The Feed: Wes Anderson’s film aesthetic, Sydney Sweeney’s mechanics & reappropriating Barbie
This month, The Feed has been filled with unexpected cultural trends we’ve spotted on social. From the West Anderson aesthetic, the Barbie meme, to Sydney Sweeney’s garage, we’ve got you covered. Read all about them in this month’s blog.
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People are co-opting Wes Anderson’s film aesthetic to make everyday life beautiful
Wes Anderson – known for Fantastic Mr. Fox, Grand Budapest Hotel, and a host of other films – is a film director with a recognisable aesthetic. His unique narrative film technique uses symmetry, exaggerated colour palettes, and nostalgic, old-timey imagery, often exploring poignant themes of grief and innocence. Social has long celebrated the director’s visual style (see: @accidentallywesanderson), but now an influx of TikTokers are ‘Wes Anderson-ifying’ their life – using the director’s technique to make everyday scenes, from lunch, to train rides, to wandering around local areas into an artful visual experience.
If it wasn’t for their adoption of the Wes Anderson film technique, these videos would just be more ‘day in the life’ content flooding social. Instead, they take everyday subject matter and level it up into something interesting and curated – joining a wave of content on social that aestheticises ‘the everyday’.
The best part of Anderson’s imagery isn’t just its beauty – it’s that it allows every user to turn unremarkable, unfiltered everyday life into something worth looking at. Brands can resonate with audiences by creating inspiring – and replicable – celebrations of everydayness.
@SydsGarage is celebrity realness optimised for TikTok
Sydney Sweeney – best known for playing Cassie in HBO’s Euphoria – would have found TikTok stardom by virtue of being a Gen Z It Girl, but the actress has carved out an unexpected and niche community on TikTok: aspiring mechanics. Her account, @syds_garage, showcases Sydney exploring her love of old cars, sharing her journey of repairing a vintage Ford Bronco and explaining the technical details along the way. From checking tyre pressure to touching up paintwork, Sydney shows a new side of herself, and followers are praising her realness. The account reached new levels of fame last month when a collaboration between Ford, Dickies and @syds_garage dropped limited edition Sydney-inspired workwear (which has since sold out).
In a more cynical read, the hype around Syd’s Garage can be seen as the age-old fetishising of the ‘cool girl’ – someone who not only fits male-driven beauty standards, but takes on male-coded interests. Syd’s Garage goes beyond this to tap into something more genuine: as the home of cores, how-to videos, and flaunting collectibles, TikTok has become the go-to platform for people to express their fragmented, unexpected, and niche interests. For a young Hollywood actress – a group that’s largely stereotyped as typical influencers or celebrities – delving into this super-niche passion is radically humanising.
The internet is reappropriating Barbie as an emblem of imperfection
In the wake of the Barbie movie teaser, the ‘this Barbie is…’ meme template has flooded social. The meme sees people slot their own image into the Barbie aesthetic, imagining themselves as part of the plastic doll’s cinematic universe. But while they join the rank of ‘tag yourself’ fads that pander to the internet’s love of self-categorising (see: astrology or ‘which Michael Scott are you?’), Barbie content angles at something different. Even as people ‘become’ Barbie within the template, only some show a genuine attempt to embody the doll’s original model of ‘perfect femininity’. Instead, many see cosplaying Barbie as compatible with feminist ideals or embracing flaws, captioning them with “this Barbie is Supreme Court Justice” or “this Barbie doesn’t know how to cook”.
These memes demonstrate how images of yesterday’s pop culture – like Barbie – are being reimagined to serve today’s values, like imperfection and radical individuality. In the case of Barbie memes, people are seamlessly repurposing a symbol of objectified femininity to celebrate their individual uniqueness and shortcomings.