The return of ‘indie sleaze’! 2010s trend for provocative advertising, deliberately outdated technology and grungy parties is BACK after being ‘revived’ by Gen Z on social media
A trend forecaster has revealed how the mid-noughties trend of indie sleaze is set for a return, with the likes of proactive advertising, outdated technology and lengthy nonsensical Tumblr-style quotes set to take over Instagram feeds, the high street and catwalks.
The aesthetic – which sees people dress in a sexed up version of the classic ‘indie’ style – is largely associated with the first series of Skins in the UK, while internationally it’s been linked to MySpace, and the early days of Tumblr and photographers Terry Richardson and Cobra Snake.
Mandy Lee, a trend cycle analyst from New York, said there’s an ‘obscene amount of evidence’ that the style is coming back.
It’s already been seen in advertising, with Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian breaking the internet last month with a very provocative shoot for Kourtney’s sister Kim’s brand Skims.
The images saw the underwear clad pair pressing against each other while holding an apple between their mouths. More recently, Kim also launched a collaboration with Fendi where she posed in sheer underwear.
The adverts will remind many of the sexually-charged billboards which were popular in the early 2010s. US brand American Apparel had dozens of adverts banned in the UK and US in that time period as they were branded ‘gratuitous’ by the ASA.
Pictures showed models posing topless or bottomless with provocative captions – focusing on their bodies not the clothes they were selling. One image to advertise a body suit read ‘now open’ showing the model’s leg spread. Another showed a topless South Asian model pose in jeans with the caption ‘Made in Bangladesh’ covering her modesty.
Popular culture expert Nick Ede told FEMAIL the over sexualised styles which were once popular on VICE media owned i-D magazine and famed by photographer John Rankin Waddell are now ‘carefully curated pieces of fashion’ set to become a mainstream trend.
A trend forecaster has revealed how the mid-noughties trend of indie sleaze is set for a return, with the likes of proactive advertising, outdated technology and lengthy nonsensical Tumblr-style quotes set to take over Instagram feeds and catwalks. It’s already been seen in advertising, with Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian breaking the internet last month with a very provocative shoot for Kourtney’s sister Kim’s brand Skims.
More recently, Kim also launched a collaboration with Fendi where she posed in sheer underwear
Pictures showed models posing topless or bottomless with provocative captions – focusing on their bodies not the clothes they were selling
Banned ads: The company has come under fire in the past for sexualised models who look underage
‘The resurgence if indie sleaze has started to filter from the parameters of peoples memories to now a full on trend,’ the expert explained.
‘Taking the details of Y2K fashion and making it relevant for Gen Z is a really clever way of creating retro style modern visuals and creditability,’ he went on.
‘The over sexualised styles that scream of old i-D mags and Rankin shoots are now carefully curated pieces of fashion styling and brand association.
‘With Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian causing a storm on the red carpets with their partners creating indie sleaze looks it’s a trend that will only become increasingly more popular in the next few months.
The hyper-sexualised trend also ties into a new phenomenon dubbed ‘Horny Girl Autumn’ which has taken over Hollywood’s elite and seen A-listers pose in barely there ‘naked dresses’ and PVC – while also engaging in very raunchy PDAs
But it’s not just people showing their sexed-up side that is part of the indie sleaze movement.
After almost two years of lockdowns and no nightlife, young people are also returning to nightclubs with opulent displays of clubbing that was popular with the indie set of the mid aughts.
In July, revellers were given the long-awaited green light to party in a night described by some as ‘feeling like New Year’, eager party-goers across England piled onto dance floors of venues including Fabric, E1, Ministry of Sound and Egg nightclubs in London, Pryzm in Brighton, Powerhouse Night Club in Newcastle and Moon Acre in Dorset re-opened on the stroke of midnight – the very second that most legal restrictions on social contact were removed.
After almost two years of lockdowns and no nightlife, young people are also returning to nightclubs with opulent displays of clubbing. Revellers are pictured in a queue in Newcastle this summer
Friends in real life! The cast of Skins were often pictured partying off-screen too. Left to right: Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Larissa Wilson, Joseph Dempsie, Daniel Kaluuya, Dev Patel and Nicholas Hoult
The aesthetic – which sees people dress in a sexed up version of the classic ‘indie’ style – is largely associated with the first series of Skins in the UK. April Pearson is pictured as Michelle in the teen drama, which ran from 2007 and 2013
Laya Lewis is pictured as Liv Malone in Skins. The show was famed for its sex-scenes, drug taking and indie style
TV history: Kaya is best known for her role as Effy Stonem in Channel 4 series Skins
Mike Bailey (Sid) and April Pearson (Michelle) are pictured in the first series of Skins which was famed for its club-kid counter culture
Authentic: Skins ran for seven series and followed the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol
And pictures soon followed, with scantily-clad young people posing up a storm as they let their hair down for the first time in months.
The images could be right out of an episode of Skins, the cult teen drama that aired from 2007 to 2013 which focused on college students in Bristol drinking, drug-taking and having sex.
Another key trend making a return from the era is outdated technology, with Bella Hadid being spotted dozens of times in wired headphones stepping away from airpods.
In December, Vogue said the supermodel was bringing back the wire headphone after being photographed using a pair – while now headphones with a wire are outdated, in the 2010s in was seen as the ultimate hipster thing to do to bring a typewriter to a cafe instead of a latpop.
Trend forecaster Mandy Lee went viral this week after sharing a TikTok video about the return of indie sleaze.
‘There is an obscene amount of evidence that the indie sleaze tumbler aesthetics is coming back, we need to talk about it,’ she explained in a video which has been viewed more than a million times.
Another key trend making a return from the era is outdated technology, with Bella Hadid being spotted dozens of times in wired headphones stepping away from airpods
In the late noughties and early 2010s people brought typewriters to coffee shops as the ultimate hipster move
‘Indie sleaze took off in the early 2000s. So following the 20 year trend cycle this isn’t too far off.
‘Some key characteristics from this trend were provocative advertisements amateur style flash photography and opulent displays of clubbing (bonus points for watermark photography).
Last week Megan Fox joined her boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly for a shoot for British GQ, where she posed naked in nothing but a pistol holder.
Sharing an image of the cover to Instagram, Megan wrote: ‘the tale of two outcasts and star crossed lovers caught in the throes of a torrid, solar flare of a romance featuring: feverish obsession guns addiction shamans lots of blood general mayhem therapy tantric night terrors binding rituals chakra sound baths psychedelic hallucinations organic smoothies and the kind of sex that would make Lucifer clutch his rosary’.
Referring to the post, Mandy went on: ‘If you read Megan Fox’s nonsensical Instagram caption it reads like it was straight from a Tumblr quote.
Last week Megan Fox joined her boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly for a shoot for British GQ, where she posed naked in nothing but a pistol holder
Referring to the post, Mandy went on: ‘If you read Megan Fox’s nonsensical Instagram caption it reads like it was straight from a Tumblr quote
The hyper-sexualised trend also ties into a new phenomenon dubbed ‘Horny Girl Autumn’ which has taken over Hollywood’s elite and seen A-listers pose in barely there ‘naked dresses’ and PVC. Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are pictured at the VMAs
Travis Barker was share a snap passionately kissing his fiancé Kourtney Kardashian in a photoset that he uploaded to commemorate her 42nd birthday
Kesha’s debut TikTok was released at the height of Indie Sleaze – like many of the era she had smudged eyeliner
‘Also the rise in outdated technology back then it was typewriters and Polaroid this time around, it’s wired headphones and phone cases that mimic outdated technology.
‘Mash-ups were really huge during indie sleaze and TikTok has single handily brought bad mashups into mainstream culture.
‘The same way we saw Y2K and bling styles absolutely take over the last couple years pendulum will swing back to indie sleaze hipster in the next couple of years as someone who lived through it the first time around. I’m excited’.
Instagram account @indiesleaze, which ‘documents the decadence of mid-late aughts and the indie sleaze party scene that [ended] in 2012’ shares dozens of pictures everyday of people in the mid to late aughts rocking the trend.
One photographer connected with the era is Mark Hunter – also known as the cobra snake – who took dozens of A-listers photos in an amateur ‘flash’ style at house parties of the late 2000s.
This was reflected by many on an individual level, who would take a digital camera to a night club and upload hundreds of pictures online afterwards.
In one post, the account writes, ‘The Cobrasnake’s photos were Instagram before there was Instagram, capturing candids of celebs off-duty at the after party’ accompanied by snaps of Katy Perry, Kesha, Lindsay Lohan and Steve Aoki.
It’s one of the latest Y2K trends making a comeback.
This year teenagers who were children in 2014 have shared they are already nostalgic for the era and are taking to TikTok for praise their love for the fashion, music and style of the 2010s.
The bizarre trend sees teenagers playing music from the era, with hits from Lana Del Ray, Five Seconds of Summer, Arctic Monkeys and One Direction among the big hitters.
Seven years ago may feel like yesterday for many, but teenagers who were children in 2014 are already nostalgic for the era and are taking to TikTok for praise their love for the fashion, music and style of the 2010s. Pictured: A TikTok users tribute to 2014
In dozens of clips, Gen Zers show videos and pictures of styles and images from the time including thigh high socks, tennis skirts, ripped tights and over-saturated photos – as was also popular during indie sleaze.
Some are also dressing up in the trends with matte lipstick, American Apparel clothes and posing with cigarettes and multicoloured Starbucks drinks.
Those in their mid-twenties have also joined the trend, with many reactivating their Tumblr profiles to show what they wore as teens, while others have joked the era shouldn’t be romanticised as they cringe at their own fashion choices from the era.
Many have pointed to the social networking site Tumblr -‘and cult of Tumblr girls’ – to glorify the aesthetic – with #2014tumblr racking up more than 47 million views on TikTok, while #2014 has more than five million views and #2014aesthetic has a further 1.5 million.
The term Tumblr girls refers to women who often became ‘famous’ on the website – and usually considered attractive and interested in fashion, particularity hipster and alternative dressing.
They were characterised by posting many photographs of themselves, and having a grungy look.
The rise of indie sleaze is part of a wider trend for seriously sexed-up pieces post-lockdown, with ultra-slashed dresses, bustier tops, sheer ‘naked’ dresses and low-rise jeans with exposed thongs all on the rise.