It’s 2015. You and your best friends have just had the time of your lives ~dancing the night away~ at homecoming before your mom came to pick you up. You know that you have to let all of your instagram fans know of your fun night, but sadly, your photos are blurry and out of focus. What do you do to combat this issue? You open up VSCO, slap an F2 filter on it, and suddenly you have the perfect picture to show off to the world.
This is how I remember VSCO (did this scenario happen to me? Hard to tell since I archived all my F2 edited, blurry, VSCO posts long ago), so when one of the kids in the youth group I work with saw a scrunchie in my hair and Birkenstocks on my feet and labeled me as a “VSCO girl,” I was confused to say the least. After going home and googling “VSCO girls”, in hopes of staying up to date with the youths, I learned that the “VSCO girl” is a community aesthetic, one centered around loving HydroFlasks, decorating those HydroFlasks with stickers, saving the turtles, scrunchies, big shirts they find thrift shopping, and saying “sksksksk.”
I have seen countless articles making fun of this aesthetic, turning them into a meme, jokes, and definitely quite a few halloween costumes. Even so, the more I think about it, What’s so wrong with all the VSCO girl trends? The answer quickly comes to mind: it’s a bunch of teenage girls doing what they please, and society finding a way to scrutinize it. Of course, we’re not new to this phenomenon, as it seems that anytime girls between the ages of 12 and 17 find a hobby, there’s a whole group of people finding a way to tear it down. Through exploring further, I can’t help but wonder that maybe the VSCO girls are onto something.
The holy trinity of VSCO-ness seems to be a scrunchie, HydroFlask, and a 3XL thrifted t-shirt (bonus points if you have a reusable straw and if that shirt has a “live laugh love” message on it). We may be out here criticizing girls for the “and I oop-“ references, but maybe we should be focusing on the trends they’re setting.
First off: scrunchies. I’m an avid believer in scrunchies, as it’s hard to lose them, and they don’t damage your hair or give headaches like most hair ties do. The fact that VSCO girls are advocating for these doesn’t do much other than convince everyone that I was right and they were wrong on the scrunchies front, and help eliminate headaches everywhere.
Let’s move on to the HydroFlask. Drinking water is that pesky little thing that we all know we should do, but never do. It would probably cure all of my problems, but isn’t it just so much easier to replace all of my liquid intake with coffee? With a fun and funky water bottle that you drop a hefty price for, this makes me remember the fact that I need to drink water, and that if you don’t hydrate, you really will die-drate. I’m forever indebted to the VSCO girls for making me drink real water.
Now, onto the third member of the trinity: the thrifted tees and reusable straws. Making helping the environment trendy could arguably be the best thing that VSCO has brought into the world. Thrifting for clothes not only cuts down on waste and pollution but also on the fast fashion industry. So many people are taken advantage of in the fashion industry because consumers keep requesting clothes at a rate that retailers cannot keep up with, leading to abuse and mistreatment of workers. Along with this, each American throws away an average of 81 pounds of clothes per year, leading to 26 billion pounds of clothes ending up in the landfills. If we can cut down on this by reusing clothes, why shouldn’t we? On the same topic of the environment, reusable straws have gotten so much attention in recent years, and for good reason. Plastic hurts the environment in the worst way, in that it ends up in our oceans, hurting the animals and wildlife. If we can cut down on the plastic we use by taking advantage of the reusable straw and cups, why shouldn’t we?
While I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing at VSCO girl memes and TikToks, I think it’s time we start letting young girls do what they want to do, and thank them for caring about their generation and the future generations ability to live on the planet.