Indie Sleaze: The comeback of Messy Rage

By: Stephania Jugo Garcia

December 9, 2022

After the over saturation of Y2K’s comeback, the more muted sister version of “Indie Sleaze” makes a return from music to couture. The TikTok-named era spanned from 2006 to 2014 in the midst of the 2008 Housing Crisis, similar to the incurring recession today. Indie sleaze revolves around an escapism from reality, while rebelling against societal norms in a grungier way.
This era pulls from the 70s and 80s carefree, rockstar look with more of a fitted shape. Oversized fur and leather jackets are a staple to make this look effortless, compared to the blazers and longer fitted coats at the time. It draws more attention to the movement of the person while contrasting the tighter layer beneath the jacket.
While tights have been a staple for their practicality and classiness, indie sleaze takes another approach. Tights start to have a “worn in” look to them with rips and holes. Patterned and colored tights have come back in a bigger wave this time around, as seen with Valentino and Mugler’s most recent runway shows. Knee-high tights have also been another adaptation of this trend that can be seen this winter.
Shorter skirts and shorts also contrast both the bulkier jackets and figure-hugging tights, seen on the infamous MiuMiu micro-bottoms. Skinny jeans, specifically low-rise, were all the rage as well. While skinny jeans might not be in the foreground, low-rise has made a comeback with the help of Y2K trends.
Makeup looks and hairstyles have come and gone, but it’s essential to what makes this era what it is. The smudged eyeliner paired with silver shadow and “unstyled” hair give a more relaxed, carefree look. This “not trying” appearance is what the whole era is about, going against the stricter, basic beauty standards.
The return of “Indie Sleaze” can be attributed to the fashion cycle circling back, and society mirroring that time before it. Bands, such as the 1975 and the Arctic Monkeys, who created a path for the “Indie” music heard the first time around have released new albums just in time to set the new anthems. Devon Lee Carlson and Suki Waterhouse are just two fashion influencers that have brought the “rockstar girlfriend” or “rock girl” look to the forefront, which gives a nod to the original style icons, Anita Pallenburg and Alexa Chung. Social movements have only expanded to a larger sense of rebellion, like the fight to protect gay marriage during the early 2000s shifting to transgender rights currently. It’s not only fashion recycling and revamping, but society as a whole; the comeback of “Indie Sleaze” is only one example.

Photographer: Carolina Gomez

Stylist: Sydney Robinson

Models: Sophia Arabia, Catherine Nguyễn, Annabel Chilton, & Karley Kozlowski

Editor in Chief: Caitlin Thompson

Creative Director: Carolina Gomez

Fashion Director: Madden Cook