HotToks: French Girl Style, Beauty Brands on TikTok, & Boxers Turned Influencers
Last updated on
September 18, 2023
By: Vivian Zhou
Welcome back to HotToks, where we explain 'the why' behind each viral TikTok trend, tap into key cultural moments, cover app updates, and share how to plan your TikTok marketing strategy. This edition we discuss the charming but unachievable French Girl aesthetic, why beauty brands are moving towards TikTok instead of Instagram, and how professional boxers are a new pipeline for influencer fame.
The Charm of the French Girl Aesthetic on TikTok
With over 371M views on ‘French girl style,’ the ‘French-girl’ aesthetic is taking over TikTok; let’s talk about it.
What is the ‘French-girl’ aesthetic? The idea takes inspiration from French culture. A true Parisian would never be caught dead in ‘athleisure’; they put in the work to look good. In other words, this aesthetic is all about achieving that elusive, effortless look. It’s understated glam, clean, fresh faces, the ‘just rolled out of bed’ vibe. Quite unfortunate for everyone who doesn’t look like Bella Hadid when rolling out of bed.
According to Fashionista, the ‘French-girl’ aesthetic is a myth that’s finally hit the TikTok generation, making us believe that this aesthetic is accessible and achievable, but IRL, it might not be as easy to execute. There’s just a fundamental difference between American and French cultures that deeply affects the way we consume. The Parisian lifestyle is idealized often (leading to a phenomenon coined the ‘Paris Syndrome’), but it’s nearly impossible to get close to the real deal, which is why many Americans still flock to Paris, in batches, to get a short-lived glimpse of a highly romanticized life that we don’t have back at home. And this aesthetic goes hand-in-hand with minimalism. As historian Dierdre Clemente explains, the classic French wardrobe consists of a few staples, wide-leg pants, a LBD, and a cool suit. It’s not about following trends, it’s about quality, fit, and timeless style.
And TikTok is not sleeping on this trend. Brands like Sezane, Musier Paris, and Rouje Paris are popping off on social media and capitalizing on selling the ‘French-girl’ delicate, romantic, flirty, and mysterious fantasy. Founder of Rouje Paris and IG it-girl Jeanne Damas credits Instagram for her early success, and now, Rouje is obviously on TikTok (and so is Damas). On TikTok, Rouje Paris and other French-girl brands can sell that French-girl fantasy in a much more vivid, IRL way that can look relatable and easy to pull off. The cherry on top? TikTok is all about casual, organic content—the perfect breeding ground for the effortless ‘French-girl’ style to be born. These French fashion brands’ promises of chicness and effortful effortless fashion are just too good to pass up.
Beauty brands are noticing (and unhappy about) the constant algorithmic changes that Meta-owned Instagram rolls out. Bree Johnson, the co-founder of Frank Body, notes that the algorithm changes “definitely” impacted their business. Although brands still recognize Instagram’s 2B monthly active users, beauty brands realize they need to diversify their social media strategies. In the current age of low attention spans and hyper-stimulation, “content needs to be hyper-tailored to the community you’re going after,” says Cassandra Napoli, a senior strategist at trends agency WGSN.
IG’s platform quirks, like the “Instagram aesthetic,” was what kept beauty brands going for so long. But the polished aesthetic, neat photos and in-feed grid planning are slowly becoming a thing of the past. TikTok’s rise to fame was all about its unfiltered nature and authenticity. And while some beauty brands are struggling with these platform nuances, Jones Road Beauty has been enjoying quite a bit of success on TikTok. Bobbi Brown, the founder of JRB, makes occasional appearances speaking candidly about her personal journey with beauty, and it’s really working.
How did it all get started? Influencers. YouTubers Jake and Logan Paul stepping into the ring are part of the reason why boxing has become wildly popular, especially among younger crowds. In 2021, YouTube-star-turned-boxer Jake Paul earned $40M in the ring. The relationships they have built with their audiences in tandem with the sport's popularity as a result of their social media personalities are a testament to the very real impact and importance of influencer marketing. To prove it, several Reddit users have used forums to credit the Paul brothers for reviving their interest in the sport: “I used to only watch the big fights with my family … but ever since this YouTube boxing started to take off, I have bec[o]me a regular viewer.”
“I used to only watch the big fights with my family … but ever since this YouTube boxing started to take off, I have bec[o]me a regular viewer.”
And the IRL results are astounding. Entertainment companies, like Amazon Prime, ESPN, and Paramount, and beverage companies, like BudLight, have since begun building partnerships with Top Rank, showcasing their confidence in boxing’s recent and growing hype, thanks to social media and influencers.