Y2K Fashion Defined 2021 — 10 Brands That Led The Charge

If 2021’s trend cycle has proved anything, it’s that, in fashion, everything always eventually comes back in style. From the industry’s penchant for high-waisted jeans and biker shorts made popular in the ‘90s to the resurgence of wallpaper floral prints a lá the 1970s, nostalgia is currently all the rage. But when it comes to this year’s Y2K fashion resurgence, there is a definitive list of brands (both heritage and new) that were essential in heralding the return of early 2000s staples.

When you think of trends from the early aughts today, it’s likely that the somewhat obvious baby tees, velour tracksuits, and chainmail dresses from cult-favorite labels like I.Am.Gia and Poster Girl come to mind. But Instagram-beloved brands like Aya Muse and Subsurface TV reminded customers this year that the clothes and accessories that were trending 20 years ago weren’t always the flashy, rhinestone pieces seen worn by the likes of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Sometimes it meant a timeless LBD by Calvin Klein or a slinky maxi skirt from Tom Ford’s time as creative director for Gucci. Translation: The ‘00s were just as much about effortlessly chic silhouettes as they were the more eye-catching designs. 

Ahead, a complete breakdown of the 10 brands that brought back 2000s fashion this year.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Mirror Palais

You may know New York-based brand Mirror Palais for its sold-out fairy dress with a massive waiting list. The small-batch label, founded by Marcelo Gaia, spiked to popularity after Bella Hadid wore one of its underwired floral-print bikinis on Instagram. However, it’s the sparkly dress — reminiscent of the micro-mini style from early aughts Disney Channel movie My Date With the President’s Daughter — which fans went wild for, that put the brand on the map. Other famous fans include Dua Lipa and Kendall Jenner, both of who have become Y2K style darlings thanks to their nostalgic approach to street style.

Poster Girl

There’s a good chance that you’ve come across Poster Girl, founded by Francesca Capper and Natasha Somerville, while scrolling through Instagram. The candy-colored dresses have a distinct Y2K vibe that’s reminiscent of the famous chainmail dress (made by designer Julien Macdonald) that Paris Hilton wore on her 21st birthday back in 2002. 


Of all the brands on the list, Miaou (which is French for “meow” — yes, the sound a cat makes) might take the cake as the one that’s most recognizable. Between the myriad of corsets and micro-mini skirts, you’d be hard-pressed to scroll through your timeline without coming across a member of the style set wearing something from the buzzy label. 

Subsurface TV

Visible thongs, also known as “whale tales” are just about as Y2K as it gets. The risqué silhouette was made popular again this year with the help of Subsurface TV, a buzzy, direct-to-consumer label with circularity at its focus. The Los Angeles-based brand’s take on the controversial trend manifests in a cozy pull-on pant with a high waist and subtle thong-shaped cutout along the back. Influencers like Emma Leger and Jen Ceballos of @endlesslyloveclub are just a few members of the style set embracing the comeback trend. 


Taking full advantage of the industry’s penchant for the early aughts, Blumarine’s newest creative director Nicola Brognano is giving the heritage Italian brand the comeback it deserves. Honing in all the key elements from the era, fashion lovers who missed the Y2K trends the first time around can now enjoy them at new heights thanks to the designer’s dreamy collections. From pleated micro-mini skirts and butterfly tops to gradient sunglasses, complete with a big “B” embellishment, and crystal logo belts, everything the brand has produced in its new era just proved that the nostalgic phenomenon is here to stay.

Naked Wolfe

Millenials on social media looking to live out their Bratz doll dreams in real time will love Naked Wolfe’s highly-coveted shoes. Fitted with its signature platform heels, all of the A-list-approved brand’s designs have a distinctly retro vibe that the likes of Kourtney Kardashian and singer Tinashe can’t get enough of. The London-based brand has more than a handful of styles on offer, including two-tone “skater” sneakers with a stacked flatform and a fan-favorite knee-high boot with a second-skin silhouette. 

Emma Brewin

Plush accessories were all the rage in the ‘00s so when Rihanna was photographed wearing a pistachio-colored (and, then a bubblegum pink) furry bucket hat from Emma Brewin while out on the town, it was only a matter of time before it became the latest Y2K trend to catch the attention of the style-set. Available in a slew of bold shades, the emerging hat designer from England has amassed more than 43K followers on Instagram, all hoping to get their hands on one of her playful headwear. Also on offer are bespoke options, like a snood and muffler-style hats.

Aya Muse

On the other end of the Y2K trend spectrum is a super-slinky approach to dressing (think: ‘90-era Tom Ford for Gucci) that cult brand Aya Muse has pretty much mastered. The West Coast brand created by designer Tina Rodiou is revered among its fanbase for its minimal silhouettes and sustainable efforts. Beloved by models like Kaia Gerber, Elsa Hosk, and Kendall Jenner, to name a few, the brand’s most quintessentially Y2K piece includes a dress with thong-like cutouts


Everyone knows I.Am.Gia for its sexpot styles, most of which look as if they were pulled straight from the 2000s. Between the unabashedly bold prints and form-fitting silhouettes, each collection features a range of styles that are riddled with details that have an overwhelmingly nostalgic feel. Baby tees and low-rise pants are plentiful on the website of the cool-girl label, founded by Australian designer Alana Pallister, but you can also count on I.Am.Gia for (party) occasion dresses 

JW Pei

“It’s not a bag, it’s a baguette.” Famous words spoken by fictional style icon from Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw. During the show’s peak in the early and mid-2000s, Fendi’s arm bag made several appearances, which cemented the compact silhouette’s spot in the fashion zeitgeist. As a result, we often associate the “baguette” style bag, (named for its ease of carrying under your underarm) with the era. So when JW Pei released its modern-day take on the trend for less than $100, it was no wonder that everyone from Hailey Biber to Emily Ratajkowski became just a few of its famous fans. Available in a slew of different colors and materials, the versatile style earned the title of one of the must-have bags of the year.

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