What Is Indie Sleaze Aesthetic, And How Do You Wear It?

Many celebrities love this look, including Bella Hadid, and it is everywhere on the Spring 2023 runways. Let’s start incorporating it into our wardrobes as well.

As we head into 2022, we’re seeing a lot of recycled fashion trends. There’s more to these neon colors than skin-baring cuts.

There were flashes of the moody styles of high school ‘underdogs’ translated through goth and emocore within the mega-pop aesthetic, similar to girl groups like Play and girl-next-door solo acts like Britney Spears. There was only a matter of time before “indie sleaze” again dominated the spotlight.


Indie sleaze is the new hipster if Barbie pink is the new black. In contrast to Barbie pink, Indie Sleaze was made famous by millennials circa 2008, but its origins can be traced back to the late ’80s/early ’90s.

Brandon Nicholas, the wardrobe stylist and image consultant, said, “The Hipster movement had this, ‘I don’t try hard mentality.'” It’s just the generations that differ. Millennials who embraced Indie Sleaze were not making a fashion statement; they were putting more value on experiences instead of material goods.

While the Indie Sleaze aesthetic has gained media attention recently, Nicholas suspects the vibe began decades ago, dating back to early Covid.

It was still possible for so-called rebel millennials of the early 2000s to put together outfits that rejected trends but still looked pretty put-together while browsing Tumblr, creating MySpace albums filled with flash photography, and listening to Grimes and The Veronicas.

Fashion racks at your favorite stores aren’t the only places you’ll find indie sleazes. In addition to challenging fast fashion’s morals, Gen-Zers probably shop at thrift shops for their wardrobes. The trend is not new, but Nicholas points to Bella Hadid as the “queen” of indie sleaze this year, saying, “Whatever she wears, everyone will wear.”

In contrast to renowned hipsters of yesteryear, like Kate Moss, Kristen Stewart, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan, acts like Demi Lovato, Billie Eilish, Debby Ryan, and Lil Nas X are embracing the aesthetic today.