It’s all about scrunchies and shell necklaces: we check out the new craze gripping UK kids, and what brands can learn.
TikTok, the app that sent the song Old Town Road viral, is now spreading the latest kids’ style trend: VSCO (rhyme it with disco if you want the correct pronunciation).
Over the past month we’ve seen a growing buzz around VSCO Girls – a culture that takes its name from photo-editing app VSCO, which has been mocked for its golden-toned filters. From this an entire movement has evolved, replicating a Californian girl stereotype, and spread on social media. Our Trendspotter panel of kids (aged 9-12) are picking up on the distinctive style and its catchphrase:
‘They are TOO popular. It's very annoying. My friends are VSCO Girls – they've got the shell necklaces.’ Maya
‘I don't post on Tik Tok, I just watch. There's these VSCO Girls and they go "sksksks!"’ Cody
Sksksk was previously used in ASMR videos and originated in the LGBT community. Now the noise – which indicates laughter or feelings of awkwardness – can now be heard in playgrounds all over Britain.
The TikTok effect
If it’s on TikTok its hot right now, and more than 422 million videos are tagged #vscogirl on the app (many of them are parodies). Even Ariana Grande posted on Instagram wearing the VSCO Girl footwear staple: socks and Crocs. Kids are leaping on this trend, which is an easy look to recreate – all you need are the accessories:
‘They have scrunchies, Hydro Flasks, friendship bracelets, and metal straws – save the turtles!’ Asena
Other VSCO Girl style statements include wearing Birkenstocks, Converse, Vans, and denim shorts from brands such as Urban Outfitters, while friendship bracelets, round sunglasses and numerous hair scrunchies complete the look. This resonates with kids who want to fit in and be part of a tribe.
Followers of VSCO have been reported to be ‘predominantly white, skinny and rich’ and the movement has been criticised for exclusion of those who don’t conform to ‘the look’. This sentiment opposes that of the next generation who reject stereotypes and champion acceptance (find out more about the Beano for Brands Generation Alpha report here).
Spreading the eco message
But there are positives to the craze, with its planet-friendly vibes. VSCO Girls use the phrase ‘save the turtles’ in posts, and they’ve always got reusable metal straws and Hydro Flasks to hand (the producers of whom also donate profits and bottles to non-profit organisations). That’s a big tick for kids who recently ditched school to strike for climate change.
Sustainability is increasingly important for kids and, for this reason, platforms such as fashion buy-and-sell app Depop (which has also developed a signature 90s-casual throwback look and a huge TikTok following), will become even more prominent.
In fact, second-hand fashion is thriving with other apps such as Vinted, thredUp and of course eBay making old clothes cool again. Not to be left out, the Kardashians have even launched their own ‘Kloset’ to resell their clothes.
The message? Kids are used to branding themselves on social media. They're now turning to the brands that resonate with their values to help them do this.
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Beano for Brands is a kid-first consultancy and agency for brands seeking to connect with a new generation who are already rewriting the rules of engagement, creativity and even the world around them.
Our fortnightly reports are drawn from a wide range of touch points with real kids and families: Trendspotters (a UK-wide panel aged 9-12), insight and analytics from Beano.com – the UK’s fastest-growing kids’ site, external research and 81 years of working with kids. Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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