What is VSCO?

A new trend is sweeping social media, and interestingly has teenage girls everywhere hooked on a lifestyle dominated by environmentalism. The importance of high self-esteem and above all else, a colourful surfer themed aesthetic. The hashtag #VSCOgirl has been used on more than 1 Million posts globally. Used to describe the very latest subculture to arise from apps like TikTok and Instagram. Captivating Millennials and Gen Zers all over the internet. 

The VSCO trend is named after a photo editing app, which doubles as a sort of Instagram substitute. Whereby you can edit photos and upload them to your profile. The only difference being VSCO doesn’t allow anyone other than yourself to see how many “favourites” you receive or followers you have. This self-esteem saving feature is a welcome addition to a teenage girls’ internet ecosystem. Considering, in contrast, how more prominent apps like Instagram seemingly use likes and followers as social currency among its users. 

“The Tumblr girls of 2019”

Sharing not only the name but also some of the ideals. The so-called ‘VSCO girl’ is a product of a Gen Zers reaction to the world. From being issue-conscious to growing up with technology. Described as “the Tumblr girls of 2019” this like any other previously dominant trends, whether by design or as a byproduct, establishes a social norm that makes people virtually indistinguishable from one another, both online and in real life. 

An evolution of the “basic bitch” that swept the internet five years prior. The VSCO girl trades pumpkin-spiced lattes for Hydro Flask water bottles. Ugg boots for Birkenstocks, and North Face jackets for oversized tees. While the VSCO trends ‘outfit’ of choice also puts heavy emphasis on accessories like puka-shell chokers, Pura Vida bracelets, and Fjallraven backpacks.

The first trend exclusive to ‘Gen Zers’

To Millennials, the VSCO trend is, of course, an upsetting sign that they are getting old. Prominent with ‘Gen Zers’ born in the late 90s or early 2000s. This trend is one of the first to be conceived by and for the first digital-native generation. Millennials were introduced to the internet and social media, but Gen Z was born into a digital world. The difference being, for Millennials, trends were influenced primarily by music, film, magazines, but for teenagers in 2019 the influence also comes from ‘influencers’ via photo-editing apps like Instagram and Pinterest.

Millennials quickly took to Instagram and the digital culture created as a result – one that puts enormous stock in the number of interactions a post receives, and how many followers you amass, is something VSCO’s like-free approach is trying to counteract. With the VSCO girl’s casual beach-wave hair, “no-makeup” makeup, and carefree 90s-meets-surfer aesthetic antithetical to the heavily contoured, carefully curated fashion Instagram influencer. Think of VSCO as the anti-influencer. With wardrobe staples like Crocs and Birkenstocks, conceived extensions of the “ugly fashion” movement that eschews the idea of what is conventionally popular. 

The fact it is called an “ugly fashion” movement, however, and the fact we have catwalk shows championing “normcore” styles have only proven that by defying the status quo, they’ve only succeeded in creating trends of their own. So, rather than seeing VSCO as a revolution, challenging the very nature of the fashion industry it should be taken for what it is, just another trend that will ultimately come and go, and for the majority of us, pass us by. 

VSCO TRAINERS

For some of you, you won’t be young enough to fully understand the VSCO trend sufficiently to be comfortable styling it on your own, but you will be young enough to want to. So for those who fall into that category, we thought it would be a good idea to suggest some trainers that fit the mould, so to speak.

Steve Harrington X Nike Blazer Low

Our first suggestion leans on the environmentally positive nature of the trend, with the Steve Harrington x Nike Blazer Low. A shoe designed with the help of LA-based artist Steve Harrington. Originally released to help usher in Earth Day 2019. The design comes complete with a cartoon design on the shoe’s upper that personifies the globe as it walks gleefully with its swinging arms and legs. Simplistic in execution with an all-white finish, but very much appropriate for the VSCO girls issue-heavy sensibilities.

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Off-White x Chuck Taylor All Star 70

The second pair we want to put forward is a bit of a ‘Sneakerhead’ cross over. Combining the VSCO girl staple the Chuck Taylor All Star 70 with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White ‘The 10’ Collection. The resulting creation is a slick take on the classic. Using Abloh’s ‘Ghosting’ theme to create a translucent white upper and an ice-blue gradient on the sole. You might be thinking this is a bit of an expensive option, but in reality, the whole VSCO trend is actually a lot more exclusionary then it tries to appear, with a lot of the staples of the style in fact very costly items. 

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Adidas Superstar Pride

Our third and final suggestion for the wannabe VSCO girl is a pair of Adidas Superstars, the colourway in truth really is a matter of preference, but if you wanted to fully commit to the vibe that you are trying to create then we suggest getting your hands on a pair of 2015’s Adidas Superstar ‘Pride’. Celebrating Pride Month and coming adorned with rainbow paint splatters across the shoes upper, it’s not only issue-centric but is also visually quintessentially VSCO. 

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