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Lila Genix screen accurate outfits 02
Photography Lila Genix

Meet the viral TikToker cosplaying as nostalgic Y2K teen movie faves

We speak to the Gen Z collector scouring second-hand sites to create screen accurate looks for TikTok – from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 90s mini-dresses and pop-punky Y2K Freaky Friday fits to Scream slasher looks

From obsessing over 1998’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer to slating 2012’s Girls, TikTok has spawned new armies of teenage fans captivated by nostalgic 90s, 00s, and 2010s television and films [many of which debuted long-before they were even born]. Now, rather than simply binge-watching their fave flicks, Gen Z fans are diving into their fashion archives – scouring secondhand sites for screen-accurate pieces worn by their most-loved characters and showing off their finds online.

“It always starts more with a character or a show than with a look in particular,” 19-year-old Lila Genix – who has gone viral on TikTok for sharing her screen accurate clothing collection – tells Dazed. “I’ve always loved to cosplay and used to recreate character outfits before I knew what ‘screen accurate’ was, and that you could actually find the exact same outfits used by costume designers for shows and movies.” 

Since posting her first TikTok in January – a compilation of looks worn by Buffy Summers [Sarah Michelle Gellar] in Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Genix has posted over 70 screen accurate videos on TikTok, each including vintage designer pieces from brands like Chloé, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, and Versace, plus nostalgic Y2K labels like Custo Barcelona, Juicy Couture, Miss Sixty, and Blumarine

Besides Buffy, the TikToker also shares looks from the fashion closets of shows like Gilmore Girls, Friends, Charmed, Pretty Little Liars, American Horror Story, One Tree Hill, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Euphoria. Other screen accurate ensembles have included floral Moschino dresses from 2004’s 13 Going on 30 and gothic looks from cult horror films like 1996’s Scream and 2004’s Seed of Chucky

According to Genix, getting her hands on a screen accurate piece can take up to months of combing through secondhand sites like Ebay, Depop, and Vinted. “To find the pieces it depends if I already know the brand or not,” she explains. “Today there’s a lot of sites, blogs, or fan accounts on Instagram that identify screen accurate items, so when the brand is known I just have to search for the outfits on second hand sites.”

She continues: “When the brand hasn’t been found, then it’s hours of scrolling with different keywords or using Google’s reverse image search. I also read interviews of costume designers to know what brands were used in a show, and auction sites that sell screen-worn outfits can also be very helpful when they share the brands.”

“When the brand hasn’t been found, then it’s hours of scrolling with different keywords or using Google’s reverse image search. I also read interviews of costume designers to know what brands were used in a show” - Lila Genix

So far – besides dying to get her hands on more pieces from Buffy Summers and Pretty Little Liars’ Aria Montgomery’s on-screen wardrobes – the collector’s favourite find from her screen accurate collection is a silky, patchwork Diane Von Furstenberg midi dress worn during 2003’s Freaky Friday’s makeover scene, which sees Jamie Lee Curtis’ character transform from workaholic mother to punky noughties MILF. “I watched this movie so many times when I was younger, and I always loved [the dress],” says Genix, whose TikTok showing off the look racked up over 70,000 views. 

Elsewhere, the tag #screenaccurate has reached over 61 million views – with users sharing breakdowns of their screen accurate outfit searches, hauls from their latest vintage finds, and full looks from their collections. Among the decades-spanning vintage collectables, see: Rory Gilmore’s asymmetrical Betsey Johnson graduation dress, Hannah Montana’s floral 70s-style On Gossamer corset, Lindsey Lohan’s stripey Jean Paul Gaultier top from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Brittany Murphy’s sheer Victoria’s Secret slip dress worn in Uptown Girls.

For many of the screen accurate creators, Genix included, their cosplayed looks are shared in front of a backdrop of iconic 90s and 00s film and television posters, covering their bedrooms wall-to-wall with teen dramas like 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Clueless – a hint at the new-era nostalgia towards the programmes held by Gen Z viewers. 

“I noticed that my most-watched videos are the ones with 90s or early 2000s content,” says Genix. “I get a lot of messages from viewers telling me that it’s comforting to see content that reminds them of their childhood.” In fact, in the comments, followers can be found reminiscing on their favourite moments from the featured on-screen characters, gathering tips on their own screen-accurate searches, or requesting specific characters and outfit choices for the creators to cover next.