Meet Ella, a super creative and insightful 17yr old Sydneysider who describes youth being about CURIOSITY…interesting, as it’s another dimension of Generation C. Here’s her POV on youth culture and brands.
What’s the best thing about being your age?
The best thing about being my age is the way that the world is constantly evolving at such a fast rate, and we are in a position to experience every second of it – we are at a point where we are not quite tied down by many of the bigger responsibilities that arrive a few years after high school, and yet we are also not so young that we are necessarily sheltered. In terms of the world around us, we are in a fantastic position to be taking in as much knowledge as possible, considering the political, technological and economic climate; we will soon have the opportunity to be making changes based on what we observe in these few years.
Describe Australian youth culture in a word or sentence?
CURIOUS – everyone I know is always keen to be experiencing new things, whether they be small or big. The technology that is becoming available to us e.g. facebook, iphones or whatever – are only taking off because our generation’s inherent curiosity and genuine want to discover and experience new things. Connectivity, as Harry said, is a massive part of this curiosity.
What are 15-18yr old girls talking about right now?
15-18 yr old girls… Girls are always interested in the newest thing to wear (gladiator sandles last summer – nuff said), the newest thing to drink (e.g. Vitamin water), the newest thing to watch (gossip girl, 90210, Australia’s next top model), hairstyle (remember when everyone got bang fringes a few months ago…) and being able to keep in touch with these trends is a massive part of daily life. Ultimately, these trends make girls feel comfortable about who they are surrounded by. Hmmm this is getting a bit too anthropologic; girls trends recently have been gossip girl (season two over, sadly), skins (british television show, possibly best show ever, season one at least), leggings, general pants co, ksubi and generally the australian fashion industry, leather jackets have been massive and of course a white backed apple iphone is definitely the lusted after piece of technology.
What tribes/subcultures do you identify with?
I probably identify with ‘indie’, however this term has become cringe-worthy and kind of a joke. I feel that the way indie has evolved, it has split two ways. The term is now used to cover a wide bracket of other sub-genres and cultures, and to use it as an umbrella term means it is probably being used in the wrong way. However some brands have managed to harness the best bits of the culture without actually using the term – brands like general pants co, wrangler, insight, modular records and frankie magazine.
Young people today are ‘chameleons’ changing their look/character based on their environment/people they’re hanging with..Do you agree,disagree?
I agree to a certain extent. We are definitely shaped by who we are surrounded by, however often you will find that people often come into their own with these sub-cultures or friendship groups. At school for example, there is always a mixture of looks/characters in any given group – and all of these people will have friends with the same look/character outside of school. This is especially common at schools where people come from different areas for different reasons.
How has Facebook impacted your life?
Facebook has impacted my life as I now feel much more connected, yet also much more tied down by these connections. The fast paced conditions that facebook offers is a microcosm of how I live my life – with mini-relationships with a large amount of people, who I may or may not see on daily basis. It is also an amazing tool of procrastination.
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by my friends and the people that I work with at the radio station – what they aspire to and how they are aiming to do it. I am inspired by magazine like russh and frankie, and the way they manage to present everything so beautifully. I am inspired by smaller things – a funny piece of writing in the newspaper, a pair of shoes, a song. But probably I am most inspired by the people around me – my friends, my parents, my grandparents even.
Your favourite brands and why?
fbi radio – an amazing sydney radio station that continues to push boundaries with music, arts and culture… its also just a whole lot of fun to listen to, and engage with at live gigs and events.
the selby – a website that looks at the houses of creative people – so inspiring and interesting to get a look into other people’s lives
monster children – a great skate magazine that manages to harness so much cred and street into one little booklet a few times a year, and they have an art gallery with awesome opening nights, whats not to like.
the orange penguin books – giving great books a new life on the shelves, so cheaply! I’ve bought at least ten in the time its come out.
minty meets munt – a little shop in Surry Hills that sells the cutest selection of aussie clothes; they also have their own brand with some amazing pieces
apple – my god what an empire they’re building.
peep toe shoes – the aussie version of louboutins, at a much cheaper price
What do brands need to know about engaging you and your friends?
These brands are doing pretty well – but any attempt to appear hip or cool, especially if it is unordinary for a brand to do this, will immediately have people searching for something more laidback, more nonchalant. To appeal to to me and my friends, try and think about the quintessential sydneysider in summer – laidback, chilled, interested but not pathetic. In reality though, if something better comes along, we will make the switch (e.g. myspace to facebook).
Finish these sentences..
I love.. the sydney music scene at the moment, magazines, summer in the beachy city, having the freedom to dress how I want to, international press, quirky films.
I hate.. the hsc, not being 18, twighlight, the cost of hairdressers
I believe.. that the climate of a ‘global financial crisis’ makes people lose their heads in a very silly fashion, and it is funny to watch (e.g. all the politicians running around like chickens with their heads cut off at the slight mention of economic growth for june)
I hope.. that they change the system of the hsc because at the moment the amount of pressure that lies with that final number is far too large
I fear.. the pressure of the hsc, the shutting down of fbi, magpies…
My mobile… is a way for me to be connected and I feel strange without it.
My friends… are my inspiration, are what keep me going, are who I have fun with and laugh with
Sydney or Melbourne??? Sydney – Melbourne may be more ‘fashionable’ but Sydney is the oldest, Sydney has the beach (and only one season in a day), Sydney is beautiful in a laidback way that Melbourne never could be.
Anything else about Australian youth culture in 2009?….
Having travelled overseas for exchange in 2007/2008, I have come to realise that the teenagers that live in Sydney are some of the most well connected, fashionable and interesting people. Cities like Paris, London and New York get props – but having travelled to all of these places I have found, for the most part, that kids in Sydney have their fingers much more on the pulse than many places in Europe, America and England.
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