test archive base

Clean Beauty Aesthetic

the lifestyle trend that has over 300 million views on tiktok

By Nana Frimpong

Wednesday, 10th of August 2022

#CleanGirlAesthetic is the latest lifestyle trend taking over TikTok, with over 300 million views. #CleanMakeup even has 400million views on the platform. 

Both hashtags showcase natural or minimal makeup looks that creators like Tasha Green are known for and according to creators like Geena Hunt, to achieve the ‘clean girl’ look you only need tinted moisturiser, light concealer, eyebrow pomade, lip balm, tints and oils. It sounds simple and achievable, but is it?

As you scroll through the hashtag, you’ll notice that #CleanGirlAesthetic is not just about makeup – it covers all things lifestyle and having the perfect organised life. You may also notice one common anomaly under #CleanMakeup and that is that most, if not all, of the advocates of this beauty trend seem to have poreless, clear skin. 

Like with any trend, there is always the question of appropriateness and inclusivity. With the premise of the #CleanGirlAesthetic being about slicked-back hair, minimal makeup over glossy, buttery skin and gold hoop earrings, some creators have questioned how the trend caters to those with acne and hyperpigmentation.

Others have even come forward to critique the choice of wording. On first look, the term “Clean Girl” alone represents those with clear glossy skin and perfectly placed hair, suggesting that those with blemishes, texturised skin and untamed hair are ‘dirty’. Creators such as Uche Natori went as far as to tweet that the beauty trend is ‘anti-black’ as Black girls need “coverage and structure”.

TikTok creator Katouche Goll explained further that the “clean girl look relies on prerequisite terms of how you are supposed to look”, which vilifies those who fail to meet those terms. It further asserts that people who don’t fall into this westernised beauty standard are not worthy of being celebrated. 

Beauty influencers like Rikki Sandhu and Izzie Rodgers, however, are championing and reimagining the so-called ‘clean girl make-up’ and ‘clean girl’ aesthetic. 

And it is worth celebrating those taking the trend in the right direction. 

Creators I am Dodo and Neenz have also taken the opportunity to adapt the trend to fit their own aesthetical needs with the creation of #cleangirlaestheticblackgirl and #cleanmakeupforblackgirls. These hashtags were created to allow accessibility for Black creators to join a popular trend – and therefore show that it can be inclusive too.

Taking into consideration what it takes to achieve the ‘clean girl’ look – with everything from facials, brow tints, lash lifts and more to good lighting and filters – it begs the question: do you have perfect skin or did you buy it?

We often need to remind ourselves that some of the beauty videos and pictures we come across on social media have a cleverly-used lighting trick, a natural-looking pre-set filter or in some cases permanently purchased tweaks.

With more and more people embracing no-makeup and wellness trends, it has therefore been exciting to see people embracing their authentic selves. And with the rise of BeReal encouraging no-filter photos, it’s intriguing to see how it may change our view on beauty standards in the future. 

Gen Z audiences prefer authenticity over everything and have found a home on TikTok where they can truly be themselves. On the app, there is everything from the #CleanGirlAesthetic to relatable and accessible beauty content. And they both live side-by-side in a way that doesn’t seem to exist on other platforms. 

By embracing TikTok, Gen Z has made the platform their very own news and trends source, which makes it even more exciting to keep up with the next beauty trend that emerges on there. What do you think it will be?

Trendsetters

BINLEY MEGA CHIPPY

How A Local Chippy Turned Into A Viral TikTok Sensation

By Laina Claydon

Wednesday, 1st of June 2022

If you have TikTok you’ve probably heard of Binley Mega Chippy. The fish and chip shop in Coventry has blown up on TikTok (currently at over 200m views) and even has its own trending song.

A series of videos and memes based around Binley Mega Chippy started popping up on everyone’s FYP, and now there are queues of people eager to try the ‘Morbius Meal’. It has been quoted to have a ‘festival atmosphere’ as there is such a buzz surrounding the shop; sounds like a pretty great experience to go and collect your takeaway, right?

Who doesn’t love the British sense of humour? Surely no other country would make a random suburban chip shop a viral sensation.

While the randomness is what makes it funny, is there something else going on underneath the surface? 

It can be tricky to understand the origins of a viral trend on TikTok, when there’s so much related content and chronologically ranking isn’t an option (except on a profile page). However, with the Binley Mega Chippy trend playing out in real time we are able to unpick it.

@craigskebabhouse (currently 2k followers) started posting videos on the 20th April. Heavily leaning into the lo-fi aesthetic of the platform, it is essentially a budget slideshow of budget UK food and drink items like Rustlers burgers and K Cider. The audio on these posts is a mix of drum’n’bass and happy hardcore, appealing to an audience who like to celebrate the irony of budget British things.

One of these posts on 26th April was a slideshow of chip shops and kebab outlets including ‘Jason Donervan’ (genius), ‘Phil’s Yer Tum Fish & Chips’ and, of course, ‘Binley Mega Chippy’.

From here, on 18th May, an account called @binleymegachippyfan53 (currently 8k followers) started an appreciation account of BMC, with each video consciously utilising viral sounds, referencing Stella Artois, Anime and also tapping into macro mainstream British news – with references to Prince Philip (341k views). Combined with the Queen’s imminent Platinum Jubilee celebrations, this awareness of topical news may be a factor.

Further to this, there is another trend that has been taking place for a while; ‘Blokecore’ – recently picked up by fashion magazines as well as mainstream media, the trend took a foothold on TikTok, and has spilled out onto the streets, with young guys in particular wearing 90s football shirts to go to the pub even when there is no football on TV. There is some psychology behind this too; in a time when people are coming back together ‘post-covid’, wearing clothes that are nostalgic and a celebration of coming together as a group of friends feels relevant. 

@nicksfits My guide to Bloke Core! Love this “trend” because I love the sport!U should get into it too! I’ll tag Lukas in the comments as well! #greenscreen #fashion #fashiontiktok #blokecore #fashioninspo #fyp #fashion101 ♬ original sound - Nick Ramos 🃏

Another aspect, which plays a part, is that Coventry, where Binley Mega Chippy is located, happens to have just hosted Radio 1’s Big Weekend and is also this year’s UK Capital of Culture. With increased attention on the city, while surely deserving, Coventry on the surface is potentially not an obvious choice for celebrating culture, so perhaps the timely rise in fame of Binley Mega Chippy comes with a sense of irony.

As for the audio (sonic branding can do wonders for a brand FYI), there is a feeling of familiarity to it, but it’s quite hard to place. Upon closer inspection it sounds very close to ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ – another British classic (side note: this song is originally French, but adopted by the British). This is combined with the familiar text-to-audio voiceover making it feel native to TikTok.

A viral video is hard or even impossible to predict and engineer, however, wider trends and macro news events can provide the foundations and relevance that enable virality. Being aware of these is key to being agile. Who knows, maybe Binley Mega Chippy chips will collab with McCain and soon be available to buy in supermarkets. You heard it here first.

Trendsetters

The Casual Carousel

The days of posting one perfect image are gone

By Laina Claydon

Friday, 29th of April 2022

Long gone are the days of posting one perfect image on Instagram. Instead, it’s all about casual carousels. 

With the term ‘authenticity’ being at the forefront of marketing, it’s no wonder why this trend has become so popular. 

Casual posting is about making your feed look more authentic, carefree and less thought-out.

In actual fact, it’s just as calculated as before.

Casual posting takes the form of a carousel of images on Instagram that some people call a ‘photo dump’. 

Instead of simply posting one picture-perfect photo of your outfit or holiday, it’s now all about showing everything: from your dinner to your dog and quirky street art. For added easygoing vibes, some are even unedited. 

Influencers such as Emma Chamberlain and Olivia Neill are the queens of casual posting and so it’s easy to see why everybody is doing it. 

Photo-dumping is a great way to show a more realistic version of your day and to come across more ‘casual’ on your social media, which is in stark contrast to the ‘perfect’ ways in which we tried to present ourselves for years on the photo-sharing platform. 

With influencers’ lives quickly becoming unobtainable to followers due to their wealth and lifestyles, casual posting has allowed them to appear more relatable to us – and it even gives us a glimpse into their ‘normal’ lives that we’ve not previously seen.

Casual posting definitely saw a rise during the start of the pandemic. After all, when we were all stuck at home unable to see our friends and family, we didn’t want to see others living their best lives. 

This more relaxed approach to photo-sharing sounds like a good thing, but is it?

There is now a whole new pressure to not only look super cool on your Instagram but also make sure every aspect of your day is ‘Instagrammable’. Now, more people than ever are proving to their audience how interesting their life is, and not only are people comparing their looks to their favourite influencers but their lifestyles too. 

Not everyday can look as fun and colourful as these photo dumps, and they often don’t include the commute to work, rainy weather and more mundane day-to-day activities that take up our days. 

With photo dumps comes a change in beauty trends too. People are now sharing their ‘clean’ makeup and glowy skin with brushed up brows. This new trend comes hand-in-hand with casual posting because everybody wants to look effortless, even if it means putting in more effort to look as if they haven’t.

Interestingly, it reminds us of how Instagram started out when feeds were full of instant snapshots of completely random things. There is even a hashtag #makeinstagramcasualagain that has been used over 48,000 times which began in 2018 and peaked in popularity in 2020.

And it’s not just influencers getting in on the trend, big name celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid have taken to casual posting. 

That’s a sure sign that this trend won’t be going anywhere for a while.

The TikTok timeline of a music artist

What happens when your track trends on the platform?

By Nana Frimpong

Monday, 31st of January 2022

TikTok has become the place to be when discovering new artists. 

Music is vital to the short-form video app, and the peak of the pandemic showed us just how big of a presence it is on the platform. This is evident by how many viral or trending tracks featured on the app have then been featured in music charts and on mainstream radio.

It’s no secret that the platform has become a haven for artists to preview their latest single, and for up-and-coming singer-songwriters to show off their talents in the hopes of being picked up as a trending track. But what happens when an unknown artist’s song goes viral?

A lot of the time, if your song takes off on TikTok then it will be because there is a challenge attached to it, whether it is a dance routine or as the backing track to a story. After hearing a track repeatedly, users will go on to wonder who the artist is who made the song and where they can stream more of their music. The app also allows users and other artists to duet, remix or collaborate by putting their own spin on the song. Singer songwriter Stacey Ryan is a great example of an artist collaborating/duetting with others on the app to create an amazing musical experience for all. 

DIY music artist and student Pink Pantheress saw her music go viral on TikTok, with her song just for me inspiring dance routines. Even UK Drill artist Central Cee jumped on a sample of the track. Pink Pantheress has since signed with Parlophone Records and recently won BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2022, making her an artist to watch out for this year. She continues to use TikTok to preview samples for users on the platform before going on to write and record a song.

Tai Verdes is another artist whose songs have gone viral on the app. Tai was working in a phone shop when he recorded his viral hit song stuck in the middle. When he posted it to TikTok, it blew up with more than 2.3 million people using the song as a soundtrack to their own content. He has since worked to turn viral success into a sustainable career which has seen him soar in US charts, release an album, and tour around the States.

It is fair to say that TikTok has become an essential tool for music artists, as well as a place for labels and listeners to discover new music. 

The Fifth’s ​​Commercial Partnerships Manager for Music Jonnie Owen says “TikTok helps break songs and emerging artists, creating ripples within an artist’s entire ecosystem driving engagement on social platforms, streams on DSP’s (Spotify, Apple, etc), seeing more people at gigs, and opens up opportunities for live streaming and e-commerce.”

Going viral on the platform has many benefits for an artist and it’s important for them to learn ways they can utilise the beneficial aspects of having a viral hit song. Jonnie says “Brands are leaning into the platform, and artists should look to having their new track used in sync placement for brand campaigns that can help create incremental revenue, rack up streams and cast the net further in growing an audience through association”.

Once a song does pick up traction, there often comes the opportunity for an artist to choose whether to sign with a label or remain as an independent artist. Whilst some might think a label might not truly represent the artist and their art, and simply be beneficial for monetary purposes, many believe the connections provided from labels support them to grow and build themselves up as a global artist.

For many up-and-coming musicians, there are lots of tools and services available to them which allows them to work as an independent artist. With complete control of their music, they can easily utilise social media platforms like TikTok, label services such as Tunecore and/or Distrokid, DSPs, live streaming services, e-commerce and even the metaverse to launch and maintain their music career.

A report in 2020 by UK-based MIDIA Research identified that, ‘the ‘artist direct’ sector (i.e. self-releasing acts using services like Amuse, TuneCore, CD Baby and Ditto) generated an estimated $821m globally in 2019”  displaying a large growth in this area and a radical shift away from the traditional label model.

Jonnie says “When used in an effective way, these tools and services can provide an artist with more options. A track record of DIY success can put an artist in a very strategic position i.e to licence their music to labels on more ‘artist friendly’ shorter terms rather than the antiquated long album deals (ultimately obtaining more control). In 2021, over 70 independent artists who started sharing music and growing their audience on TikTok have signed successful record deals.”

Tom Rosenthal is a musician whose remake of Edith Whiskers’ Home went viral on TikTok. Since then, he’s shared with his followers how remaining as an independent artist has actually helped him to build his music career. Through his success, he has since started his own independent record label, Tinpot Records, which signs emerging Indie artists. He has also told his followers and fellow independent artists that “there’s never been a better time for us, believe in yourself and never give your work away on a long term basis”.

Jonnie also offered more of his thoughts on labels vs independence, and says “a label can offer support in terms of investment in infrastructure, marketing, and opening new markets, audiences and driving more sales. 

“It’s an exciting time to be a musician and artists who are lucky to find themselves in this strategic position should enjoy utilising the tools they have available to them and not necessarily be in a hurry to sacrifice their independence.”

With this in mind, TikTok has truly proven its dominating effect and contribution to the music industry. With many artists choosing to preview their songs on the app in the hope of increasing streaming and reaching younger audiences, it has also taken over as the place to be for new artists to be themselves and share their talents to billions of people. 

The platform has also aided the push of music of different genres and cultures going viral, with the app becoming the centre of music discovery, and has birthed countless new artists such as Coi leray, Gayle, Foushee, Lauren Spencer-Smith and many more. It really is the place to be for music.

Trendsetters: the return of the noughties

forget the runway, trends now start on tiktok

By Nana Frimpong

Friday, 10 December 2021

Trends come and go. Whilst they used to originate on the runway, they now start on social media platforms such as Pinterest – with TikTok helping to push the narrative further. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and half, you’ll undoubtedly have been inundated with the nostalgia wave of the noughties. 

Most millennials will remember flip phones, scarf tops and small bags. Lindsay Lohan appeared in every film, Britney Spears was on every radio station and evenings were spent updating our Tumblr account. Now, Generation Z have remixed some of the topical trends of that era and made it their own. 

When you scroll through TikTok, you’ll see the very best (and worst) moments of the Y2K era on your feed. It has brought back classic musical moments such as Bring it On (“brr it’s cold in here, there must be some toros in the atmosphere”) and High School Musical (“we’re all in this together”), and the app is the place to be if you’re looking for a walk down memory lane.

The return of the noughties hasn’t just been present on TikTok. If you listen closely to some of the recent chart hits, you’ve probably heard samples of some of your favorite songs from the era. For example, T-pain’s club classic Buy you a drank was turned into a female empowerment song by Kehlani – I like Dat. And if you are into Drill, you would have heard Ardee sample a House music classic – T2 heartbroken – on his song Wasted

Another reason why TikTok is the place to be when looking for inspiration and music recommendations is because a lot of the trending sounds are from iconic songs from the 2000s, for example Dj Unk ft T-Pain – 2 step and Wipe Me Down. These songs have definitely played a small part in millennials’ lives at one point and now they’re becoming a part of the lives of the Gen Z population too.

@graceshadrack

It isn’t just the music of the noughties making a comeback, so is the fashion. From small purses (shoutout Dior and Jacquemus) and scarf tops, to velour tracksuits (the Juicy Couture classic) and wide trousers and jeans. A few of your favourite content creators have been rocking the noughties looks for a while (Grace shadrack, Tiffanie, Debbiedarko, Aly Meghani, Parisa, Koleen Diaz, Ceirra Nia, Eyes Rodgers, Meghan Rose, Dymon, Francesca Perk, Holly Marston , and Tamika Bennett to name a few). It is also interesting that a lot of Gen Zers deem 2000s fashion to be vintage, despite it still feeling relatively contemporary to many of us.

But why has there been a comeback? They say fashion is recyclable, with trends from previous generations re-emerging after around two decades, but it’s a little hard to believe that those born between 2000-2009 are now nearly 20 years old. The real question is: why has Gen Zers taken such a liking to the music, fashion and movies from this era? Interestingly, the Y2K trend seems to have emerged from our downtime in lockdown, with Gen Zers finding the nostalgia from this era comforting and a way to escape reality and look back at simpler times. With the launch of Disney Plus at the end of 2019, this only increased the nostalgia effect as it brought back childhood memories and reintroduced people to remakes of classics like The Lion King and She’s All That. 

When we look back on the 2000s, it can be seen as problematic due to its wild headlines and questionable fashion. It was, after all, the era that gave us Britney’s breakdown and subsequent conservatorship, and Janet Jackson being ‘cancelled’ for flashing Justin Timberlake at the Superbowl. We also lost 2000 icons like actor Heath Ledger and singer Michael Jackson. It is an era that millennials might not look back on wholly fondly, with some even advising Gen Zers not to repeat their mistakes.

Though the return of the 2000s hasn’t always been received favourably, with some dismissing the live action remakes of old classics, others have welcomed a resurgence of something familiar in such uncertain times. Interestingly, though fashion trends are often cyclical, what we’re seeing is different aspects of 2000s fashion and music being thrown together with current and emerging trends. As new artists get inspired by old ones, it’s fair to say that we should prepare to hear many more remixes of old tracks and hits on platforms like TikTok. And unless we have new ideas for movies and TV series, the reimagination of classics will be here to stay.

Trendsetters: RISE OF THE Greenfluencer

The influencers encouraging you to spend less and save more

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 29th of April 2021

Fast fashion and sustainability – seemingly incompatible terms with no apparent happy medium, with the former being to blame for hindering the latter.

By now, we should all be well aware that there is a price to pay for super affordable clothing. It’s a relatively small cost to us – a much bigger cost to the environment and third world garment workers. So, what can we do to change this and tackle our fast fashion habits? 

Introducing the Greenfluencers – eco warrior forces for good, encouraging us to spend less and save more (money and the planet that is). 

Sustainability credibility is majorly shaping the way we look at the fashion and beauty industries, and while there have been big influencers from Venetia Falconer and Camilla Thurlow who have long been pushing this message, it’s the micro influencers targeting their friends and family to make little changes with big impact who often go unnoticed for their vigilante work.

For this weeks’ Trendsetters, I spoke to charity worker and sustainability enthusiast, Hannah Jordan of @basicbrecyles, who had some thought provoking insights and advice to share:

Why is it so important to you to encourage others to live sustainably? 

“I had no idea about living sustainably and the negative impact I was making – especially with fashion. I just assumed there were rules that retailers had to follow and never thought I was part of the problem. Upon a quick google search, I was shocked to learn about greenwashing and the other lies we are fed to keep us in the dark. I just want more people to be aware of the problem, especially with the fast fashion content we’re bombarded with on a daily basis on social media.”

What are the warning signs when shopping from a brand we’re not familiar with? 

“If they constantly have new products in, thousands and thousands of products in the ‘new in’ section and anything suspiciously low priced. Take a £5 top for example, if it’s been made consciously with the environment and the workers human rights in mind then it just couldn’t be that cheap. Companies that keep up with all of the seasonal trends, companies that constantly have sales with crazy reductions and discount codes. Also the materials, if it’s not 100% cotton or organic cotton then that’s usually a sign that it’s not been made with sustainability in mind and the people making it most likely haven’t been paid or treated fairly. Also if a brand actually cares about the environment they won’t be sending loads of influencers mountains and mountains of ‘gifted’ clothing for free – this is irresponsible, the shipping, packaging and so on.

“Keep an eye out for recycled collections too – it’s often not the total honest truth and just a marketing ploy. It’s important to do your research.”

What are some of the easy changes you encourage your friends and family to make?

“Instead of buying new things, check to see if you already have something that could work or something similar. Borrow from your friends and family or swap items too. Always think of the ‘30 wears test’ especially if you have to buy fast fashion – before you buy think ‘will I wear this 30 times?’. But mainly if you can, shop second hand, on Depop, Vinted, eBay or in stores, but still apply the ‘30 wears test’.”

Prior to Macklemore’s 2012 hit Thrift Shop, the idea of shopping second hand brought to mind rummaging through racks of tatty and outdated clothing. Today, with over 21 million users (90% of whom are estimated to be under the age of 26), Depop has helped to make shopping secondhand cool and fast fashion ‘basic’. 

Over on TikTok, Gen Z have found clever ways to upcycle their thrifted products with the #ThriftChallenge. They might turn a hoodie into a handbag or Dad’s old shirt into a two piece co-ord. 

But fashion is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more we can do with the guidance of the Greenfluencers to reduce our negative impact on the world’s health. Be it second hand shopping, reducing plastic waste, veganism, upcycling or simply just walking a little more – there’s plenty of ways for us to spend less and save more.

Here are some of my favourite Greenfluencers, using their influence to be a force for positive change:

Tolmeia Gregory

Suszi Saunders 

Nayna Florence Patel

Mikaela Loach

Trendsetters: hun culture – the Most Relatable Woman in Britain

The social media phenomenon which worships soap stars, girl group members and X Factor auditions

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 15th of April 2021

Hun culture is a corner of the internet for British pop culture fanatic ‘girls and gays’ – embodying all that is nostalgic British humour. To be a ‘hun’ is to be a lover of 2-4-1 cocktails, holibobs, online shopping and reality tv. It’s about appreciating ‘jeans and a nice top’ not only as a fashion statement but a lifestyle and way of life.

On Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, hun accounts have become a legitimate part of meme culture. It appeals so widely because it represents the relatable, fun side of the British celebrity – a polar opposite of the dominant, A-lister, perfectly filtered (very American) content that saturates our timelines. Instead, huns are flamboyant, camp and unique, embracing the ugly bits and unapologetically indulging in guilty pleasures.

Meme accounts like @loveofhuns and @hunsnet have seen their follower counts skyrocket over the course of COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK. They’ve become a source of escapism and what’s interesting is that the celebrity subjects and beloved divas hailed by them have fully embraced the culture’s shared sense of humor, where the jokes are so affectionate that the stars can feel in on them, rather than the butt of them, adoring their hun status. The hun community is a place where we can all laugh at ourselves equally. The culture has even stretched to the podcast world, seeing shows like @hunbelievablepodcast and @jackremmington’s ‘Iconic’ emerge over recent years.

Wine-in-a-can brand HUN Wines cleverly tapped directly into the culture with their launch in 2020. The broad individuality of the HUNdred society of influencers leading the launch only further emphases the wide appeal of hun culture. Celebrating all that is unique to the community of huns, their distinctiveness, colourful campness and love of convenient booze, the @drinkhun launch was pretty genius.

British pop culture has a large cult following but you have to be in on it to understand the references. When you’re a hun, you can be in the smoking area of a club and overhear a group quoting Alison Hammond falling in the Thames or Ainsley Harriot’s “WHY HELLO JILL!” and know they’re on the same wavelength as you. Whether it’s ‘David’s dead’ or Dawn the Jocky’s X factor audition, your favourite cultural moment from the past 20 years is certainly the pride of the hun community, along with lesser-known celebrity interviews and blunders that have been dug up from the archives. 

Be it Nadine Coyle, Gemma Collins, Katie Price or the late Nikki Graham as the subject, hun comedy is more than an inside joke, it’s only offensive if it’s not relatable.

Trendsetters: Gen Z on Pinterest

Pinterest is a platform to experiment and explore

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 1st of April 2021

Every month, over 400 million people turn to Pinterest for inspiration. Whether it’s crafting, cooking or party planning, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone. 

Pinterest quickly became a cultural phenomenon shortly after its launch in March of 2010, its key demographic being Millennials and Gen Xers looking for DIY hacks, interior decorating tips, and wedding planning inspiration. Now, alongside Instagram and TikTok, Gen Z is descending on Pinterest as well – primarily for its fashion prowess. 

Pinterest has always been for everyone. Women have largely made up the majority of its users (more than 60% of the platform’s users globally, in fact) but for many of its younger users, across all genders, Pinterest is a platform to experiment and explore.

Spend five minutes on a TikTok ‘for you page’ or a quick scroll through YouTubes recommendations and you should come across a variety of videos where users recreate ‘Pinterest outfits’. Instagram-based Gen Z creators like @oliviagraceherring are also known to create ‘Pinterest Inspired’ Reels content, showcasing their evolving personal style. Other creators such as YouTube-first duo @sophiatuxford and @cinziabayliszullo have shown how they use Pinterest to inspire their Instagram content and interior design style. On TikTok especially, when fashion content goes viral the comments are often flooded with requests for the creators’ Pinterest account.

Aesthetics are more important than ever for Gen Z, according to Enid Hwang, Pinterest’s community marketing manager, with the search for the word ‘aesthetic’ ranking 447% more frequent amongst Gen Z than with Millennials. Gen Z’s journey to discover their identity is ever present. It’s evident that with this image sharing app, the younger generation is creating boards that reflect their dream lifestyle, along with how they wish to dress and present themselves.

Type any aesthetic keyword into Pinterest’s search bar and you’ll find yourself flooded not only with fashion inspiration but a fully developed mood board, complete with accompanying exteriors and It girls who epitomize the style. Just about every time period, “vibe”, and niche has been compartmentalized with characteristic color palettes and key pieces. From cottagecore to streetwear, e-girl to Y2K, Pinterest makes the process of discovering your style effortless and easy for its Gen Z users.

Unlike TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, Pinterest serves as a space for personal exploration in a similar way to Tumblr during its early 2010 peak. In the absence of the added pressures of likes and comments, and without the added need to create and post original content, users can submerge themselves into new personal tastes, and use it as an opportunity for self-reflection without fear of judgement.

Trendsetters:  How RuPaul’s Drag Race invented a new social media subculture

have you been watching  season two?

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 18th of February 2021

As RuPaul’s Drag Race UK approaches the 6th episode of its second season, I want to take a look at the impact of drag on mainstream culture, the invention of a new social media subculture and how social media helped make drag mainstream.

First hitting our screens in the early 2000’s on relatively unknown US cable channel Logo TV, who could have predicted the global influence RuPaul’s Drag Race has today? Drag Race has become a cultural juggernaut, influencing our language and behaviour on social media every day – in ways we may not even notice. 

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a loud and proud LGBTQ+ talent show, combining elements of top shows Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model, and challenging social norms by selecting the nation’s best drag queens as contestants. On the show, they fight for the crown by competing in various challenges, including singing, dancing, lip syncing, acting and comedy.

Over the years, as its popularity has grown tenfold, Drag Race has gone beyond entertaining its ever-growing army of fans. It has helped to open the door of drag, LGBTQ+ and black queer culture for a mainstream audience – introducing and normalising the conventions, habits, rituals and attitudes of these subcultures to the mainstream public. Through Drag Race, the language of drag has not just been recognised and accepted, but gained new life as an art form through memes, GIFs and content that floods our social media feeds. On Drag Race, language stops being just subcultural ‘lingo’ and is a channel for spreading and popularising drag slang and has been subsequently adopted by online pop culture. 

Drag has gone largely unrecognised as an art form outside of the LGBTQ+ community, with many drag queens living on the fringes of society and amongst them are some of those hit hardest by the global pandemic which forced so many into unemployment as their regular gigs were forced to shut. However, following the mainstream success that drag has seen over recent years, many queens have been able to migrate to online ways of working thanks to the relationship it has developed with commercial social media. 

The professionalisation of both drag and social media has seen a rise in drag career YouTubers, social media influencers and content creators. Their parallel evolution towards highly-polished, branded professionalism has provided the conditions for drag culture’s mainstream visibility. A professionalised social media presence is all but compulsory for Drag Race contestants. RuPaul regularly directs viewers to engage through hashtags, and audiences are encouraged to support their favourite queens similarly. In more recent seasons, the size of online followings has been a frequent topic of discussion. There are also debates about whether contestants are ‘social media queens’, who exist solely online, or ‘stage queens’ who perform in a more traditional sense. 

Furthermore, Drag Race contestants often frame their social media participation as entrepreneurial self-branding. Here are some of my favourite UK queens on the rise…

  1. @itstayce
  2.  @herrthequeen
  3. @tastemycaramelle
  4. @lawrencechaney