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Top 100 Pop Culture Trends in 2016

From Male Makeup Brand Ambassadors to Snapchat Filter Fashion

— January 28, 2017 — Social Media
From the controversy of Donald Trump to the style influence of the Kardashians, the top 2016 pop culture trends were anything but conventional. While these universally revered and reviled figures made the most headlines, some of the more interesting pop culture trends were less intrusive on the public consciousness. The most interesting trend that can be observed in this past year is the leaking of practices that were once mostly specific to more private online platforms, into the mainstream. Brands are taking a bottom-up approach in order to absorb social movements that began from their targeted demographics themselves, rather than attempting to influence the ways in which those demographics think and consume.

One particular example of this is one of Covergirl's newest brand ambassadors James Charles, a self-taught makeup artist who began on YouTube. Males wearing makeup was once a practice that was kept in private spheres in the home and in drag communities, which then leaked into social platforms that younger Millennials and Gen Z demographics tend to consume – with the end result being a mainstream makeup company capitalizing on this movement. This trend reveals a significant shift in terms of once-conservative brands adopting the beliefs of the demographics that they hope will drive their future sales, rather than choosing what those demographics can and should consume on their own. Brands are recognizing that consumers, particularly young ones, now have many opportunities to carve out their own paths – and are using this movement to inform their own business models and ideas.

Another example of brands taking a bottom-up approach was the 'Desigual' fashion show at NYFW. The show featured models wearing makeup and accessories that were reminiscent of some popular Snapchat filters – a decision that allowed the brand to relate to younger demographics. As this move brought the brand attention from Gen Z and Millennial demographics, it improved brand perception as a result. Where events such as NYFW were once aimed at targeting elites, its participants are now recognizing that to remain relevant they must target demographics that have vastly different priorities than its predecessors.

For more information on how to use pop culture to harness the buying power of different demographics, Trend Hunter's annual innovation conference Future Festival will reflect on this topic and many others.
7
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
100
Cultural Political Campaigns
Cultural Political Campaigns
Hillary Clinton's 'Nuestra Historia' Ad Acknowledges Hispanic Voters
<
99
Star-Studded Ad Campaigns
Star-Studded Ad Campaigns
These Retro Calvin Klein Ads Reveal the Insecurities of Celebrities
<
98
Comedic Music Video Parodies
Comedic Music Video Parodies
BBC Radio 1 Puts a Humorous Spin on Kanye West's Famous
<
97
Album-Anticipating Social Filters
Album-Anticipating Social Filters
Snapchat Joins Those Waiting for Frank Ocean's 'Boys Don't Cry'
<
96
Polynesian Disney Princesses
Polynesian Disney Princesses
Moana is the First Woman of Color Since Princess and the Frog's Tiana
<
95
Trans-Positive Sports Collections
Trans-Positive Sports Collections
H & M Released a Video for Its 'Every Victory' Collection
<
94
Lip-Syncing Rapper Commercials
Lip-Syncing Rapper Commercials
This Drake Apple Ad Shows Him Singing to Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood'
<
93
Transformative Doll Boxes
Transformative Doll Boxes
Disney's Moana Doll Comes in Packaging That Turns into a Boat for Play
<
92
Celeb Gloss Music Videos
Celeb Gloss Music Videos
Kylie Jenner Premiered a Music Video to Announce Her New Nude Lip Glosses
<
91
Celebrity Rapper University Classes
Celebrity Rapper University Classes
This College Course is Based Around the Topic of Kanye West
<
90
Songstress-Branded Pop-Ups
Songstress-Branded Pop-Ups
Colette's Fenty Pop-Up is an Homage to Rihanna Style
<
89
Soulful Visual Albums
Soulful Visual Albums
Frank Ocean Drops His Much Awaited Visual Album 'Endless'
<
88
Disney Emoji Games
Disney Emoji Games
Users Collect Cartoon Emojis After Playing Games in 'Disney Emoji Blitz'
<
87
Live Social Media Extensions
Live Social Media Extensions
Instagram Launched Live Videos and Disappearing Photos
<
86
Intelligent Emoji Suggestion Apps
Intelligent Emoji Suggestion Apps
Smart Smiley for Google Allo Analyzes Chats and Suggests Emojis
<
85
Anti-Discrimination Apparel Lines
Anti-Discrimination Apparel Lines
Grindr's Varsity Collection Raises Funds for Anti-Discrimination
<
84
Minimalist Graphic Dictionaries
Minimalist Graphic Dictionaries
These Minimalist Posters are Designed to Expand Your Vocabulary
<
83
Socialite Sibling Pop-Ups
Socialite Sibling Pop-Ups
The Kendall + Kylie Pop-Up Shop Features the Fall 2016 Lineup
<
82
Impromptu Rapper Pop-Ups
Impromptu Rapper Pop-Ups
Drake's Views Pop-Up Promoted the Rapper's Newest Album Release
<
81
Fashionable Disney Characters
Fashionable Disney Characters
Disney's 'Inside Out' Characters are Recreated as Fashion Queens
<
80
Celebrity-Infused Social Activism
Celebrity-Infused Social Activism
We Are the Movement Enlists Stars to Speak On Racial Injustice
<
79
Celebrity-Designed Fast Fashion
Celebrity-Designed Fast Fashion
The Justin Bieber X Forever 21 Line is Influenced by the Pop Star
<
78
Celebrity Trash Cans
Celebrity Trash Cans
New Yorkers Voted on the "Trashiest Celebs" by Throwing Garbage into Cans
<
77
Emoji Coloring Books
Emoji Coloring Books
'Kittens, Hearts, and Poo' is a Coloring Book for Emoji-Loving Millenials
<
76
Emotive Smiling Chargers
Emotive Smiling Chargers
The 'Laughing Tears Portable Charger' is Shaped as the Crying Emoji
<
75
Songstress Beauty Lines
Songstress Beauty Lines
Rihanna is Teaming with LVMH to Create a Full Range of Cosmetic Products
<
74
Branded Bootleg Artist Apparel
Branded Bootleg Artist Apparel
This New Frank Ocean Clothing Pays Tribute to the Song 'Nikes'
<
73
Patriotic Lip Kits
Patriotic Lip Kits
Kylie Jenner's Newest Lip Kits Celebrate the Fourth of July
<
72
Remixed Disney Fawn Apparel
Remixed Disney Fawn Apparel
Givenchy is Launching a Series of Bambi Shirts, Accessories and More
<
71
Disney Social Campaigns
Disney Social Campaigns
The LA County Museum of Art Blended Generational Interests with Snapchat
<
70
Seasonal Socialite Sibling Apparel
Seasonal Socialite Sibling Apparel
A New KENDALL + KYLIE Collection Was Debuted at NYFW
<
69
Political Campaign Portraits
Political Campaign Portraits
These Hillary Clinton Photos are Shots from the Campaign Trail
<
68
Political Meme Generators
Political Meme Generators
'MemeTheVote' Helps to Create Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Memes
<
67
Edible Emoji Artwork
Edible Emoji Artwork
Anna Keville Joyce Recreates Popular iOS Emoticons Using Cultural Foods
<
66
Musical Disney Apparel
Musical Disney Apparel
This Line from NUMBER (N)INE and Disney Features a Singing Mickey Mouse
<
65
DIY Rapper Sneakers
DIY Rapper Sneakers
Blogger Shay Cherise Created DIY Yeezy Boots for Just $5
<
64
Redemption Songwriter Covers
Redemption Songwriter Covers
Justin Bieber Shows off a Matured Look and Attitude for GQ Magazine
<
63
Cultural Emoji Concepts
Cultural Emoji Concepts
Rayouf Alhumedhi Designed an Idea for a Hijab Emoji
<
62
Celebrity Breakup Insurance
Celebrity Breakup Insurance
Taobao is Offering Insurance Based on Taylor Swift's Love Life
<
61
Book-Themed Handbags
Book-Themed Handbags
'krukrustudio' Designed These Original Handmade Bags Based on Popular Novels
<
60
Famous Fish Makeup Tutorials
Famous Fish Makeup Tutorials
An Artist Transforms Herself into Dory from The Finding Dory Movie
<
59
$80,000 Celebrity Milk Glasses
$80,000 Celebrity Milk Glasses
This Odd Justin Bieber Product is Being Sold by Restaurant Staff
<
58
Social Activism T-Shirts
Social Activism T-Shirts
The 'And Counting' T-Shirts by GLOSSRAGS Protest Against Racial Injustice
<
57
Anti-Bullying LGBTQ Campaigns
Anti-Bullying LGBTQ Campaigns
Connor Franta, Urban Outfitters and GLSEN Joined to Help Students
<
56
Mangled Emoji Sculptures
Mangled Emoji Sculptures
'The Last Emoji' Installation Marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month
<
55
Christmas Emoji Baubles
Christmas Emoji Baubles
These Christmas Decorations are Inspired by Pop Culture Imagery
<
54
Filtered Photography Makeup Tutorials
Filtered Photography Makeup Tutorials
The Drag Snapchat Filter is Recreated With Cosmetic Products
<
53
Lipstick-Inspired Makeovers
Lipstick-Inspired Makeovers
Nikita Dragun Uses Kylie Jenner's Lip Kit for More Than Just Her Lips
<
52
Post-Apocalyptic Songstress Covers
Post-Apocalyptic Songstress Covers
This W Magazine Collector's Issue Features Rihanna
<
51
Animated Eggplant Emojis
Animated Eggplant Emojis
The Suggestive Eggplant Emoji Has Been Reinterpreted by Anna Ginsburg
<
50
Rapper-Branded Winter Wear
Rapper-Branded Winter Wear
These Canada Goose and OVO Jackets Come in Two Different Colorways
<
49
Exclusive Popstar Merchandise
Exclusive Popstar Merchandise
The 'All Access' Justin Bieber Purpose Tour Line is at PacSun Only
<
48
Muslim Beauty Brand Ambassadors
Muslim Beauty Brand Ambassadors
CoverGirl's Newest Brand Ambassador is Beauty Blogger Nura Afia
<
47
Nude Latex Gowns
Nude Latex Gowns
The Beyonce Met Gala Dress Balances Between Racy and Dressy
<
46
Emotive Politician Photography
Emotive Politician Photography
These Hillary Clinton Portraits Were Taken On The Campaign Trail
<
45
Political Action Figures
Political Action Figures
The Bernie Sanders Action Figure Allows Fans to Show Their Support
<
44
Fashion Icon Emojis
Fashion Icon Emojis
Iris Apfel's Emojis Represent the Fashion Icon's Unique Style
<
43
Pride-Celebrating Makeup Tutorials
Pride-Celebrating Makeup Tutorials
A Makeup Artist Celebrates Pride Month with Rainbow Eye Shadow
<
42
Fantasy Franchise Cosmetics
Fantasy Franchise Cosmetics
The Harry Potter Storybook Cosmetics Makeup and Brushes are Magical
<
41
Fake Memorial Murals
Fake Memorial Murals
'lushsux' Depicted the Internet's Response to the Recent Taylor Swift Feud
<
40
Transgender Sportswear Campaigns
Transgender Sportswear Campaigns
The First Caitlyn Jenner Fashion Campaign Will Be for H&M Sport
<
39
Star-Backed Fashion Campaigns
Star-Backed Fashion Campaigns
The Alexander Wang Fall/Winter Line Was Introduced on Instagram
<
38
Teen Influencer Clothing Collections
Teen Influencer Clothing Collections
The Zaya by Zendaya Line Features a Wide Range of Pieces
<
37
Filter-Centered Celebrity Editorials
Filter-Centered Celebrity Editorials
Willow Smith Was the Focus of GARAGE Magazine App's Issue
<
36
Chromatic Social Media Sunglasses
Chromatic Social Media Sunglasses
The Snapchat Spectacles Enable POV Phone-Free Recording
<
35
Fairy Tale-Themed Cafes
Fairy Tale-Themed Cafes
The Beauty and the Beast Cafe in Japan Whisks Visitors Away
<
34
Tearful Celebrity Fashion Campaigns
Tearful Celebrity Fashion Campaigns
This Balmain Fall Ad Features Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
<
33
Empowering Celebrity Lipsticks
Empowering Celebrity Lipsticks
MAC Cosmetics x Caitlyn Jenner Finally Free Lipstick is Altruistic
<
32
Socialite Denim Collections
Socialite Denim Collections
Khloé Kardashian's Good American Jeans are Made for All Body Types
<
31
Moody Beach Editorials
Moody Beach Editorials
The Edit Josephine Skriver Cover Shoot is Quiet and Subdued
<
30
Instagram Star Editorials
Instagram Star Editorials
NASASEASONS' Fall/Winter Line is Modeled by Eileen Kelly & Naleye Junior
<
29
Curvy Celebrity Covers
Curvy Celebrity Covers
Kim Kardashian Flaunted Her Post-Pregnancy Figure for a GQ Magazine Cover
<
28
Quilted Superhero Jackets
Quilted Superhero Jackets
This Winter Coat is a Wearable Version of the Deadpool Costume
<
27
Androgynous Disney Makeup Looks
Androgynous Disney Makeup Looks
Richard Schaefer Transforms Himself into Iconic Cartoon Princesses
<
26
Popular Emoji Sculptures
Popular Emoji Sculptures
This Artist Replicates Popular Emoticons in His Emoji Art Sculptures
<
25
Celebrity Motherhood Editorials
Celebrity Motherhood Editorials
PAPER Included Images That Speak to Blac Chyna's Pregnancy
<
24
Opulent Socialite Editorials
Opulent Socialite Editorials
Vogue's Kendall Jenner Editorial Shows the Model in Statement Apparel
<
23
Eccentric Heartthrob Editorials
Eccentric Heartthrob Editorials
The Adam Driver Vogue Feature Boasts Candid and Carefree Imagery
<
22
Seductive Socialite Calendars
Seductive Socialite Calendars
This 2017 Kylie Jenner Calendar Was Lensed by Terry Richardson
<
21
Fashion Show Snapchat Interpretations
Fashion Show Snapchat Interpretations
The Desigual Fashion Show Reveals Models Wearing Filters
<
20
Disney-Themed Cosmetics Collections
Disney-Themed Cosmetics Collections
The Face Shop's New Line is Inspired by Disney Characters
<
19
Double Standard Photoshoots
Double Standard Photoshoots
Maya Fuhr Shoot Fashion Label Moses Gauntlett Cheng for Milk
<
18
Disney Streetwear Looks
Disney Streetwear Looks
Stray Rats' New Line Incorporates Multiple Pop Culture Influences
<
17
Disney Cartoon Sneakers
Disney Cartoon Sneakers
Vans is Releasing a Line of Toy Story Shoes in Collaboration with Disney
<
16
Curvy Athlete Denim Campaigns
Curvy Athlete Denim Campaigns
Ronda Rousey & Buffalo Jeans Promote Denim Made for Curvy Women
<
15
Corsetted Celebrity Covers
Corsetted Celebrity Covers
The Kim Kardashian Vogue Australia Photo Shoot Features Yeezy Season 3
<
14
Political Parody Portraits
Political Parody Portraits
These Strange Donald Trump Artworks Represent How Some See Him
<
13
Male Makeup Brand Ambassadors
Male Makeup Brand Ambassadors
Influencer James Charles Will Be Covergirl's Newest Ambassador
<
12
Costumed Cat Photography
Costumed Cat Photography
This Cat Photographer Captures His Pet with Humorous Edited Additions
<
11
Superhero Bookshelves
Superhero Bookshelves
Burak Dogan Creates Furniture in the Shape of Famous Comic Book Branding
<
10
Celebrity Sibling Swimwear
Celebrity Sibling Swimwear
Kendall and Kylie Jenner Teamed Up with Topshop for a Swimwear Line
<
9
Pop Culture Baby Costumes
Pop Culture Baby Costumes
This LA Mom Comically Dresses Her Son to Look Like Pop Culture Figures
<
8
Controversial Music Videos
Controversial Music Videos
Kanye West's New Music Video Features Naked Images of Celebrities
<
7
Seductive Socialite Editorials
Seductive Socialite Editorials
Complex Paired Its Kylie Jenner Interview with a Series of Images
<
6
Minimalist Celebrity Posters
Minimalist Celebrity Posters
These Simple Graphics Take After the Appearance of Popular Singers
<
5
Queen-Emulating Editorials
Queen-Emulating Editorials
Rihanna Poses as Marie Antoinette in This Terry Richardson Cover Shoot
<
4
Hilarious Honest Logos
Hilarious Honest Logos
Viktor Hertz is Back at It Again with a Series of Tweaked Branding
<
3
Expecting Disney Characters
Expecting Disney Characters
These Maternal Disney Princesses Are Rendered as Moms-to-Be
<
2
Controversial Celeb Exhibits
Controversial Celeb Exhibits
Kim Kardashian Hosted the Famous Exhibition Featuring Nude Sculpture
<
1
Realistic Disney Princess Depictions
Realistic Disney Princess Depictions
Jirka Vinse Vaatainen's Series Reimagines Iconic Characters
<