Born on Tumblr (like most digital subcultures), the Gen Z-led cottagecore movement revolves around a romanticized view of agricultural life. It crossed over to Instagram and TikTok in 2019 thanks to viral videos (many of which begin with the words ‘Ayo, cottagecore check!’) that have given it a wider online presence.

Cottagecore can be understood as an evolution of 2019’s Yeehaw Agenda–  which  was a digital-based queer subculture of Gen Z creatives reclaiming a Western aesthetic. Both cottagecore and the Yeehaw Agenda feel like they are redefining this idea of Americana in some way. The Yeehaw Agenda was more about celebrating black excellence with Lil Nas X and this image of the black gay cowboy. Cottagecore is a much softer, feminized version of the Yeehaw Agenda, which enables gender non-conforming people – particularly queer women – to participate.



The key difference between typical social media influencers and Depop influencers is that even though there are plenty of people who come to Depop and use it as a place of inspiration and discovery, it's primarily a transactional place. Gen Zers have grown up with social media being ever-present, where metrics in the form of likes, comments, and followers have come to define a person’s social capital and clout. The notion of having a certain amount of clout isn’t specifically anything new, but this form of social currency is reaching new heights of visibility. It is just as valuable as actually getting paid for something because clout is what can ensure continued growth if it's harnessed in the right way.

The emergence of the Depop influencer also highlights how the line between customer, follower, and friend is becoming increasingly blurred. With 54% of Gen Zers pointing to social media as their top influence channel, Depop influencers are sitting in that sweet spot where they’re both a source of inspiration and discovery, but also a direct vendor of this inspiration – where their growth in follower count and clout had a strong impact on their sales.


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