Let the VSCO Girls Live

The VSCO girl is the newest internet meme. She is identified by her scrunchies, shell necklaces and Hydro Flask, an insulated stainless steel water bottle. 

For the uninitiated, VSCO is an app made for editing, sharing and posting photos, similar to Instagram. The women who use this app and follow the style trends posted there have been teased online and thus defined as VSCO girls. 

Alexandra Egorova, a third-year law and business student at Ryerson University, is a self proclaimed VSCO girl. “I’ve been called every single term that I could possibly think of throughout my years of fashion and exploration. Recently this summer, I’ve been called a VSCO girl so that’s when it kind of started for me,” said Egorova.

“Looking at those girls on VSCO with their blonde hair, puka shells — that’s truly all I want. It’s the all American dream for people to be able to mimic that or even get close to that vision by using VSCO and posting on it,” she said. 

For Egorova, the ease of this new style is what drew her to try it out for herself. 

“It was so easy to buy a Hydro Flask and scrunchies and everything else,” she said. “It made it an achievable goal. If I got all of these clothes and if I look like them then I am a VSCO girl,” she said. 

Unlike Instagram, VSCO is a unique form of social media because they do not have a like or comment option. Egorova says VSCO is a less judgemental platform when it comes to posting photos.

“I can post my own subpar trash summer photos on there. It’s just a place where you probably won’t be found but you can still look and see,” she said. 

Helia Abbaszadeh, a third-year fashion communications student at Ryerson University, is a frequent VSCO user and actually pays for the membership, which gives access to more filters and presets. 

“I just feel like everything looks more artsy on VSCO,” she said. 

She likes the anonymity of VSCO, since the platform does not show you who your followers are. “It’s more focused towards pictures that you want to see,” she said. 

Even though Abbaszadeh spends a lot of time on VSCO, she has never heard the term VSCO girl.

“I haven’t seen a lot of that just because I haven’t been looking for it,” she said. Abbaszadeh believes this is because she prefers to use the app for architectural and nature photos instead.

There have been many predecessors to the VSCO girl like the Instagram baddie; girls who posted on Instagram with nice eyebrows and tight fitting Fashion Nova outfits. Prior to that there was the Tumblr girl who wore high waisted shorts and reblogged justgirlythings pictures.

Egorova attempted to adopt some of these styles in the past as well. “It’s easy to fluctuate and to adapt to something new and fit into a new crowd so that’s why I did it,” she said.  

The social media mentality is something Egorova struggles with. “I’ve never really gotten validation from my work and I try to find outlets or any other way to try and get attention from people,” she said. “I found that conventional beauty seems to be the cheapest way of finding compliments and fishing for them.”

The mocking of girls for interests that are viewed as trivial is not a new concept in internet and popular culture. It didn’t take long before the internet memed the VSCO girls and how they behave.

“When it’s not a personal label and someone else just labels you, whether derogatory or not, it’s a little bit strange,” Egorova said. However, this did not stop her from expressing herself the way she wanted to.

“Seeing the memes on VSCO girls only enticed me to go into it more,” she said. 

“I never saw it as derogatory. It’s the fact that people started to recognize VSCO girls as something of a trademark themselves,” Egorova said. 

Egorova does believe that the VSCO girl label can be exclusive, citing the lack of plus sized women and women of colour being recognized for the trend as an example. She also thinks that VSCO girls come with a new competitive mentality. 

“It’s less that people will start comparing their styles and more like competing by saying things like I have the bigger Hydro Flask or I have more scrunchies than you,” she said.

Abbaszadeh has a positive outlook on all of the memes. She says the mocking of people’s style happens to both girls and boys, citing f***boy as an example. “I don’t feel like it’s a one way street so I think it’s fine. I’m just not into labelling that much so I feel like why not just let it be?” said Abbaszadeh. 

Abbaszadeh is comfortable with her feminine yet edgy style and doesn’t feel pressure to fit into the VSCO girl mould. “It’s interesting to me that there are people that are considered VSCO girls but I just don’t fit into that,” she said.

There are some things like a bucket hat that Egorova refuses to buy for fear of being too meta but, for the most part, she is unbothered by the criticisms. “I’ve never given a s*** what people think about what I look like on the street because that’s fully what I choose to present myself as,” she said.  

While Egorova currently identifies as a VSCO girl she has no doubt that she will adapt a new style when it comes up. 

“I just wanna find what’s true to me but before I do I’m gonna keep experimenting.”