalia-beloved designer likes to call her aesthetic "a bit extra". Almost all garments are adorned with plush, are puffy or shiny and strictly low-waisted.

Western Affair 

@westernaffair, the London-based brand that shines like a jewel in the crown of sustainable luxury, was born out of a chance pilgrimage to the Polish-Slovak mountains, the hard work of founder Olivia Pudelko and an even tougher stance on fast fashion. Boots with a western allure, as the name anticipates, but also boots covered in Greezly-style fur. Pudelko, who works between Poland and London, started making footwear in 2017, during his final year at Westminster University. At the time, and for about three years after, she made each pair by hand using recycled materials, now working with a small production team to bring her unique and sustainable designs to life. The designer believes that we all share a responsibility to deal with our lavish consumerism by buying exceptional garments that 'represent who you are' and cherishing them 'until they fall apart'. 

Chet Lo

Behind Doja Cat and SZA's iconic neon spiked outfit is @chet__lo, a 25-year-old designer who lives and works in London and whose knitwear pieces have become a fashion obsession in recent months. The Asian-American-born creative had arrived in London by a twist of fate, in 2015, when he enrolled in a knitwear degree course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. His creations are clearly influenced by his Asian roots, with a sense of nostalgia accentuated by his fascination with old Japanese comics and films crystallised in his childhood memories including Godzilla and Ultraman. Between internships at luxury fashion bigwigs such as Maison Margiela and Proenza Schouler, the New York-born creative has made a name for himself thanks above all to the particular 'pointy' details of his creations, clothes that, like a second skin, resemble the python-covered coat of some exotic animal and at the same time exert an almost alien charm.


@eirocori is a clothing brand born in Shanghai, China, founded by Corie Ruochen Fan. It is characterised by an aesthetic that combines the trend of subversive basics and Japanese streetwear from 90s magazines with Fan's passion for art through colourful abstract prints. Lizzie McGuire's wardrobe but with a dystopian twist, designs that include practical yet elegant long sleeves, graphic t-shirts, cargo skirts that seem to come from a future where fashion is workwear but also grunge.

Liza Keane

Designer @lizakeane_ explored the idea of the suit as armour through an almost sculptural approach, where volumes trace the body and reveal it despite the fabric. From the Freudian Slip to the Negative minidress - worn by FKA at the NME Awards - the garments act as a 'second skin' that frees the wearer of inhibitions through a primal erotic sensibility, while maintaining a sense of elusiveness and privacy. Nude-effect prints and sculptural dresses, but also trousers tracing the legs of a centaur and vinyl glue tops, a fantasy universe with goth tints.