Happy 1999 is a notorious computer bug that sends mass files via email transactions automatically. When the file is opened, it prompts a rather sarcastic “HAPPY NEW YEAR 1999!” titled window with fireworks. Unlike the brand that we are going to talk about, this one only spreads laggy-ness to a poor Windows CE 3.0 system rather than happiness.
A New Approach on “Happy”
“Sometimes… being happy… is not easy” – Happy99 Online
Happy99 (the fashion brand) adopts the name of the legacy and given its own “updated” meanings and usage. The “hackers” behind the new fashion bug are Nathalie Nguyen and Dominic Lopez – a creative couple that aims to create virtual clothes for the virtual world that are meant to be enjoyed virtually only. Rather than files that propagates satirical sadness, Happy99 Online’s new digital outputs stands with the Y2K era’s love for cute and technological utopian elements seen in fashion.
90’s Style in Y20K
If you’re a millennial or older, then you should be very familiar with 90’s popular trends: thick platformed sneakers, neon colour palette inspired by computer wires, and lots of Brats dolls hair clips and nails. Of course, these elements reappeared in Happy99’s collection too, but with a different vibe. Maybe it’s the upgraded-image-manipulating-software that is naturally affecting the output of the sneakers compared to 2D in the 90s, the hyper-real 3D rendering effect just makes all of their creations look way smoother, shinier, and absurdly… perfect. Their range of virtual creations includes sneakers, accessories, sweats and characters.
Credits: Happy99 Online
You’ve must have stumbled upon these 3D shoes designs on Instagram or Pinterest before. Popular Japanese celebrity and lo-fi kitsch style goddess Kiko Mizuhara was seen working with Happy99 Online in a photoshoot circa 2019. A year later, the two worked on a project again with the model’s own brand Office Kiko. Happy99 Online’s Y20K style is also appreciated by post-internet aesthetic artist and influencer John Yuyi, and many other creatives of design world.
IRL or URL Fashion? Dilemma With Sustainability Resurfaces
Fashion sustainability was one of the main reasons why the founders initiated the brand with URL products and experiences only. For SS20, Nguyen and Lopez worked on a 20-outfit virtual fashion show with 3D models of young creators in real life. The show received many notable praises from fashion followers for giving a taste of satisfaction from virtual fashion.
Image / @happyonline.com
However, they changed their minds with the soaring demand on social media. Despite the challenges that everyone is facing this year, Happy99 Online managed to create several IRL products that sold out almost immediately. In 2020, they tested the water by releasing their most popular 3D sneakers IRL as plushie slippers, then moved on with other merch such as toys and sweats.
Happy99’s accessories are priced at $15 USD+ and clothes ranges from $100 USD+. You can buy them at https://happy99.online/
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