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Gen Z CARLY goes Adorkable. Millennial HENRY goes Quiltcore.

Bloomberg’s Ben Schott on the Future Commerce podcast
February 19, 2021

This week, Bloomberg’s Ben Schott sat with us to talk about the future of branding, and how startups and global CPG’s alike are courting the next generation with counter-cultural brutalism.

This “middle schooler makes a Powerpoint” ✨a e s t h e t i c✨ has become pervasive, as these things do, first as an authentic outflow of creatorpreneurs who are designing with themselves and their audience’s tastes in mind, and now also co-opted by conglomerates wanting to appear authentic. The problem? Consumers don’t really know the difference. 

When we rated Starface (#5) and Crocs (#8) in our Nine by Nine report back in July of 2020, we found that brands large and small were aiming to appeal to a psychographic of a consumer who cared less about perfection, and more about outwardly celebrating her diversity, even her flaws. This psychographic — we called her C.A.R.L.Y. (Can't Afford Real Life Yet) — caught on and we’ve seen it mentioned from GQ, Adweek, to even Buzzfeed and El País.

Sheep flock, however, and the flock is leaving the “bland” era in the dust. Where brands like NotPot and Starface feel intentionally subversive, newcomers backed by DaddyCorps® attempt to recreate “the Gen Z look” instead come off as unintentionally ugly. 

Speaking of ugly, HENRY is evolving its own patchwork of trends into one megatrend: enter quiltcore. Building on a MSCHF t-shirt drop from 2020, luxury brands have begun to upcycle and stitch together menswear into veritable quilts. Starting with outerwear (and presumably, one day, underwear), gaudy and mismatched pieces of fabric combine to make one mega-ugly coat that even Joseph’s brothers couldn’t be jealous of. 

Hear more about these trends in our newest podcast with Bloomberg’s Ben Schott.

Social media is cool again. This was a big week for emerging social platforms. Clubhouse breaks through with their audio chat platform and some are offering a bull case for Dispo, a new photo capturing and sharing app backed by Gen Z influencer David Dobrik.

Sustainability. HUGE round of applause for Olive setting the standard in online shopping through their sustainable and convenient shipping model. Their focus is on the fashion industry, where clothing items from multiple participating brands ship in a single reusable tote, which is later picked up—empty or full of returns. It’s the best idea since the local milk man did this with glass bottles. We’re waiting on a similar sustainable answer from you, Amazon.

Quiltcore. In the rising trend of “patchwork couture,” LA surfer and artist, Tristan Detwiler, is bringing quiltcore to the boardwalk with his brand STAN, making one of a kind upcycled jackets made from vintage and antique textiles. It’s shredding the gnar, Nana style.

Sneakers/Candles/Resale. This week in candles: Italic shared why they take a loss on every candle they sell and eBay made a candle that smells like a shoe. A brand new one, that is.

This person isn’t real. They’re UNreal. 

Velebs/Vtubers. Have we crossed the Uncanny Valley? Unreal Engine announced their groundbreaking MetaHumans, and reactions range from amazement to concern.

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