For 2019, the basic girl has taken on a new personality. She’s
meme-able and environmentally aware with disposable income to spend on
mid-market brands. Enter Gen Z’s latest champion: the VSCO girl.
A term that was coined back in 2009, the teen girl once stereotypically
clutched a pumpkin spiced latte in Ugg boots, but is now seen with a
refillable water bottle in hand and Vans. Generally speaking, they are from
affluent backgrounds, where brands are important and they have the
allowance to buy into them.
This demographic are masters of creating content and they perfect their
Instagram feed using filters on an app called VSCO, a more stripped back
version of Instagram. The VSCO girl content owns up to the label, plays up
to it and pokes fun at the stereotype. To the point that it’s difficult to
decipher what’s real and what’s not. This Gen Z tribe currently makes up
high school age girls, although a lot of the 90s inspired products (such as
stickers, friendship bracelets, scrunchies and lip gloss) they wear are
applicable to the wider market.
They care about the environment, particularly turtles and the ocean,
which could be attributed to their California roots. Beaches and settings
in nature often play backdrop to selfies that they might post.
Complementing the interest in nature, the VSCO girl opts for lip balms or
glosses over lip sticks and no contouring in site. They shop at Glossier
over Kylie Cosmetics.
Part of the VSCO lifestyle involves owning a specific set of branded
products. As previously mentioned, this cohort comes from a wealthy
background. However, their favored brands all sit at a mid-price point.
Branded products that make up the VSCO ‘uniform’ includes either checkered
Vans, Crocs or Birkenstocks as footwear; Fjällräven Kanken backpacks; Pura
Vida bracelets; and Brandy Melville crop tops.
Retailers stocking these brands are backing up their inventory to cater
to this lifestyle trend. In the last six months there has been a 20 percent
increase of US retailers stocking checkered Vans compared to the six
previous. Birkenstocks were up 40 percent at Nordstrom and 5 percent at
Zappos over the past three months compared to three months prior.
The defining accessory of the VSCO girl is the scrunchie, which was
spurred on by nostalgic accessories falling back in favor. Scrunchies are
the most accessible product to buy into to capture the VSCO girl
Under Edited’s top Spring trends, shell jewelry delivered with help from
the VSCO girl’s penchant for pukas as new arrivals increased by 14 percent
in the UK and 135 percent in the US, YoY. Another product synonymous with
Gen-Z, the VSCO girl has adopted the bucket hat as a wardrobe essential
seeing arrivals up 14 percent in the UK and up 140 percent in the US,
The bigger, the better. New arrivals for oversized tees may have
experienced an overall decline YoY, but VSCO girl favored retailers like
Brandy Melville, Nasty Gal and boohoo have increased its assortments to
capture her disposable spending habits. Inspired by Ariana Grande, the
oversized hoodie is also gaining traction – particularly in the US as the
While VSCO girl aesthetic doesn’t always include pants, mom jeans are
the bottoms of choice and a safe investment as they appeal to a broad
market outside of Gen-Z. So far, arrivals of mom jeans are up 80 percent in
the UK and 34 percent in the US, YoY. Lastly, despite the crop tops strong
association with the all-American VSCO girl, these styles are seeing more
growth in the UK as arrivals have grown 24 percent YoY.
This article was written for FashionUnited by Kayla Marci,
Rebecca Milne, and Heather Ibberson of Edited. Edited is the leader and
industry-standard for real-time retail analytics, where the software
leverages artificial intelligence to track and reveal insights on
competitor product ranges, pricing, discounting and trends across the
global retail landscape. The software is used by buyers, planners and
trading teams to generate a huge competitive advantage.
Images: Puma Vida Bracelets; Vans; Fjällräven (all via brands