Depending on who you ask, the eight letter label ‘VSCO girl’ might mean nothing, or everything to you. As the peak human embodiment of Gen Z, I fall distinctly into the latter category.


For those who don’t know, VSCO girl is a term for a (usually teenage) girl who posts pictures edited with the app VSCO, wears Birkenstocks, uses Hydoflasks and really, Really wants to save the turtles.


Now, make no mistake, I am not a VSCO girl—I respect the lifestyle but the carefully calculated aesthetic takes far too much time and money for my liking. Still, I recognise the positive affect VSCO girls have on a number of things, one of which is the environment. Yes, we make fun of them for it, we ‘SKSKSKS and I oop’ shame them for it, we call them ‘basic’ and ‘stupid’, but maybe, just maybe, consider that in drinking out of Hydroflasks, using reusable straws, and wearing Birkenstock sandals might just have a positive impact on the environment, even if for most of the VSCO girls, it’s only a part of the ‘aesthetic’? Yes, the reasons behind using environmentally friendly products may be largely self centred and aesthetics based, but if that reduces plastic intake, is it really such a bad thing? As a fellow Gen Z, I can say that the members of my generation have approached the VSCO movement with our usual trademark celebration and self deprecation, but I think that championing environmentally friendly daily items for the sake of an aesthetic movement, or promoting metal straws under viral tweets or memes about VSCO girls, or even going to climate marches in Birkenstocks with a line of scrunchies all up your arm, is just about the most Gen Z way to champion environmental activism, and frankly, with all the memes I’ve gotten out of this, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Shaivi Bhatta