Every now and again, preceding trends return to add glam to the existing culture. The latest to make a comeback is the Y2K fashion that dominated the late 90s to mid-2000s. From low-rise jeans, monochrome outfits, baby tees, and halter tops to dark lip liners, leather skirts and over-the-top everything, the retro style is back in demand thanks to the young crowd and certain creatives. We have compiled a list of six Nigerian artists living and building loudly on Y2K fashion, a trend that reminds the millennials and Gen zs of their early childhood with a zeitgeist of nostalgia and deviance.
Mavin’s upcoming diva is into Y2K style big time. From her music videos to her onstage looks, she loves to be in boot cut trousers, monochrome tops, baggy jeans, and all. In an interview with Notion Magazine, the self-proclaimed celestial shares the inspiration for her style,
“With my fashion, I feel like growing up in two different places has influenced me, you know? Having two different cultures, two different styles, two separate, that’s two worlds. Both Benin and Lagos think contrasting things about what beauty is. Having two different beauty standards in the back of my mind has blended my mind in a way that’s made me very diverse. I know how to mix other things together, and I know how to express myself through art and fashion. It’s so natural to me because I like to express myself through art, and music is art. Fashion is art, so it just comes very easy to me. It’s not hard at all. I enjoy it a lot.”
Rema is another fast-rising act from Mavin Records that embodies the Y2K style effortlessly. He can be seen in primarily baggy jeans, bumpa jackets, head warmers, baseball jerseys and more; outfits depicting the ultimate Y2K cool kid. Speaking with Dazed magazine, the Benin prodigy traces his retro style to his childhood when he used to rock his elder brother’s chains and clothes. In his words, “The clothes were bigger, and I was looking really different in the era of skinny jeans. I look like 2pac!”
Nigerian alternative artiste, Lady Donli, has built her identity, fashion and art around the distinct demeanour that identifies with the Alte lifestyle. Invariably, her style depicts the Y2K fashion; and one of her music videos, Corner is known to be highly themed around the Y2K fashion. Donli is unarguably one of the championing creatives in the Y2K movement.
Fondly referred to as Boy Director, TG is one of Nigeria’s finest and most influential music video producers. He embodies the techniques and creativity of Y2K aesthetics so well from the old school glasses to the outfits; infusing his Y2k style into his videos which makes his work stand out. The industry has come to respect TG for creating some of the edgiest and most creative videos in the country.
Santino is another fast-rising alternative singer and rapper who stands out for not conforming to the norm when expressing his art in fashion and music. Formerly known as Santi, he is credited as one of the artists at the forefront of the alte movement, who is not afraid to sound and look different. His Y2k inspired style often blends into his music and visuals because as he puts it in an interview with DJ Booth; “Style goes hand in hand with the music. It’s very essential and gives you the full form of expressing yourself. Visuals allow people to connect the dots and grasp the message fully. The same goes with style.”
Born Bolaji Ojudokan, he is one of the leading faces of “eccentric fashion” and one-third of the musical trio DRB; the originators of the alté lifestyle. “Freedom to express yourself without boundaries, without the constraints of the mainstream in whatever sector, whether that’s fashion, whether that’s music, whether that’s photography, whatever it is man,” he explains in an interview with GRM Daily. As a pioneer of the movement, he lives by this; consistently repping the Y2K look and general aesthetics in his style and visuals.
Chinasa Afigbo is a creative freelance writer and a lover of nature.