Geek Out, Gen Z style
A whistle-stop tour around the areas of Gen Z geek culture you need to know about!
With traditional schooling upended by Covid, young people are nostalgic for all things academic. Over 2020/21 we’ve seen Gen Z romanticise geek life on social media by adopting an aesthetic known as ‘Dark Academia’. It’s a sartorial blend of scholarly with touches of the gothic, inspired by a romantic ideal of boarding school/university campus life a la Harry Potter and The Secret History, and we’re seeing it pop up in new series Young Royals and Sex Education too. Look no further than H&M’s new collaboration with Sex Education for all things Gen Z geek chic, and complement with ASMR Hogwarts Common Room playlists to really get in the school groove.
For this generation, it’s always been cool to care about the climate (think The Thunberg Effect). Now after nearly 18 months of restricted movement, we’re seeing young people get granular on the causes they care about and increasingly zooming in on the natural world around them. Sales of STEM toys have skyrocketed, gardens and nature schools are becoming an integral part of the curriculum, and teens are documenting their fascination with local butterflies on Tiktok. Indeed, Gen Z carry their environmental consciousness into their digital lives, from the big things like Environmental Activism Creator Collectives on Tiktok (‘Eco Tok’), to the small, like using digital tool Flora to combine revision with growing a virtual garden – or even learning about raw materials and geological structures in Minecraft.
After the uncertainty of the past 18 months, it’s no surprise this practically minded generation are increasingly turning their hands to offline DIY, engineering and construction. #Cargirl Culture shows the latest way Gen Z girls are deconstructing gender stereotypes in the traditionally male dominated space of racing and cars, building their own cars from scratch and competing in drag racing. Of course these practical skills extend to the digital – this is a generation of junior designers! Already proficient in constructing digital worlds, they’re now using Minecraft to explore and plan their future careers and even mining cryptocurrency to save money for college.
Gen Z are donning their chef’s hats and dusting off their aprons. But it’s a far cry from home economics classes of generations past: they’re taking this to the next level, uncovering the science behind their favourite bakes, celebrating global food cultures like @seemagetsbaked national dish series, honing the classics like Potato Queen of TikTok @Poppycooks and replicating their favourite food from TV, movies and video games. Gen Z food geeks are all about hacking their way to delicious dishes that please the eye as much as the belly – think Brazilian lemonade and limeade, tortilla wrap and pasta chip hacks – or go vegan with @ballehurns moreish vegan meals.