Low Rises Are Back and We Have Mixed Emotions


It’s been pretty clear over the past few weeks — with Fashion Weeks around the world taking place that Y2K trends are coming back in full force, but none of it has been that divisive; until now.

Miu Miu made one of the boldest statements of Paris Fashion Week so far by bringing back low-rise bottoms. Showing low-rise mini skirts, pencil skirts and pants, it felt very reminiscent of Christina Aguilera at the 2002 VMAs, with a little more elevation and androgyny.

The show has had mixed reviews. Some people are all for it, while others wished to never see this trend step foot on a runway again.

We have mixed emotions. The mini-skirts in Miu Miu‘s new collection are tiny, with a maximum length of 8″. It’s the length that makes belts look big, exposes your naked butt cheeks to whatever surface you may be sitting on and honestly, doesn’t breed inclusivity.

My experience with low rise anything is pretty grim. The only time I could ever get away with a pair of low-rise jeans was at my eighth birthday party and I made the most of it. As I hit puberty in my early teens, when the low rise was still very much in fashion, I struggled to feel confident in them.

Typically, a low-rise piece sits close to the bottom of your hip bone. It’s basically as far down as you can go without revealing anything raunchy. In the early 2000s, low-rise skirts and pants were usually paired with a tiny crop top, showing maximum tum and sometimes a cheeky bit of underboob too.

This trend of crop top paired with low-rise was echoed in the latest Miu Miu SS22 show at Paris Fashion Week and for me and women like me, quite honestly, it’s pretty terrifying.

This combo is the most unflattering combo on a curvy body. I’m not saying that exposing fat, cellulite and stretch marks is unflattering, but unfortunately, we still live in a society that deems those things to be ‘imperfections’ and, therefore, many curvy and plus-sized women would feel uncomfortable in clothes that exposed all of those things.

More to the point; these clothes weren’t designed for everyone. This is clear because the Miu Miu fashion show included no size diversity whatsoever. Every model walking down that runway, in a low-rise skirt and tiny crop, was sample size or below.

If we constantly show the same body in these styles, then of course we’re going to associate them with a specific body type. When I think low-rise I think Paris Hilton, not Ashley Graham. I look at a thin person in a low-rise mini skirt and think; “I could never!”, which isn’t how I want to feel about fashion. I want to feel empowered.

That being said, this grunge, Xtina, Gwen Stefani, Fergie-esque grunge is really coming back into fashion. We’re seeing tiny mini skirts, platform bratz shoes, butterfly clips, high ponytails and heavy eyeliner everywhere.

I mean, Olivia Rodrigo is basically our modern-day Hillary Duff; she embodies everything Y2K and it’s a huge vibe. Those styles suit Olivia’s body and she leans into that, which is amazing — we should all lean into styles that suit us — but these styles, are also really limiting and only suit a certain body type.

The thing I’ve always loved the most in the mid-late 2000s is that you can kind of make up your own style. Past Y2K, fashion has felt really expressive and creative, with many designers taking elements from past trends, but ultimately allowing us to wear whatever we like. The return of such massive Y2K trends, feels like a bit of a step backward, given that much of the high-fashion industry is introducing the celebration of diversity.

If you’re reading this and you totally loved this Miu Miu runway, that’s completely understandable. The outfits were beautifully layered and put together with effortless style, and I can see a lot of those ‘fits being worn by influential people in the coming months.

I just think that it’s important to recognise a lack of diversity when we see it. I would’ve loved to have seen some curvy girls in these low-rise outfits. That would’ve been revolutionary.

Although we try to deny it, the fashion industry still has a massive influence on our body image and style choices, which makes it the industry’s responsibility to show us that any given trend can be worn on more than one body type.

For me, I don’t feel inspired to rush out and buy a low-rise mini. Or anything low-rise for that matter. And in my opinion, that is not the impact a modern-day fashion show should have on any viewer.

It’s 2021, it’s time to design for everybody.

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