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Trending 1 February 2022

The Comeback of 2010’s Indie Sleaze Style

Along with the resurgence of many other Y2K trends, the grungy hipster vibe is said to be returning.

Before the glitter, the fashion and the world of Euphoria existed, we had Skins. The British TV show about a group of teenagers who, mostly, got up to no good. Although we look back on this time when Skins reigned and jeans were tighter than ever as being far in our past, according to recent predictions – the resurgence of the early 2000s indie sleaze style is here. To help you dip your toe back into this grungy era, in a way that feels fashion forward, we’ve gathered the ingredients for the perfect throwback indie sleaze look below.

Words By Ruby Staley


Before the skater boys of now adopted the distressed beanie into their everyday repertoires, the grungy hipsters of the early 2000s were scarcely seen without a soft, woollen head accessory of their own.

From coffee after university classes, to sticky night clubs, the cherry on top of any indie sleaze look is a well-worn in beanie.

No matter whether it’s rainy, sunny or you’re headed out for the night with friends, your trusty beanie should never be too far.

For a subtle pop of colour, Diesel’s ribbed knit beanie is the perfect amount of thickness to sit atop your head comfortably, and stay there all night.

The expertly died wool already looks perfectly worn in, making it easy to simply add to any indie sleaze ensemble with ease.

Although a pop of rich colour is great, acid dye is even better when it comes to the indie sleaze look.

Pleasures’ dyed beanie is the perfect amount of grungy to suit this trend, retaining all the nostalgia of the early 2000s while keeping to a modern silhouette.

Wear with either a well worn or purposefully distressed pair of jeans and you’ve nailed the vibe.

Pleasures Backbone Dyed Beanie, was $114 now $91, Farfetch

Old School Camera

Some of the key components of this early hipster aesthetic include sexual and provocative ads (or now online content), amateur flash photography, heavy clubbing and EDM scenes.

So a return to retro tech as a whole is a huge part of the indie sleaze comeback.

And dabbling in analogue film is the perfect way to easily return to past technologies in a cool and creative way.

At the head of the revival, TikToker and Brooklyn-based trend forecaster Mandy Lee recently posted about the “obscene amount of evidence”  she had noticed to suggest the trend was on its way back.

One of her first clues was the now infamous paparazzi photo of Bella Hadid sporting wired headphones – with nostalgic technology being a huge part of this trend, it only made sense to draw the parallels.

Although advancements in digital film have been huge over the years, film has never really left the mainstream.

We still see 30mm shots on our Instagram feeds and take disposable cameras to music festivals into the 2020s.

To really nail film photography in an indie sleaze way, always ensure your flash is turned on.

The blurrier and more chaotic the images are, the better.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Starter Bundle, $225, The Iconic

Distressed Jeans

Although skinny jeans were a huge staple of the indie sleaze appeal, I think we as a society have well and truly moved on from this style. And thank god!

Leaving the silhouette safely in the past, distressed denim was also a huge staple of the grungy trend.

And there’s a way to do distressed that’s modern and flattering – far more so than the ultra-skinny that was rampant in the 2000s.

Ripped jeans and acid wash are both huge staples of the trend, both of which are still very readily available and on trend today.

From high to low end designers, all of our favourite denim brands have put their own spin on distressing the iconic fabric.

From huge rips in the knees, to bleach washing the denim – there’s no limits to the distressing trend.

For a classically distressed look that still fits the indie sleaze bill, Tommy Jeans‘ Ethan Relaxed Straight Jeans and Stolen Girlfriends Club Quiet Chaos Jeans are an easy way to dip your toe into the trend.

For something a little more playful and adventurous, but still very 2000s grunge, Amiri x Playboy’s collaboration Magazine Print jeans are the perfect mix of modern and nostalgia.

Nudie Jeans Co Blue Steady Eddie II Jeans, was $280 now $154, SSENSE

Multi Use Shirt

A great shirt is an essential in every man’s wardrobe, and trying out the indie sleaze look is no different.

Due to the grungy nature of this trend, choose a shirt that’s a little out of your comfort zone, possibly something a printed, coloured or even distressed.

From an iconic flannel to something more lightweight, the more miscellaneous the better.

Go for a fabrication that lends itself to wearing again and again, something durable like denim or cotton flannel.

Layer a few on top of one another, or wear one alone – however you do it, the trick is to wear it in a nonchalant way – no ironing necessary here.

Try out tying the shirt across your body when you get too warm, or throwing it over the top of a jacket for an added layer of warmth.

Go for a grungy pop of colour with Paul Smith’s Patterned Button Up Shirt that would pair well with light denim and black accessories.

If colour isn’t your thing, Naked and Famous’ Black Easy Shirt is the ideal monochrome shirt for any indie sleaze look.

However you choose two wear it, the beauty of an indie sleaze look is the ability to wear the pieces again and again. So invest in quality pieces, because you’ll get some great wear out of them.

Naked & Famous Denim Black Easy Shirt, was $345 now $231, SSENSE