Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.
From Crocs to bumbags, Gen Z are getting a reputation for their love of fashion that’s so ugly it’s cute. The latest in this line of trends is a revival from the 2000s, a style of nail art known as “duck nails” or “flare nails,” where the nail gets broader at the end. This creates a larger canvas for personalisation, such as adding stick-on charms. The style is impractical, but this only adds to the audacious vibe, making the look even more shareable on social media. Indeed, it won’t surprise you to learn that videos with the hashtag #ducknails already have over 15 million views on TikTok.
Duck nails align with many of the trends we’ve written about here and in our Youth Trends Reports in recent years. For example, they are an example of the “ugly fashion” trend, which has seen Gen Z adopting brands and styles that older generations had previously worn then dismissed as uncool. Cringe content is also a TikTok mainstay, with creators building a following by embracing the cringe – from their fashion and beauty to embarrassing stories and fail videos. But most of all, duck nails exemplify Gen Z’s commitment to expressing their individuality and being proudly unique.
Research we conducted for our 2021 Youth Trends Report found that 85% of UK 16-24s say being themself is more important to them than fitting in. This desire to express their individuality is regularly cited as one of the main drivers of TikTok’s success with Gen Z, as creativity and originality are key to success on the platform. While this can encourage young people to feel free to be themselves, relieving the pressure to conform that they may feel in other parts of their lives, it also creates a pressure to come up with the most unique and engaging content in order to compete. From this comes outlandish fashion such as duck nails. Would young people really wear them in day-to-day life, or only on TikTok? We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the trend spreads outside of social media.
Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates on the latest youth trends direct to your email inbox.
Featured image credit: @ourienailedit