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SS23: Y2K trend blossoms among denim street style

By Ole Spötter

Nov 1, 2022


Denim Street Style SS23. Images: Nick Leuze

With the Kingpins denim show in Amsterdam and the launch of several new denim collections, such as the return of the Moschino jeans line and the collaboration between G-Star Raw and model Rose Bertram, there was a strong focus on the popular material in October.

While denim was heavily featured on SS23 catwalks, including in the collections of Givenchy, Diesel and Balenciaga, the industry also showed its love for the fabric on the streets. FashionUnited took a look at street style for fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and Copenhagen, where it became clear that the Y2K trend had definitely made its impact on denim.

Shimmery denim

The first glimpse of shimmer on denim’s horizon was seen in the return of the noughties’ completely shiny material. Jeans with a metallic look, whether in classic denim blue, black or with a full radiant silver, were back.

Shimmering denim looks (from left): Nick Leute (left, middle) and Anastasia Fedoseeva /CPHFW

The style can be combined in a Canadian tux (denim from top to bottom) or alone, as a top or bottom with other contrasting pieces. To further spotlight the look, add pieces in complementary Y2K colour palettes, using shades like pink and baby blue.

Shimmering denim looks: Anastasia Fedoseeva /CPHFW


This colour palette could be seen on jeans with typically camouflage-esque prints. With some plain models with grey tones often present, the trend seemed more approachable than the classic military look of green and brown, as seen on the men in Milan and Florence.

Camouflage denim. Image (from left): Nick Leuze, Tanbetova/CPHFW

The camouflage jeans were combined with tops that utilised the print’s staple colours and brought a certain casualness, with long coats and loose jumpers added over the top. On the other hand, the use of short jackets and crop tops paired with the typically wide-cut trousers allowed for an exciting play on the silhouette.

Denim contrasts

Mixing other fabrics and different denim elements into jeans can provide even more variety. Contrasting materials can spice up the classic pants and can create different effects and styles depending on the application, such as a cowboy-inspired variant with an insert on the seat. The application of thinner fabrics at the seams can also create an exciting effect that makes the look appear more two-dimensional.

Denim mix. Images (from left): Anastasia Fedoseeva, Acielle Tanbetova/CPHFW, Nick Leuze

Short denim skirts and shorts

Also on show, or rather almost not on show, were denim skirts that had once again raised their hemlines. Whether in a punk-like style - dyed and with a studded belt - or a little more casual in combination with a long-sleeved top, the options were wide-ranging.

Short denim skirts. Images (from left): Nick Leuze, Anastasia Fedoseeva/CPHFW

As an alternative to the skirt, mini shorts were also present, combined with close-fitting pieces, like a sporty denim jacket or a shirt with a tank top.

Short denim shorts. Image: Nick Leuze

Boxer shorts

The following trend is less about the jeans themselves and more about how they are worn. In previous seasons, the thong had become a visible garment in womenswear, once again bringing the exposed underwear trend back from its noughties origins. Now, trousers in menswear are also slipping down the hips, in fits that show off boxer shorts.

Two types had been spotted on the streets; a body-hugging silhouette in tight-fitting boxer shorts with an elasticated waistband, and a casual iteration with a more bulging shape.

Boxer shorts. Images: Nick Leuze

Whether worn with tight jeans or baggy pants, the tight boxers were combined well with a cropped top to draw the focus to the lower half of the body. For the more casual looks, the trousers either sat so low that the boxer shorts were visible without any further styling, or the underwear was pulled a little higher so that the top could be visibly tucked in.

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This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.