At first glance, many don't understand terms like "Dark Academia", "Royalcore" or "Y2K". Regular users of social media may have noticed them as hashtags. Behind this there are different aesthetics with a certain style of clothing, furnishing and sometimes also a lifestyle. Many of these trends became known a few years ago on the "Tumblr" blogging platform and have recently been experiencing a resurgence on TikTok and Instagram thanks to Generation Z. What unites the aesthetics of "Dark Academia", "Y2K" and co is their nostalgic origin.
One of the most popular trends is "Dark Academia" - the hashtag has over two million views on Instagram. If you wanted to visualize the mood he spreads, it would probably be that of a dark, rainy day spent in the library.
The Urban Dictionary, a dictionary of slang terms, describes Dark Academia's aesthetic as that of "well-read vintage emo." Representing a sense of classical literature, philosophy, art and culture, she is "inspired by themes of existentialism and death". The outfits that can be found on Instagram and Tiktok under the hashtag "Dark Academia" are often reminiscent of a mixture of vintage school uniforms: dark, muted colors, white collars, blazers, plaid patterns and derby shoes. In addition, analogue pastimes such as writing letters or poems, playing instruments or taking pictures with old cameras are often romanticized. The "Dark Academia" trend has been known for a long time, but the success of the dark horror comedy series "Wednesday" has given "Dar Academia" a new boost.
Netflix series like "Bridgerton" or "The Crown" are probably not entirely innocent of this trend: "Royalcore" stands - unsurprisingly - for an aristocratic, royal style.
In terms of clothing, the trend – in contrast to "Dark Academia" – is based on light colors, long, flowing dresses made of tulle, corsets and jewelry made of gold and pearls. The furnishings of this trend also appear luxurious and pompous: stucco walls, antique furniture made of heavy wood with golden ornaments, crystal chandeliers, armchairs covered with velvet.
Related to "Royalcore", one could call the "Balletcore" trend. The light, pastel colors, tulle, satin and pearls can also be found here. There are also bows, bodies, cardigans and skirts with a wrap look, ballerina shoes and long cuffs – many of them in pink. On TikTok, many actual ballerinas share their outfits for ballet lessons under the hashtag in so-called "Get ready with me" videos.
"Y2K" is probably the trend that is also the most discussed outside of social media - and which has persisted for a long time. It's about the aesthetics of the 2000s: the letter Y stands for year, 2K for 2000. Many who grew up during this time probably know the feeling of finding exactly the same clothes in fashion shops for a long time, which up to now have been rather embarrassing was to have worn them once: low-rise hipsters with flares, crop tops, colorful hair clips, crocheted bags, rhinestones - the fashion of yesteryear is undoubtedly back and is celebrated above all by Generation Z. On Instagram has the hashtag
Series and films from the early 2000s such as "Gilmore Girls" or "Sex and the City" are shared and discussed on Instagram and TikTok under the hashtag, stars of this era such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton are often included of their outfits at that time. Like the other Gen Z trends, "Y2K" isn't just reflected in clothing choices. Colorful clamshell phones, Hello Kitty or Bratz dolls are trendy accessories that are exhibited in some rooms, just like silver disco balls or lava lamps.
Sources: Instagram, TikTok, Urban Dictionary, Stylebook