Aesthetics Wiki

DISCLAIMER! This page is an overview of all aesthetics that are generally labelled under the Y2K umbrella, and is still under construction.

Y2K originally referred to a futuristic aesthetic prevalent in popular culture from roughly 1997 to 2004, named after the Year 2000 problem which occurred in this era. However, the term has massively expanded since then due to misappropriation and semantic shift on social media, and this specific aesthetic is now retroactively known as Y2K Futurism.

Since the Early 2020s, Y2K became a broader term in scope, expanding to often describe the societal zeitgeist, pop culture, fashion, and technology from all of 2000–2009 rather than just 2000–2004, and this wider group of aesthetics described as Y2K has made a resurgence in popular culture and social media.

Y2K Aesthetics[]

Y2K Futurism[]

Y2K Futurism (also referred to as Cybercore, Cyber Y2K, Kaybug, or just simply Y2K) is an aesthetic that was prevalent in popular culture from roughly 1997 to 2004, succeeding the Memphis Lite and Grunge eras and overlapping with the McBling and 2K1 aesthetics. Y2K Futurism aesthetics use futuristic graphic design and CGI. Graphic designs usually feature thick lines, bold minimalism, and heavy use of iconography. CGI art is more blobby looking, having more gradients in contrast to Metalheart or Chromecore. Common colors used in Futuristic Y2K art are, but not limited to, chrome, icy blue, ocean, bright oranges, glossy white, and black (for linework).


McBling is an aesthetic that was popular from roughly 2000 to 2008, overlapping with the Y2K, UrBling, Surf Crush, Frutiger Aero, 2K1, and 2K7 aesthetics. It was coined through a Facebook page in 2016 made by Evan Collins of the Y2K Aesthetics Institute. It is often loosely referred to as "Y2K fashion", "Trashy Y2K", or simply "Y2K" on social media.

Gen X Soft Club[]

Gen X Soft Club was a popular aesthetic in the Late-1990s to Early-2000s, branching from the popular Y2K Futurism movement of the time. It is considered a more natural and "down-to-earth" look at futurist optimism of the time. It's characterized by urban typography, a use of plants/nature, underground metros/train stations, airports, city skylines, and a heavy use of minimalism/cool (cold) color schemes.

Dark Y2K[]

The Dark Y2K aesthetic is one that takes inspiration from many other similar styles that were popular at the time, Like scene, emo, and an earlier form of Twilightcore. This aesthetic is not only defined by its fashion, but also by a person's interests and personality, activities, and more that define someone's character.


FantasY2K (a portmanteau of "Fantasy" and "Y2K") is an aesthetic that takes elements of Medieval Fantasy aesthetics and reinterprets them to conform to the fashion trends of the 2000s. The balance of these clashing styles can vary from haute couture runway looks with vaguely fantastical themes, to film and TV costumes that are passable as loosely historical, but with definite anachronisms - such as modern hairstyles, makeup and silhouettes. The aesthetic takes an unapologetically kitsch approach in its disregard for historical accuracy in favor of contemporary trends. For this reason, it is often adopted with self-aware irony, particularly in satirical media such as A Knight's Tale or Ella Enchanted.

Cheiron Crush[]

Cheiron Crush is a music video aesthetic that was prevalent from roughly 1997 to 2003. This video style co-existed inside the Y2K Era. In turn, the name comes from Cheiron Studios, where many pop hits of the era were produced. Camera flash shutter, chromatic aberration, and magenta colors are common visual features of this style.


2K1 is an aesthetic that was prevalent from roughly 2001 to 2004. This style bridged the gap between the Y2K and McBling eras. Raunchy "big red text" comedies, throwback jerseys, Minivan Rock, and Neptunes-type hip-hop production all surged at this time while Teen Pop was slowly being phased away. American flag imagery and "Dirty"-style fashion were a key component to this aesthetic which flourished in the post-9/11 world.

90s Cool[]

90s Cool (also known as The Matrix Effect or Bullet Time), was an aesthetic that started in the mid-1990s and emphasized martial arts-style fight choreography mixed with computer generated (CGI) effects, this aesthetic was loosely inspired by the growing rise of anime in the west, and had a very rigid use of Y2K Futurism and Cyberpunk aesthetics.

90s Cool became more prominent after the success of The Matrix movies. During The Matrix hype around 1999/2000, studios were quick to release the next Matrix by taking influence from the various styles that were done in the iconic film from 1999. The aesthetic was mostly known for its use of Bullet Time (a slow motion camera tracking shot) and its costumes which included black leather trench coats, combat boots, Oakley glasses, bullet proof vests, latex catsuits and dark formal wear.