Just (don't) do it.
Among college students, trends come and go. Here are five trends that surfaced on the UGA campus in 2019 that we should all agree to leave in the past.
Big Sneaker Energy
Straight out of the 1980s, oversized dad sneakers, often solid white and 4 inches oversized, have been making their way onto the feet of every twentysomething in town. "Big Sneaker Energy" is the phrase I use to identify those who wear these, quite frankly, unattractive shoes. The UGA campus has been swarming with them, and it’s an epidemic that needs to be stopped.
Big Sneaker Energy often goes hand-in-hand with oversaturated Instagram feeds, expensive “vintage” wardrobes, glittery eyelids, multi-colored bangs, tiny backpacks and trendy mullet haircuts. BSEs may have their own band that uses five power chords in eight different ways, or perfectly curated Spotify playlists featuring Tame Impala and Billie Eilish. Some BSEs post videos of themselves on social media laughing and dancing, but when you see them in real life, they only glare at you. You know those Instagram “photographers” who only post nudes of people sitting in the grass or looking in a mirror? Those are BSEs, and their parents probably bought their camera.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t wear what you want to wear or be your true self, but when your true self is also the true self of every other trendy millennial, you may need to rethink some things. There’s a reason our dads stopped wearing those sneakers. You should stop wearing them, too.
Quite possibly the worst trend of them all, this started in 2019, and it should end in 2019. Remember in 2017 when every cool millennial hated country music and made fun of rednecks? Well, now those same millennials are buying cowboy hats and talking about Randy Travis’ hits like they didn’t just look them up on YouTube last week. You people are from Marietta, and you definitely didn’t ride a horse around your cul-de-sac. Calling yourself a cowboy doesn’t make you a cowboy, and just because you did a photo shoot outside of the Caledonia Lounge wearing a hot pink western hat doesn’t make you country.
You’re allowed to like country music, but don’t pretend to be a redneck when you aren’t one. Actual cowboys spend days on end working in fields and handling animals to earn that title, and you just like to take pictures of yourself for Instagram and quote Shania Twain (who, by the way, is a genius, and this is in no way bashing her). I grew up in rural Georgia around actual rednecks, who—trust me when I say this—are not trendy. Farmers and cowboys work really hard for their titles, so appreciate them, and don’t try to be them.
Fine Wine Millennials
Have you ever gone to a house party and seen that person making their way around the room sporting a fanny pack and a box of wine? That’s a Fine Wine Millennial. Fanny packs are perfect for theme parks, long walks, music festivals or activities where you have to conceal your belongings for long periods of time. Fanny packs weren’t made for millennials to look cool. I remember, in 2016, a time when I wore my Atlanta Zoo fanny pack I’ve had since I was 8 out in public and was made fun of. Now, you can buy a fanny pack from Urban Outfitters.
FWMs have multiple fanny packs, and they don’t even wear them around their fannies. These young people can be found shopping for some vino after researching it, or maybe even working for a wine company. They’ll always be the first to turn down beer and the last to share their wine with you. It’s a new level of pretentiousness that, while often coming from an educated place, can come off a little strong. So, continue to drink wine, but maybe talk about it less.
New Wave Groupies
What happened to old-school groupies? Yes, they did questionable things, but there was never a doubt that they cared about the music. Now, in 2019, we have what I call New Wave Groupies—they’re similar to those groupies but, in many ways, very different.
It’s no secret that there are shows downtown almost every night of the week, and bands that play regularly at Flicker or Caledonia. What you may not immediately notice is the NWGs who are always at those shows. These folks may be everywhere—their Instagram and Snapchat stories make that very clear—but if you pay close attention, it seems they’re more interested in being seen at shows than actually seeing them. They’re often filming or texting while it’s happening, revealing that they care a lot less about the music and more about the appearance of it. Go to concerts if you care about the music or to support your friends, but don’t pretend like it’s the most important thing to you when it’s clearly not.
Were you in a praise band growing up? I was, which makes spotting this trend easy: new, young bands that use a lot of reverb and write songs that sound like Christian contemporary music, but with lyrics about their significant others or their test grades. The kicker is that these bands have streaming numbers through the roof and live audiences in the hundreds. It’s really very confusing how it all works, but it does.
There’s nothing wrong with this type of music—they’re writing what is familiar to them—but its popularity is concerning. There are bands that are new and original and different but can only get six people to come to their show at Hendershot’s, and meanwhile, a group of college kids who started a month ago can sell out the Georgia Theatre.
I’m not sure that this trend can be stopped, but at least it can be recognized. Unless they’re making actual religious music and trying to make a career out of that, it isn’t going anywhere. They’re ripping off Christian contemporary while trying to be an indie rock band. It works while they’re in college, but it won’t stick.