Indie Sleaze Style Returns: How Gen Z and Millennials are Rediscovering 2007’s Fashion Scene

Party like it’s 2007 – Indie Sleaze Is Coming Back

Brace yourself: the mid-aughts are making a comeback. Trends are moving at such a rapid pace that the trendsetting cool kids are now idolizing a time that was barely a decade ago. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore what the fashionable folks of 2007 used to wear.

For the hottest basement party or bloghouse gig that you heard about on Myspace or Facebook, all you needed were Jeffrey Campbell platform heels, American Apparel disco pants, and graphic tees. Recently, this style, known as “indie sleaze,” has been gaining traction in the internet lexicon. Gen Z has embraced it on TikTok, and there’s even a popular Instagram account dedicated to it. As TikTok has turned trend prediction into a trend of its own, the indie sleaze revival is perfectly positioned to tap into the nostalgia of both millennials and Gen Z.

To those tired of the pandemic, the days of affordable rent, shiny leggings, ballet flats, and weekend-long parties may seem like a distant dream. However, it wasn’t long ago that indie sleaze ruled over cities like Los Angeles, London, and New York, with all its messy and hedonistic glory.

Those in the know will remember the influence of “it girls” such as Alexa Chung and the Olsen twins (before The Row days, of course) during this era. It was a time when Facebook albums were filled with low-resolution point-and-shoot club bathroom photos, excessive smoking, smudged mascara, and, of course, the indie music scene that inspired the aesthetic.

Balenciaga’s slouchy Motorcycle Bag became the must-have accessory, while the effortlessly put-together style choices of Chloë Sevigny, Pixie Geldof, and Zoe Kravitz set the trend.

If you take a glance at the popular Instagram account @indiesleaze, which documents “the decadence of the mid-late aughts and the indie sleaze party scene that disappeared in 2012,” you’ll recognize the outrageous fashion faux pas that have become synonymous with this style.

Designers have also taken notice. JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 menswear collection featured bursts of neon, graphic prints, polo shirts, and silver spandex catsuits and leggings reminiscent of American Apparel. Chanel’s Spring 2022 models strutted down the runway adorned in layers of jewelry, metallic gold bodysuits, three-quarter leggings, and eclectic miniskirts. Gucci’s Spring 2022 show featured models, including the original party monster Macaulay Culkin, donning fluorescent leggings, thigh-high socks, and satin jackets paired with oversized shades. Marques’Almeida’s Spring 2022 collection celebrated young creatives with a clash of vibrant hues, animal prints, bleached denim, and layered fishnet dresses. Hedi Slimane, a fervent follower of youth culture, showcased disheveled knit cardigans, skinny ties, and ultra-slim denim in his seasonal collections for Saint Laurent and Celine.

Indie sleaze epitomizes nostalgia and our tendency to romanticize a fictionalized past that appears more innocent and carefree. With the resurgence of wired headphones and grunge-inspired fashion led by Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian, one can’t help but wonder: will we all be dressing (and partying) like it’s 2007 again?