As is the case with most of the '90s and early 2000s trends Gen Z has recently revived, the aesthetic is a retaliation to the conspicuous wealth that emerged in the 2010s economy. Indie sleaze is an uncurated, hot mess — the opposite of the clean, minimal vibe of millennial productivity and influencing. This post-coronavirus recession rise of the hipster echoes the emergence of the Great Recession hipster in 2008, both fueled by a nostalgic search for an easier era.
Indie sleaze also represents a thirst for fun after economic distress. Lee explained to Vogue that people are craving community and creativity after lockdown. “I feel like with the indie sleaze subculture, 15 years ago, community, art, and music were so powerful,” she said, “that’s what brought people together.”
Gen Z’s love for indie sleaze isn’t just about reckless, post-lockdown euphoria. It’s a search for a simpler era, one uninhibited by social media and adult expenses.