From de-influencing to Lucky Girl Syndrome, TikTokers are simply rebranding old content formats

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

1 year ago

De-influencing, Lucky Girl Syndrome, dupe culture. Since the beginning of the year, TikTokers have been racing to name every trend. Only these aren’t new – they’re old formats, rebranded for the youth market.

When TikTokers rediscover a forgotten piece of internet culture – 2014 Tumblr, the twee aesthetic – they put their own spin on it. More often than not, any TikTok trend deemed “new” has been borrowed from Tumblr or YouTube. The revival of the “what’s in my bag trend” as “hot girl totebag” is a prime example of this. It started via magazines in the 2000s, moved to YouTube in the 2010s and now has a new home and name on TikTok. One idea, three life cycles.

The de-influencing trend that started in January 2023 is just a topical way to say “don’t buy this”. Or a new iteration of the anti-haul trend that was popular on YouTube in the 2010s. It’s also not de-influencing anything. As US lifestyle creator Arden Rose Ricks pointed out, “de-influencing is just influencing with an accent LOL”. Exactly.

Similarly, TikTok’s obsession with dupe culture – specifically within the beauty sphere – is, as Twitter user Lauren Murphy noted, a new way to say knockoff. It’s the same story for Lucky Girl Syndrome, which is essentially manifestation.

TikTokers’ speed to label everything has meant the mainstream media is now following them and using their language. While The Cut might have coined gorpcore to put a name to the hiker-chic-meets-streetwear aesthetic in 2017, publications are generally lagging behind. For example, TikToker Lex Nicoleta named the much-covered “coastal grandmother” aesthetic that took over the app in 2022.

As writer Jess White explained in a Twitter post when looking at the “warm girl” trend from autumn (the jury seems to be out as to what this aesthetic means), TikTokers’ need for “content-ifying” and categorising every feeling is down to consumerism.


i don’t know why it works but… everything works out for us #luckygirlsyndrome #luckygirl #luckygirlsyndrom #manifestation #affirmationsoftheday #affirmations #collegelifehack #lifehack #college #collegegirls

♬ original sound – skzzolno

Their fixation on specific audios and ideas moves at lightning speed. That girl, coconut girl, healing girl spring – these came and went in a flash before brands had a chance to take advantage of them. That said, the way TikTokers rebrand trends, such as de-influencing – can basically be linked to capitalism. It’s a way for creators to leverage their content by giving it an edge through a catchy name that could take off and lead to brand deals.

All of this is driving product relevancy. Like wearing a plethora of blusher? Call it “I’m cold” makeup. Applying skincare before going to bed? It’s “get unready with me”. For brands, it’s better to look to the past (AKA formats that thrived on YouTube and Tumblr) and anticipate the next viral thing rather than acting on the existing trend cycle.

Blink and you’ll miss it, but you’ve probably seen it before anyway.

By Caroline Edwards, news and features writer. Picture credit: Arden Rose via Instagram.