While you lot are shaking your fists and bemoaning the death of subcultures, Gen Z has been busy mining its own fashion movements in niche corners of the internet. These days, under 25s are all about aesthetics: embodying a trend in every sense of the word and letting it bleed into all aspects of your life, whether that relates to fashion, art, music, design. Hell, even brekkie.
One of the best known, internet-bred aesthetics is cottagecore, followed closely by a continuous (and seemingly never-ending) revival of Y2K. New additions include old money aesthetics, weirdcore and dreamcore, but according to popular image sharing social media platform Pinterest – and just in time for gift-giving season – the most prevalent trend among Gen Z right now is fairy grunge, a term which has seen a massive spike in popularity on the platform this month.
So far, #grungefairycore has racked up over 26 million views on TikTok and more than 40,000 posts on Instagram. Against a backdrop of mushroom infested forests and moody graveyards, teens post pictures of themselves wearing studded bracelets, chipped nail varnish and skull-printed tees. Add a septum piercing and butterfly wings before glazing the whole thing over with a super-soft filter, and Bob’s yer uncle.
As of September this year, 459 million people use Pinterest, and new research has found that the platform has successfully predicted eight in 10 trends two years in a row. While you could argue that plenty of trends are born on TikTok, in turn, Pinterest contextualises them and offers a bottomless supply of inspiration for culture vulture teens around the world.
If you’re shopping for the grunge Gen Z fairy in your life this Christmas, you’d better sign up expeditiously and get searching for goblincore sweatshirts and black platform boots à la Jeffrey Campbell Lita (or, more stylishly, Heaven by Marc Jacobs Nodaletos). This is an ultra-specific trend that blends whimsy and mischief with darker, fantastical elements, a Courtney Love-ing movement but more hippie-goth – emo with a mystical edge.