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Camp and Internet-Born Gen Z Subcultures Top Google’s 2019 Fashion Search Trends

Giving more proof that fashion took a strange turn in 2019, this week Google Trends shared the most searched fashion style terms of the year.

While mainstream trends like preppy, emo, vintage and Harajuku style continued to land on the radar of Google users, the U.S. search results reveal queries into in Japanese subcultures, digital fashion and how Gen Z-centric apps like Twitch and TikTok are influencing fashion.

“Camp style,” the central—and mystifying—theme for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition, led Google search trends in 2019.

While the flood of exuberant colors, whimsical headpieces and dramatic silhouettes that walked the pink carpet at the Met Gala summed up the exhibition’s flamboyant theme, the days leading to the event drove Google users to search for the definition of camp as it pertains to fashion. Searches for the term spiked between May 5-11, the week of the star-studded event, Google reported.

Internet-born, Gen Z-led trends “e-girl style” and “e-boy style” were the second- and third-most-searched fashion style terms of the year.

Not to be confused with Google’s No. 9 most searched fashion term, “VSCO girl style,” e-girl and e-boy are typically defined by being someone who takes style cues from their interests like video games, memes and anime. Whereas VSCO girls—a term used to describe users of the photo editing app—favor oversized tie-dye tees, Crocs clogs and glow-enhancing makeup, the “e” population opts for edgier styling choices.

According to the Independent, e-girls often have brightly colored hair (worn in pigtails), hearts or freckles applied to their cheeks and sport band tees, high-waisted pants and plaid skirts. E-boy style, on the other hand, skews darker with goth influences, skinny jeans, chain wallets and black nail polish.

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“Yankii style” also intrigued Google users. The seventh-most-searched fashion style term references the Japanese youth subculture with a rebellious and punk spirit.

OOTD inspiration

Google users hit the web for outfit ideas.

“E-girl outfit” and “E-boy outfit” topped Google’s list of most searched outfit ideas, followed by “Soft girl outfit,” a term used to describe the ultra-feminine style worn by Gen Z girls on social media apps like TikTok.

The soft girl uniform consists of ’90s style gingham shift dresses, pleated plaid skirts and sugary pink sweaters and blouses. The looks are often punctuated by pearl-embellished hair clips, headbands and heart-theme accoutrements.

The soft girl look is decidedly more Lolita-like than the “VSCO girl outfit,” Google’s fifth-most-searched outfit idea term. In 2019, the VSCO girl look leaned toward earthy styling choices like Birkenstock sandals, Patagonia T-shirts and vintage mom jeans.