• Thelma Khupe

The Juicy Tracksuit: An Emblem Of Y2K Nostalgia

Birthed by founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, the now iconic Juicy tracksuits were first released in 2001 and quickly became a y2k phenomenon. The Juicy tracksuit was a pivotal moment in fashion history, breaking every rule that had ever been written condemning sweats as acceptable outdoor attire. They were casual but luxurious, accessible yet exclusive, comfy and also chic. It encapsulated the rich, pretty valley-girl ethos and by 2003, Hollywood and the wider pop culture were obsessed with its 'casual luxury' aesthetic. Anyone who was someone in the 2000's was seen sporting the signature co-ord, from Lindsey Lohan to Eva Longoria and even Beyoncé.

Popularised by heiress, socialite and OG influencer Paris Hilton, the Juicy Couture tracksuit was more than just a conveniently cute pair of sweats. The rhinestone encrusted, candy coloured, velour two-pieces were a fashion phenomenon so embedded in early 2000’s pop culture that even during it's resurgence today, it's still always associated with that era. It's a piece so imbued with y2k nostalgia that many have tried to replicate, but just can't.

“We would use a seam to make hips look more slender, and it was a time when everything was very low-rise, so the pocket on the jacket was cut to accentuate the waist. Everything was very specific,” the designer said. “It was [always a question of], ‘How do you make your body look the best?’ And one of the amazing things about it is that it looked good on everybody.”

The silhouette of Juicy's signature tracksuit was created with the purpose to be as flattering as possible. The zip-up hoodie had stomach-hiding pooches, cut and designed with a waist-nipping fit while the bottoms were made with a quick cord to be as fitting and as comfortable as possible. Some of the most famous pieces were embellished with gems across the bum area that spelled 'Juicy' and very tracksuit was branded with a custom 'J' zipper that was identifiable as the juicy brand.

The time of Juicy's popularity also coincided with the 2000's (very problematic) tabloid culture. A pre Instagram era where the likes of TMZ and Perez were constantly giving us unmediated access to celebrities personal lives, dominating the era with scandals as they 'entirely controlled the narratives of female socialites, actresses, and popstars alike'. Hollywood's 'Bad girls club' and A-listers were on the front of every tabloid and gossip site sporting some of their most papped' moments in Juicy.

Like in 2004 when Britney Spears had her bridesmaids wear matching pink Juicy suits for her wedding to K-Fed

Or when J-Lo in the video to ‘I’m real’ Feat Ja Rule. Adidas sneakers, nameplate necklace, hoop earrings and top knot bun.

When Amy Poehler’s Mean Girls character, a mom trying to fit in with her daughter’s friends

When Mariah Carey wore her tailored, cropped version with heels and diamonds.

When Lindsey Lohan wore her juicy tracksuit to a red carpet event

When Eva Longoria’s as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives wore Juicy sweats...

And Eva Longoria in real life

As Y2K fashion makes its way into Gen Z trends and pop culture, the iconic tracksuit has made a comeback. Depop is brimming with resales of '100% genuine, authentic' Juicy tracksuits while Urban Outfitters offers remakes of the original design. Fast fashion brands like Fashion Nova and Pretty Little Thing have remodelled similar tracksuits with Juicy as the blueprint, alongside wholesalers like Ali Express. But as with any iconic fashion piece, the replica's just aren't the same. And the infamous Juicy Couture tracksuit will always remain an emblem of Y2K nostalgia.

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