CAST your mind back to last autumn. At the time, two headlines caught my eye: the first was that a dedicated team at Nasa had commenced work on investigating UFO sightings and the second was a prediction that low-rise jeans were set for a big fashion revival.

Fast forward a few months and all eyes are firmly on the skies. Hot on the heels of the Chinese spy balloon drama, recent days have seen things ramp up several notches with a trio of unidentified flying objects being shot down over North America.

As Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy said in the film Anchorman: “Boy, that escalated quickly.” Among the more surreal moments was White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisting that there is “no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns”.

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Jean-Pierre added she was keen to offer reassurance on the matter, before making an off-the-cuff reference about loving the movie ET. Well, she was hardly going to say there had been a mass prison break from Area 51, was she?

But it appears we are fighting a war on two fronts. Yep, while everyone is distracted by what’s unfolding in the firmament, here on the ground, low-rise jeans are taking hold by stealth. I saw my first pair in the wild last weekend. In a garden centre coffee shop of all places. Is nowhere sacred?

And just like that Y2K 2.0 is go. UFO fever and dubious sartorial choices, it seems, are cyclical beasts. The original Y2K spanned the mid-1990s to 2004 (the years leading up to and just after 2000) when all things millennium-related – from dome-shaped buildings to Doomsday prepping – dominated the news.

It is a period that also coincided with a pop-culture craze for UFO sightings and so-called “alien abductions” being reported. Y2K was synonymous with “the end is nigh” vibes – perhaps no coincidence given this was when many Gen-Xers, who had grown up against a backdrop of the nuclear-anxiety and Cold War paranoia in the 1980s, came of age.

Our brains were wired for looming disaster, conspiracy theories and impending invasion from the skies. Which is why a diet of The X-Files coupled with a slew of Hollywood blockbusters – Independence Day, Contact, Mars Attacks, Men in Black, The Faculty – were staple viewing.

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That much makes sense. The dodgy denims, though, I can’t explain. But somehow, they too became an emblem of the Y2K era, bringing with them a clutch of offshoot menaces such as exposed thongs, lower back tattoos, belly button piercings and acres of taut (or not) abdomen on display.

There was a bold derring-do when it came to just how low said waistbands could go; to the point where – should extraterrestrials have rocked up to colonise Earth – they might have been momentarily baffled as to whether they’d stumbled into a nightclub or a gynaecologist’s office.

It was not for the faint-hearted. The queen of ultra-low-rise jeans was it girl and socialite Paris Hilton. Spare a thought for the beleaguered post-production team on Hilton's then-reality series The Simple Life – pixelating her bum crack was pretty much a full-time job.

Leading the charge for the current resurgence of this questionable trend is Julia Fox, a US actor and model. Fox has even given a Blue Peter-style tutorial on her Instagram page, where she cut the waistband off a pair of jeans, then fashioned the scrap material into a tiny bandeau top.

The end result was quite possibly the most daring take on double denim – aka the good old Canadian tuxedo – since records began. And I include Christina Aguilera’s 2002 Dirrty phase in that.

The Herald: Actor and model Julia Fox fashioning a pair of jeans with the waistband cut off and then fashioned into a topActor and model Julia Fox fashioning a pair of jeans with the waistband cut off and then fashioned into a top (Image: Newsquest)

Further proof that Y2K 2.0 is upon us: pop stars S Club 7 – known for bubblegum hits such as Bring It All Back, Reach and Don't Stop Movin' – have announced a 25th anniversary reunion tour.

So, what does it all mean? Nothing really. Except we humans have a canny knack for repeating old patterns. Next up: dusting off the late noughties and early 2010s for another spin around the block.