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  • Writer's pictureEesha Bhagwat

How 2024 Fashion Trends are Changing Based on the US Economy

Y2K is the most recent fashion revival, overtaking the industry on a global scale. The revival of Y2K revolves around glitter, low rise, and pink and stems from the depressing year of 2020. It gathered traction in mid 2020 but four years later and the industry is in a lull debating where to go next. With the looming fear of a recession, an increase in inflation, and GDP growth declining, where is fashion headed next?

The Economy Today

The current state of the US economy shows similarities to the 2008 financial crisis. According to the US Wealth Management Bank, GDP growth declined from 3.6% to 1.6% from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024. According to the US Bureau, GDP growth declined from 3.6% to 1.6% from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024, unemployment changed little at 3.9%, but we are seeing a dramatic increase in layoffs in the technology sector with an estimated 42000 layoffs in 2024 already, mostly due to advances in AI.. While the US has not plunged into a recession yet, the future is uncertain. 

Fashion response to the Economy since 2020

Fashion changes in response to the Economy. In 2020 after the pandemic hit we saw bright, bubbly colors in all areas of fashion, this was to combat the depressing reality of lockdown and lack of social life around the globe. After the pandemic we saw the revival of Y2K, following the standard 20 year fashion cycle where trends tend to repeat themselves after 2 decades. This cycle is caused by repeating economic conflicts but also by human behavior. People remember the popular fashion when they were kids, so after 2020 we saw the 2000’s babies who had grown up watching Y2K evolve finally become adults which pushed its revival. Y2K has accomplished all corners of fashion, off-the-rack fashion, all four seasons of fashion week, and exclusive features in advertisements and editorials. With Y2K expressing itself globally, it is now on the decline and will be out by the end of 2025. This doesn’t mean low-rise pants and glittery tops will be out of style, it means the oversaturated revival of McBling, a subculture of y2k fashion that revolves around pink, juicy couture, and big logos (think Paris Hilton), will no longer be mainstream. Since Fashion trends change like a pendulum, going from one extreme to the other, we can predict where the industry is going next.

Where is Fashion Headed based on 2024 Q1 Reports?

With the second coming of Y2K now deceased, fashion is looking for something haute. After the original y2k came indie sleaze, this derived from the 2008 recession and the overcorrection from y2k. Y2K was all about bright colors, cutsey hairdos and makeup with the main color being pink. As an overcorrection, indie sleaze is dark colors, messy makeup, a nonchalant grunge look but still form fitting. But the reason fashion didn’t overcorrect all the way back to baggy grunge is because of the recession. When a recession hits, one thing holds true, sex sells. So instead of baggy, everything becomes form fitting, revealing, cropped and low rise. The sleaze in indie sleaze stems from the idea that sex sells, skirts become shorter and tighter, tights become see through and ripped, tops become tighter and darker, heels get taller, think of the pencil boot. 

It can be confirmed that Indie Sleaze is the next aesthetic to be revived after Y2K based on advertisements and editorials that set the tone for fashion movements. FKA twigs sparked controversy with her Calvin Klein ad where she was posed nude but covered by a denim jacket. The ad was banned in the UK and then partially reversed. This is believed to be the beginning of another mainstream “sex sells” movement. 

There’s also been an uptake in sex sells in the film industry, movies and shows such as Saltburn, Challengers, X, The Idol, and Euphoria all revolved around sex in an artistic sense that parallels the origins of Indie Sleaze. 


Within the next few years, Y2K fashion will cease to exist. With the uncertainty of the economy looming overhead, we can try our best to predict what will come next. Indie sleaze is on the rise in film and editorials. It’s only a matter of time before it reaches mainstream fashion. 

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