Finance and spending
min read

The Djerf Effect, GRWM and dadcore: The social media trends impacting Gen Z spending

Published on
November 14, 2023
Last updated
January 23, 2024

What this article covers

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In 60 seconds...

  • Gen Z are shaking up the world as we know it. Digitally native, purpose-driven and torchbearers of innovation, this cohort are poised to become the largest consumer group globally. Understanding what makes this generation tick is no longer a need for brands: it’s a must.
  • Online trends play a huge role here: this demographic has grown up with the inception of the internet and are largely responsible for driving the new trends we see on the day to day.
  • In this blog, we unpack some of the biggest trends and creators for Gen Z in 2023 and hear from our resident TikTok expert and Social Media Lead, Alice Green.

Let’s get stuck in…

The Djerf Effect

If you haven’t heard of Matilda Djerf by now, we’d be very, very surprised (are you living under a rock?!).

However, just in case you are, we’ll fill you in. Matilda Djerf is a Swedish fashion influencer, first making waves in 2019 with the launch of her fashion brand Djerf Avenue. In its first year, the brand made a whopping $1.8 million in revenue, hitting just shy of $34.5 million as of last year.

Djerf is one of the most recognisable faces on the internet, with over 3 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million on TikTok.

She’s the poster child for Scandi-core, the it girl of #CleanGirl; and Gen Z loves her.

Matilda Djerf is a unique creator because she is her own brand

She wears her own products, and Djerf Avenue’s social feeds are essentially snippets from her life: by purchasing from the brand, shoppers believe they can be just like her. Whether it’s half-eaten croissants or some perfectly created UGC, the Instagram feed is aesthetic and aspirational.

GRWM, baby!

Remember when we reported last year that long-form was officially back in vogue?

Well, 2023 has proven that this trend is very much here to stay, thanks to the resurgence of Get Ready With Me (GRWM) videos.

From oversharing (“get ready with me whilst I tell you about my childhood trauma”), to storytelling (“get ready with me whilst I tell you about my experience on a brand trip”), these videos document everything from the mundane to the scandalous; evolving a new era of intimacy between user and creator.

Why does Gen Z love GRWM so much?

GRWM videos are popular because young consumers want to feel connected to their favourite creators: they want to feel bonded, as though the creator is on FaceTime to them and unloading their deepest darkest secrets. 

By sharing their personal stories through online mediums, creators reveal their vulnerabilities – something we know young consumers value at a time when they feel more isolated than ever.

Brands are tapping into this trend in a big way

The GRWM hashtag currently has a massive 152 billion views. Crazy, we know.

The opportunities for marketers and brands are endless: you just need to know which creators are right for your brand, and how your brand can tap into that community. One brand which saw the value of this kind of content (and moved fast with it!) is MAC Cosmetics.

After seeing the meteoric rise of Tube Girl (aka Sabrina Bahsoon), MAC became the first brand to work with Bahsoon – harnessing none other than the power of “Get Ready With Me” to showcase their products.

@sabrinabahsoon Replying to @maccosmetics answering your questions! and YES I'm walking my first-ever fashion show, The M·A·C Face show tonight! Watch LIVE at link in bio! at 9PM BST / 4PM EST See you soon #MACStudioRadiance #SerumPowered #MACBackstage #GRWMAC ♬ original sound - Sabrina Bahsoon

You can watch the full video above – note how Bahsoon is casually interweaving MAC products into her video, whilst also using the video to answer questions and connect with her audience.

A genius piece of marketing: hats off, MAC!

Alice Green, Social Media Manager at Student Beans shares...

Alice shared that GRWM sees so much success because it’s “unpolished, it’s unfiltered, and it forces brands and people to be a lot more candid."

She added that brands working with creators to produce GRWM videos gives them a chance to “build a community with people.” 

Let's talk Dadcore

We’ve had the resurgence of Crocs, seen the power of a pair of jorts, and even the return of a sensible waterproof jacket. And what does all this remind you of? Your dad. 

Gen Zers grew up mocking their parents for their fashion sense, but now the tables have turned. ‘Dadcore’ is one of the biggest fashion trends out there – with stars from Emily Ratajwoski to Cole Sprouse rocking the practical, oversized attire.

When Dadcore first peaked in popularity, it had a primarily male fanbase. However, Gen Z’s style fluidity and love for the androgynous has seen this trend surge for everyone – albeit with a slightly Y2K twist. Socks and sandals were all the rage this summer, and mullets are cropping up everywhere we go.

How are brands tapping into Dadcore?

No brand does Dadcore quite like New Balance (remember this ad?!).

Functional fashion has been at the forefront of the Dadcore renaissance – and nothing is quite as functional as a trusty pair of New Balance trainers. With their 550 Sneakers labelled as the “It Shoe” thanks to being adorned by the likes of Hailey Bieber, Jack Harlow and Zoe Kravitz, New Balance’s sales were up over 100% in 2023.

Another brand that knows exactly how to tap into Dadcore is, of course, The North Face.

With an Instagram full of awe-inspiring images of skiers, snowboarders, and hikers, as well as Gen Zers sporting the latest puffer jacket, North Face’s feed encourages an enjoyment and appreciation for the natural world.

Whilst the products alone are enough to win over this generation, their famous collabs have taken it one step further. From artists to fashion labels, including Vans, Gucci and Supreme, The North Face are experts at tapping into Dadcore, heightening their brand affinity and resonating with Gen Zers who want to be both stylish and fashionable. 

Want to learn more about the trends impacting Gen Z and how your brand can harness them for success? Sign up for our Weekly Briefing now.

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