VSCO Invasion : New Trend Overlaps with Bend Culture

By Barbara Norton

Her oversized t-shirt is so baggy it completely covers her tiny shorts. Her
luscious blonde locks cascade down her back. The sheer amount of string from her
friendship bracelets and anklets is enough to make a blanket. Scrunchies
outnumber ponytails in a four to one ratio. This is the VSCO girl.

Since June, 2019, the VSCO girl has been spreading like wildfire to
all corners of social media. She is most easily characterized
by a grouping of possessions that vaguely link back to being
free-spirited and eco-friendly. Ownership of Hydro Flasks,
Birkenstocks, scrunchies, metal straws and a fierce desire to
save the turtles will automatically upgrade any VSCO girl
from an amateur to a VSCO guru.

Senior Victoria Tompkins is a self-described VSCO
girl who claims she checked all these boxes before it was
trendy. Similar to many other Bendites, she experienced the
intersection of Bend and VSCO culture firsthand.
“Bend culture and VSCO culture have so many places
of overlap that once VSCO girls became a trend, people
who aligned with Bend culture ft right in with VSCO
culture,” Tompkins said.

The spine of the VSCO girl aesthetic, Hydro Flask, is also a
source of community pride in Bend. Founded in 2009 in Bend by
former Lava Bear Travis Rosbach, Hydro Flask headquarters are
a mere two-minute walk from the high school and their products
can be found on virtually every desk in Bend classrooms.
“I think that out of all of the products generally associated with the VSCO
aesthetic, Hydro Flasks are definitely the most common. Basically any Tik Tok about
VSCO girls has a Hydro Flask in it,” said junior Emma Harris, who jokes about being
a VSCO girl due to her love of Mario Badescu Facial Spray.

Hydro Flask’s Vice President of Product, David Visnack, maintains that Hydro Flask
is focused on continuing to provide quality products, regardless of what is trendy.
“We made a product that was fun, expressive and reusable and I think this really
resonates with the VSCO girls,” Visnack said.
However, Hydro Flask isn’t directing its focus solely towards VSCO girls. If–and
when–the VSCO girl trend takes a nosedive, there could potentially
be damage placed upon their brand.
“Hydro Flask was started as an outdoor brand and our core
consumer will remain active individuals with an afnity for
self-expression and nature,” Visnack said. “Although we’re not
specifically marketing towards VSCO girls, we definitely
realize that our approach resonates with them.”
Stereotyping of the VSCO Persona.

With over 1.4 billion views of videos tagged TikTok, the majority being parodies, the carefree
VSCO girl has descended into memehood.
“I think that VSCO girls have definitely become a
meme, especially on TikTok. A lot of people think that
they’re basic or annoying,” Harris said.

Bendite culture being unwillingly adopted into the mighty force that is the VSCO aesthetic has caused frustration for those who have embraced environmental consciousness and Hydro Flasks before they were trendy. “It’s annoying because people say ‘You’re so basic’ or ‘You’re so VSCO’ and I have to say ‘Yeah,’ but before the trend started I dressed this certain way,” said Tompkins who, like most VSCO girls, wears oversized t-shirts and scrunchies as she drives her Jeep Wrangler, Hydro Flask in hand. While perhaps vexing for those whose authentic “Bend” style is now part of the VSCO trend, it is safe to say that Bendite culture is here to stay as the city continues to expand and thrive, regardless of whether VSCO culture continues to grow as well

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