VSCO girl: What is the trend taking over Instagram and TikTok?

Lifestyle trend comes from the name of a photo-editing app 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 21 January 2020 16:28
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A new social media term is gaining popularity, and it describes a lifestyle of reusable straws, hair scrunchies, and Birkenstocks.

VSCO girls” are the latest subculture to arise from apps such as TikTok and Instagram, where millennials and Gen Zers are often heavily influenced by one another.

The name comes from the VSCO editing app, which is used for its filters that create a consistent social media aesthetic.

This is everything you need to know about the latest trend.

What does it mean to be a VSCO girl?

The term is used to describe female teenagers who dress and act in a certain manner that is virtually indistinguishable from one another, both online and in real life.

On Instagram, where the hashtag #VSCOgirl has been used on more than 1m posts, the aesthetic is mostly that of a colourful, beachy lifestyle.

Some of the photos are of homemade friendship bracelets, while others show young girls posing in nature or in front of wing murals.

Environmental advocacy is also a common trait found in those who identify with the term.

One 15-year-old YouTuber described the trend as “basic”.

"The word I would use best to describe it is basic, because everybody wears the same clothes and has the same items," Caiti DeCort told BuzzFeed News.

The term, and the accompanying lifestyle, is also largely exclusionary, as BuzzFeed writer Lauren Strapagiel points out that “VSCO girls are, by and large, white, thin, and have enough money to buy the various high-end items the trend includes”.

What do VSCO girls wear?

One of the largest commonalities among VSCO girls is their outfits, which often consist of clothing and accessories from the same brands.

The look, which is mostly described as beachy, or laid-back, is usually created with clothing from stores such as Brandy Melville or Urban Outfitters.

VSCO girls often complete the look, which requires minimal makeup, by accessorising with scrunchie hair ties, puka shell necklaces, Hydroflask water bottles, and either Crocs, White vans or Birkenstock shoes.

On YouTube, where teens have uploaded themselves “transforming” into VSCO girls, many of the videos have been watched thousands of times.

One video titled “Becoming the ultimate VSCO Girl”, uploaded by a YouTuber named Caiti who runs the channel Caiti’s Corner, has been viewed more than 1m times.

In the video, she shows viewers how to dress like a VSCO girl, and then capture the perfect Instagram photo - which she then edits using the VSCO app.

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The popularity of VSCO girls has also resulted in a large meme culture, where the identity is mocked for its lack of distinctiveness.

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