By Gladys Ng

Charli XCX Brings Back Y2K ‘Brat’ Raver Chic

From underground warehouse parties to mainstream, the 2000s party girl aesthetic is here to stay
Photo: Harley Weir

Spearheading a bold revival of the Y2K raver girl aesthetic, British pop star Charli XCX is breathing new life into the deliriously over-the-top fashion of club kids. With her edgy mix of early 2000s fashion, leather and feminine silhouettes, she embodies a bold and rebellious spirit.

The pop star has fully embraced the trashy and unabashedly vibrant looks once confined to sweaty warehouse parties—fishnets, fur coats, and blinding neon ensembles more at home on the dance floor than the runway.

With her signature mix of punk attitude and campy glamour, Charli is ushering in a new era of raver chic for a generation of unapologetic youth.

MySpace Era

Image: Nick Knight

At just 16 years old, Charli was already making waves by posting edgy electropop tracks on MySpace as a teenager. Those raw, youthful songs quickly led the young singer from Hertfordshire to perform at underground warehouse raves in London.

Those grungy rave nights helped shape Charli’s bold, rebellious style that shines through her music and fashion today. It didn’t take long for record labels to come calling. In 2010, at just 18 years old, Asylum Records signed the talented artist.

For the next few years, Charli worked hard to make a name for herself, dropping singles and mixtapes like Heartbreaks and Earthquakes. Then in 2012, she got her big break co-writing and providing vocals for Icona Pop’s worldwide hit I Love It.

Charli’s featured vocals on the pop anthem about not caring what others think made her an overnight raver girl icon. From sweaty underground raves to international success, her unconventional rise proved she was never going to be just another cookie-cutter pop star.

Boiler Room

Charli’s highly-anticipated PARTYGIRL Boiler Room set in Brooklyn was a celebration of her hyperpop sound and raver girl aesthetic. The warehouse venue was transformed into an immersive party experience, with Charli taking centre stage behind the DJ booth surrounded by a railed balcony for VIP guests. Her high-energy set featured a mix of her own hits like Vroom Vroom and unreleased tracks, blended with remixes and collaborations.

Special guests added to the electric atmosphere, with Addison Rae joining Charli for a performance of their single 2 Die 4, and Julia Fox making a surprise appearance to debut her own song. Charli’s fiancé George Daniel and producer A.G. Cook also took turns on the decks, keeping the crowd moving with thumping basslines and glitchy beats that reverberated through the warehouse.

The exclusive event perfectly encapsulated Charli’s defiant, in-your-face persona, as she delivered an uncompromising set that leaned into hyperpop’s confrontational and maximalist aesthetics through her bold looks and stage presence. A second edition of her PARTYGIRL Boiler Room set will be happening on July 12th at Amnesia Ibiza.

Star-studded 360 Music Video

Photo: Instagram / @charli_xcx

The 360 music video is a star-studded music video featuring it-girls and cool internet celebrities like Julia Fox, Gabbriette, Rachel Sennott, Chloe Cherry and Richie Shazam. Released in June 2023 to promote her new album titled Brat, the video opens with the pop star interrupting a dinner party.

The premise revolves around them “fulfilling the prophecy of finding a new hot internet girl to carry on their kind”. They set their sights on the waitress, advising her to channel an enigmatic “je ne sais quoi”—being simultaneously known yet unknowable, hot yet scary.

The 360 visuals perfectly capture Charli’s edgy, Y2K-inspired aesthetic while showcasing her ability to rally a squad of it-girls who are redefining internet fame and setting trends.

Brat Album

Photo: Instagram / @charli_xcx

Her new album Brat is a full-on celebration of her hyperpop sound and unapologetic “raver girl” style. The record embraces a brash, maximalist vibe, with thumping beats and glitchy production inspired by the 90s and 00s French dance music. She leans all the way into the raver aesthetic, rocking skintight latex outfits, crop tops, and low-rise jeans that ooze rebellious attitude.

Her bold, over-the-top looks are a defiant middle finger to mainstream pop, fully committing to hyperpop’s confrontational spirit. While songs offer candid lyrics about relationships, Brat is first and foremost a raucous party album. Standout tracks like 360 and So I solidify it as Charli’s most cohesive, acclaimed project yet—cementing her reign as the queen of hyperpop’s raver girl revival.

From those sweaty warehouse parties to global stardom, Charli has stayed true to her raver girl spirit every step of the way. Brat is a full circle moment cementing her as the ringleader of a new generation’s unapologetic youth culture.


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