Fashion is at its best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the comeback of the early internet aesthetic, an extension of the Y2K resurgence, represents just that. You may not believe that mall-kiosk slogan T-shirts and WordArt graphics are in style, but after we wore sweatsuits for a year, truly anything can happen. The nostalgic trend pays homage to the early days of the internet and all of the absurdity, overdone graphics, and sayings that came with it. The trend is confusing to define (it doesn’t really have a name) but easy to spot: think T-shirts with aggressive and/or hyper-specific slogans on trendy Gen Z influencers.
I prefer to call it “cheugy-core”: it is taking something that would otherwise be “cheugy” (or sometimes just absurd) and wearing it with intention and irony. The back of your closet and your local thrift stores should be your first stop to authentically embody the trend. However, a few brands get the phenomenon correctly, even adding in updated pop culture references and tying in other current trends. Plus, most of the items are super comfy. It’s camp for the new generation!