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Q+A with Digi: Is virality the new good taste?

Digi x Stylist on how social rewired how we think about taste


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We spoke to Stylist on how ‘good taste’ and ‘bad taste’ have been redefined by what’s trending online, and how Gen Z tastemakers are leveraging these new norms to champion personal style beyond traditional arbiters: 

Stylist: Can fashion/lifestyle brands exist without the notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste? 

Digi: If anything, it seems less emphasis on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste can create room for more brands, since people are less restricted by the traditional function of taste as an arbiter and their purchasing decisions are guided by other factors, whether that be replicating a TikTok trend or dressing for self-expression.

Stylist: Do Gen Z care about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste? 

Digi: There’s a section of Gen Z that still values and aspires to markers of traditionally ‘good taste’ – think the Clean Girl aesthetic and the Old Money aesthetic, two lifestyles that prioritise ‘quiet luxury’ and ‘classic’/’timeless’ dressing that’s so often associated with good taste. Whilst I see ‘bad taste’ levied as an insult less than it may have been in the past, there are still behaviours that are often associated with ‘bad taste’, like buying into every passing microtrend. 

Stylist: Are there any trends/items which have garnered popularity recently that have really surprised you? 

Digi: Not yet! We’ve found that most popular trends of the moment in some way track with a previous trend or another current trend.

Stylist: Has virality replaced ‘good’ taste? 

Digi: I don’t think so, but it has created a new driver of status and momentum around products and aesthetics. Virality may actually be an indicator of what will soon be considered ‘bad taste’ or outdated, since viral trends tend to have a really contracted lifespan, and engaging with them frequently can be seen as a product of a lack of taste or personal style outside of what’s trending right now.

Stylist: Who or what do you think is currently defining taste levels and trends?

Digi: Figures like Emma Chamberlain, Bella Hadid, and Devon Lee Carlson are constantly referenced as Gen Z tastemakers, and if you look at the way each dresses, they’re always loosely on trend but not in a formulaic, copy-and-paste way – this seems to be a popular indicator of ‘good taste’ these days. This dovetails with personal style becoming an increasingly popular concept, as we all try to psychologically and financially divest from the relentless trend cycle. 

Read the full article by Beccy Hill here.

✨ Contributing Fairies

  • Biz Sherbert, Culture Editor

✨ Digi Reading Recs

  • What Does It Mean To Have Good Taste? (Forbes, 2021)