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Gen Z’s Ins and Outs on The Viral List


TL;DR

  • Gen Z is literally deciding what is in and out with this new TikTok trend
  • They’re also sharing the hyper-specific reasons they’d get locked up, if their favorite chaotic decisions ever became illegal
  • Fall weather is pushing the Tumblr renaissance, and obviously the return of the pumpkin spice latte
  • Notting Hill Carnival is all over TikTok after not being in London since 2019

Tiktok screenshots of the "Locked Up" trend with a police car filter and captions of what users would get locked up for if it were randomly illegal

TikTokers are sharing the relatable reasons why they’d get locked up

Gen Z is always bringing back old music (specifically Y2K)—and making it trend on their favorite app. Lately, TikTokers are jumping on the viral “Locked Up” trend to the sound of Akon’s 2004 hit by using a police car filter, and sharing all the reasons they’d get locked up if their favorite things were for some reason made illegal. With over 525.5K videos under the audio, users are pretending to ride in the backseat of a cruiser and solemnly sing along to Akon’s lyrics, “I’m steady tryna find the motive (motive) / Why I do what I do? / The freedom ain’t getting no closer (closer).” 

We’ve said before that the most viral trends are the ones that are easiest to replicate in a new way every time, and this is exactly that. The videos range from hilarious to oddly specific, but then again the best (and oddly most relatable) trends are. Captions include: “If never being wrong was illegal,” and “If being the funniest sibling becomes illegal,” as well as someone’s dog in the video saying, “If barking at every single thing outside becomes illegal.” Celebs are even jumping in including Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino saying, “If being the one who just reads the group chat but doesn’t respond becomes illegal.” 

Tiktok screenshots of indie sleeze trend predictions

Hot Girl Summer is over, and Autumn is going to be grunge (with a PSL in hand)

It’s September now, a slight chill has hit the air, and seasonal fall merch is lining the shelves of every store. Hot Girl Summer is officially over, and next up on the trend calendar appears to be a resurgence of early 2010s aesthetics, the continued swing away from that girl (toward a feral love for nightlife), and the return of the coveted pumpkin spice latte. 

YPulse told you last month that TikTok was fueling a return of the circa 2014 Tumblr-grunge style known as “indie sleaze,” The look is tied to a cultural moment where indie rock was at its peak, and now, many of the bands who defined the era are making their comeback all at once; one TikToker said “the tumblr girlies are SHAKING,” in anticipation of new music from cult classics like the 1975, Arctic Monkeys, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Another user, @cocomocoe, who has 700K followers keeping up with her viral trend predictions, said 2010’s grunge makeup is on its way back in, especially on the heels of the current “teenage dirtbag” trend on TikTok. Over on Twitter, users are in agreement about the signs of this impending trend, and have dubbed it the “Tumblr renaissance.”

As so many who are analyzing this likely return to grunge aesthetics have said, the grander cultural context points to it as the rejection of the “clean girl” aesthetic of the last few years. This is also happening in the way of posts calling for “Feral Girl Fall,” which is all about going out on the weekends, and “choosing violence” or being chaotic whenever possible. 

Even counter-cultures need their fall drink, and the PSL has resumed its usual autumn trendiness. PSL culture is, believe it or not, as unhinged as Feral Girl Fall, even though it’s been heavily associated with “Christian girl autumn” in the past. TikTok user @candaceeliz referred to the latte as “that sweet fall nectar,” and another Twitter user has placed it atop the spooky season food pyramid (above antidepressants and iced coffee). Even the social media managers of national parks know PSL lovers are so dedicated that they are “begging you all to remember that a venti PSL isn’t adequate hydration on the trail.”

More: Celebs like Lady Gaga and Julia Fox are joining in on the teenage dirtbag trend

Tiktok screeshots of Gen Z's "in and out" lists

We know Gen Z is in control of all things trending—but now they’re being very clear about what’s In and what’s Out

Our Fits For The Feed trend research shows how Gen Z is redefining what it means to be trendy—they’re no longer looking to sources like Vogue or Seventeen magazine to find out what’s hot and not. When it comes to beauty, fashion, and viral dance challenges, it’s the average daily social media users who are the ones making the rules. 

This holds true in TikTok’s latest trend where a slew of videos are showcasing users’ own personal In and Out lists. Under the upbeat runway-esque audio “A Drug From God” by Chris Lake & NPC, users are highlighting the random things they’re loving and hating right now. From clothing and style to hobbies and experiences, nothing is off limits. While each user’s list is entirely their own preference and opinion, here are some of the thing’s they’re claiming are in, and out, right now:

In: Halloween (see above), Starbucks brownies, Frank Ocean, Harry Potter, oversharing their feelings,10:30pm bedtime, the color red, burritos, short kings, messy hair, libraries, and short nails

Out: Stranger Things (check out our daily newsletter to know why), the phrase “hot girl walk” (but walks are still in), shopping in-person, Instagram, getting drunk, wearing heels, summer, LinkedIn, and wearing SHEIN

While they’re not explaining the reasons behind these choices, that’s kind of the point; Gen Z is known for being unapologetically themselves. But, a lot of what they’re categorizing as “out,” YPulse can explain. For example, when they say getting drunk is out, we’ve seen them getting sober-curious for years (or picking marijuana instead); LinkedIn is being replaced with finding jobs via social media; and wearing SHEIN is more debatable at the moment than it is really out

More: @Sadgrlswag is rating ASMR videos swag or not swag

Tiktok screenshots at Notting Hill Carnival in West London

Notting Hill Carnival returns to London after two-year absence

Since the pandemic standstill on concerts and festivals has come to an end, young consumers have been eagerly attending their favorite events again, and the Notting Hill Carnival was full of young Europeans celebrating their return to in-person experiences. Taking place in West London, it has grown to be the second-biggest Carnival in the world after the one held in Rio de Janeiro. Its aim is to promote unity and bring people of all ages and diversity together, and bring thousands dancing the streets of London. Carnival goers usually attend in extravagant festival outfits, done out with sequins and feathers.

Of course, as they’ve been using TikTok for everything, this year the events of the carnival were all over young people’s FYP for those that could not attend. TikTok users in London were quick to show businesses and homes boarding up their windows pre-carnival, protecting properties from the thousands of people that were set to walk the streets. One video showing a fully fenced up home got 583K likes, questioning whether their neighbours were preparing for Carnival or the purge. The actual events of the carnival itself also got fame too under the hashtag #NottingHillCarnival; videos sharing fun moments racked up thousands of likes, while others of over-crowded streets, and over-crowded tube stations gained hundreds of thousands. 

Links We’re Passing 

Music: Taylor Swift announced a new album in her acceptance speech at the VMAs

Lisa of K-pop group BlackPink is the first K-pop solo artist to win a VMA

Addison Rae’s mom Sheri Nicole attended the VMAs as Yung Gravy’s date

TikTok: Beloved viral dog Baby Girl has crossed the rainbow bridge

A trend encouraging users to show off the side profile of their “ethnic nose” after Bella Hadid said she wished she hadn’t gotten a nose job at 14

People are parodying insanely busy day in my life videos 

Female servers are doing a social experiment to see if wearing pigtails can earn them more tips, and the results are kind of disturbing

Brand memes: Brands are describing themselves in one word, with no context

TV: Paramount Global has merged Showtime and Paramount+ into one streaming app

Love Island finalist Indiyah signs a beauty deal with Boots and becomes the face of PrettyLittleThing’s new marketplace app 

The CW is changing ownership, and creative direction

Movies: The trailer for the Winnie the Pooh horror movie is more than anyone expected

Western Europe: American chain Hooters have divided opinions in the U.K. after signing a deal with kids under-10s Nottingham football team 

Research has been released showing the energy crisis increase within the U.K. on items like beer, coffee and petrol

Krispy Kreme X McVitie’s join forces to create a Jaffa Cake donut