As a millennial with no kids, I can confidently say that I have no idea what Gen Alpha is up to. How do they like to spend their time? What slang do they use? What do they think is cool and uncool???
Thus, when I came across Faith Hitchon's "Trend Report" series on TikTok, I was instantly fascinated. Faith is a 35-year-old senior marketer and mom living in Los Angeles, who has gone viral multiple times for sharing the trends Gen Alpha considers "in" and "out" as told to her by her daughter, India, who's currently in middle school.
Reporting live from India's middle school pickup line, Faith covers everything Gen A, including fashion, slang, and everything in between. In her original video, Faith says, according to Gen A, "Do not even think about wearing pants that even hint at being tight. Don't even try it. A straight-leg jean is like, barely making the mark. If you do anything, that's the takeaway."
She continues, "Starface pimple patches are social currency. They are also a replacement for, like, money, I've been told. So, you can trade them for other things, but they're absolutely an accessory, not just a necessity, but they're both." Faith also reports that the long, flippy 2000s-style haircuts we all remember are coming back for middle school boys, and that her daughter refers to them as "Chad cuts." Also, "Hoodies, hoodies, hoodies, there is nay a cardigan in sight. There are barely jackets. It's all about hoodies."
It doesn't stop there. In another video, Faith tells us that, in Gen A's eyes, "If you have a PopSocket on your phone, you might as well take it off and burn it, because PopSockets are the skinny jeans of phone accessories." She also says that her and her daughter's biggest "tension point" when it comes to texting is whether it's acceptable to respond "K" to someone's text. Apparently, Gen A says that's perfectly fine, while millennials find it rude.
In yet another trend report video, Faith claims, "This is going to come for the throat of every millennial, but not only are skinny jeans out, so are skinny leggings. If you're going to wear a legging, it needs to have some kind of flare to it or you need to be wearing sweatpants."
"This next one is also very much an attack on millennials, and I apologize in advance, because it hurts me too," Faith continues, "throwing up a cute peace sign when you're trying to take like a cute, fun selfie is no longer a thing. In fact, my daughter always tells me it's 'cringe' when I do it. It is, however, acceptable to do a heart, or if you really want to impress, you can do the middle finger big heart."
She also shares that while the coquette aesthetic is very in right now among Gen Alpha (especially with lots of lace), the "Blair Waldorf-style big headband, or even just like a hard headband in general, is no longer a thing. However, the thick, chunky, elastic headbands are very much acceptable, but you need to make sure you're pushing your bangs back with them."
"And last but not least," she says "'Slay' is very much on its way out. You can say 'major,' but that's still kind of for, like, the old cool kids. My daughter says that you need to say that 'you ate that.' For example, when she likes the dinner I cooked, she says, 'you ate that.'"
"As always, please try not to get too upset by this," Faith concludes in the video. "You can keep your skinny jeans and your PopSockets. I'm just here in these trenches, sharing Gen A's perspective because I think it's interesting and kind of funny."
Faith now has a number of videos in her TikTok series, and I encourage you to watch them all! Here are a few more Gen Alpha trends and opinions I gleaned from Faith's videos, for anthropological purposes:
-It's fine to wear a T-shirt on its own, but it's much more acceptable to wear a long sleeved shirt under your T-shirt.
-It's actually cooler to have a dupe of something than the actual product, especially when it comes to beauty.
-Having a low ponytail is trendier than having a high ponytail. If you're going to have your hair up high, it needs to be in a claw clip with framing pieces around your face.
-Empire waisted clothing is stylish, and so is smudged, black eyeliner.
After mourning my skinny leggings and PopSockets, I reached out to Faith to get more information on her reports from the trenches. She told BuzzFeed that her background in marketing, paired with conversations with her daughter, inspired her to start her TikTok series. "India and I would talk about the latest 'fashions' or trends we were both seeing at her school, mostly at first so I felt more confident shopping for her solo, but also because it was interesting to me. ... One day I was literally sitting in a carpool line and decided to put them on TikTok vs. just texting them to see if other people were curious, or noticed the same things, and it turns out they were."
With hundreds of thousands — sometimes millions — of views per video, Faith's series has gotten a VERY mixed response from her fellow millennials. Some (like me!) found the content interesting and compelling:
Others confirmed Faith's reports through their own experiences with Gen Alpha:
However, there were also detractors:
When asked about the response to her series, Faith said, "I would say 50% of people get it, they think it's fun to talk about and/or are raising middle schoolers themselves and resonate with anthropological study. ... The other half has been very 'boomer'-esque, going as far as to take shots at the middle schoolers or just get very defensive. ... There is a lot of, 'you can take X out of my cold dead hands,' which millennials seem to think is a funny phrase? Idk."
"I would ask if it ever benefits culture to shut out the voices of the younger generations, or discredit them vs. just being curious and open to their perspective," Faith continued, speaking directly to those getting defensive about her series. "Sure, they have a 'lot to learn' but their fresh POV might be valid, and I for one am not so thrilled with anything trend or culture wise right now that millennials are doing that I wouldn’t be willing to change my outlook…or jeans. ... Overall I would say it's more fun to get curious than to discredit them."
As for the Gen Alpha trends she herself has embraced, Faith told BuzzFeed, "At the risk of sounding like Regina George's mom in Mean Girls, I have to admit I like almost all of them, and it’s fun for me to reach back into my high school-style brain and see where she is coming from. Do I think I need to follow them? Not at all, but I will tell you I don’t have a single pair of even slightly skinny jeans in my closet, because I have seen the light and cannot go back now."
However, she will not be giving up the millennial peace sign: "First of all, the heart fingers are SO hard to get right, and I am just a peace sign girlie pop through and through, and it's 'cringe' of me but whatever."
When asked what she thinks is most important to remember as a parent raising Gen Alpha, Faith shared, "In general, I think parenting is about empathy, middle school is hard — it's 10x harder in the age of the internet, and I think we need to help them navigate the best we can, from screen time to helping them understand that just because something is trending, doesn’t mean they have to accept it. At the end of the day, I hope we just listen to them and validate their experiences, even if we don’t full resonate."
And finally, in regard to her series: "Please know, I don’t want to pry a thing from your 'cold dead hands'...do what makes you happy — live, laugh, skinny jean to your heart's desire, because if there's one thing I have learned from Gen A, it’s that they are going to do what feels authentic to their experience, and that’s a vibe we can hopefully all get behind."
To see Faith's full Gen Alpha trend report series, you can follow her on TikTok. On a personal level, I'm anxiously waiting for the next installment!