Glazed Milk and Five Margaritas
after school weekend edition
Welcome back to After School Weekend Edition. Think of the daily letter as the CliffsNotes; this is the extended version for paid subscribers. Thanks for reading — your support makes this possible! 💫
Glossy — which is basically Digiday’s Vogue Business — hosted its Fashion & Luxury Summit last week. A bunch of marketing and brand execs attended (I hate when people make the “I guess my invitation got lost in the mail” joke, but…invite me next year? 👼). Fortunately for myself and everyone else whose “invitations got lost in the mail,” they shared a recap with a bunch of pretty interesting insights about Gen Z consumers. (Paywalled, but easy to bypass.)
Trends trump self-expression. The top takeaway they shared is that Gen Z’s reputation for “prioritizing individuality and self-expression is overblown,” and that “like every other generation before them, many of today’s teens and twenty-somethings just want in on what’s trending.” They say this is largely because of TikTok, which I only kind of agree with.
There’s a prevailing theory that TikTok — the platform — is spawning trends at a rapid-fire pace, causing young people to turn into rabid consumers, discarding what was trending last week and trading up for what’s trending this week. Young people have literally always been the case with teens — they want to wear what their peers have deemed cool. The difference is that teenagers’ peers used to exist within the hallways of their schools, and now their peers are…everyone on social media.
Scrolling to stay up on things. They say “there’s a common understanding that daily scrolling sessions on the platform keep one in the conversation,” and that taking a break means falling out of “the know,” including on the hashtags, sounds, and references of the moment. I absolutely feel this; I’m going to be traveling for the next few weeks — a mix of work and fun — and figuring out how to sufficiently relax while also “keeping up” has been top of mind.
Glossy also points out that staying ahead is also important from a relevance perspective if you’re a creator (or brand on TikTok), since tapping into TikTok trends “results in popularity via likes, follows, and other engagement.” Ah, to be a cog in TikTok’s machine.
“As seen on TikTok” is a new in-store flex. “We’re using ‘as seen on TikTok’ to pull shoppers onto our site,” said a beauty brand’s head of integrated marketing, speaking off the record. “The product doesn’t have to be viral; you can fake it a bit. Someone who’s aspirationally wanting to be cool will see that on a rack or in an email and immediately want to know more about it.”
I believe that consumers will absolutely buy a product if they see “as soon on TikTok” or “TikTok-viral” signage, regardless of whether that thing is actually viral on TikTok. The thing is, this marketing tactic could then propel that product ahead on TikTok, because it’ll encourage people to create their own content on TikTok. Phew.
Gen Z is shopping vintage because it’s cheap, less so because it’s “sustainable.” Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile, spoke about the power of TikTokers in setting today’s trends: “Some quirky 14-year-old can search Fashionphile by lowest price and find a beat-up old Fendi Spy bag for $300. … She’ll wear it on TikTok and it will pop, and because it’s affordable, a lot of people will want in on it.”
This quote sort of goes against the thesis of the article (that Gen Z is prioritizing trends over self-expression), but I do believe the TikTok algo rewards creators who create trends or even just unearth cool stuff for the first time (“this thing is amazing!” type content).
Alright, let’s jump into things! Today we’re talking about:
The “fun pant” is the new “going out top”
Cool girls are over chunky platforms
Mesh flat mania (with some exclusive retail sales data c/o Loeffler Randall!)
Coach’s veryyy Gen Z resort collection
A.P.C.’s new Gen Z designer (it’s Jean Touitou’s daughter)
Rent The Runway’s growing because of the “young and wealthy”
Reformation’s luxury debut
Aritizia’s viral clientele sale
Unpacking Sofie Richie’s — Nudestix’s creative director — new Glossier campaign
A TikTok trend is buoying “bougie bathroom” brands
Berberine is the new Ozempic
The drink of the summer that’s also the song of the summer
And everything else that happened this week in brands, trends, and internet culture. As always, scroll to the end for everything I’m reading, buying, watching, and listening to.
Before we jump in, please watch my favorite TikTok of the week. “Looking like a millennial” cut me deep.
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