Do you understand the rising interest in 'Cottagecore', or the growth of 'Bardcore' subcultures online?
Even if you've heard of these niches, you likely don't have a full understanding of what they mean, and the context from which they've emerged, which is where YouTube's latest culture and trends report comes in. In collaboration with visual storytelling studio Polygraph, YouTube has created a new, interactive report into aesthetic trends, and how YouTubers, specifically, engage with such content.
As explained by YouTube:
"While identity-seeking is one of the core pursuits of any youth culture, for Gen Z, identity is a journey, not a destination. This generation has grown up creating their identities for online spaces, where identity is transient by design. YouTube is an ideal platform for people to learn how to adopt and adapt aesthetics they’re interested in."
The report outlines six key aesthetic trends, including the aforementioned Cottagecore and Bardcore, along with 'Dark Academia', 'Dreamcore', 'Royaltycore' and 'Y2K'.
Each trend also includes links to relevant YouTube clips, along with a brief explanation of the trend.
"Y2K is an aesthetic based on the look of the late 1990s and early 2000s, a time where the internet was clunky and raw, but most of all, could be turned off. The post-millennium look has many iterations that range from boy-band fangirl inspired looks to Paris Hilton-era Juicy tracksuits."
I did not know this - and for those too old to still be in the loop on the latest trends, like myself, it could be a good way to catch up on some of these rising interests, and get a better understanding of where they've come from.
The report also includes an overview of the growth of aesthetic guides on YouTube, which provide insight into how to engage with each trend.
While there's also more specific insight into the relative elements of interest in each trend, based on the video clips aligned with the genre.
As noted, it could be a helpful way to improve your own personal understanding of these rising interest areas, while for brands, it might also be useful as a research tool in understanding where different audience types are engaging, and the types of content they're responding to.
If you were looking to align with the Cottagecore trend, for example, with flowing dresses and lace, you could use this guide to get a more in-depth understanding of that interest, before diving in (and potentially misstepping).
It's interesting, either way, and it may have specific value, dependent on your aims.
You can check out YouTube's "Rise of Aesthetics" interactive report here.