what is #corecore?


art by marina di franco

You’ve probably heard of the cores. Whether it be cottagecore, angelcore, Barbiecore or balletcore, the -core suffix has come to serve as a means of self-identification. We follow these trends to fit into an aesthetic to make our lives and identities seem prettier and more put together. But after trends gain traction, they die out, leaving us searching for the next micro-trend to be over consumed and oversaturated. This cycle, exacerbated by social media, is exhausting, and Gen Z is tired of keeping up. They’ve come up with a solution that’s entirely unique, even coined “the core to end all cores”: corecore. 

Corecore started in July 2022 and exists primarily on TikTok but is also seen on other social media platforms. The point of corecore tagged videos is to elicit some sort of catharsis from viewers and serve as a therapeutic vice for how social media has disordered our brains. Usually they carry anti-capitalist sentiment and reject how modern life is creating an unfeeling and technologically dependent generation. Kiernan Press-Renolds describes how corecore has created a community among people searching for “a quick heart-flutter of relation” and make people feel less alone.


At first, corecore videos may seem like a random, haphazard compilation of clips, but Reynolds states that they’re meant to appear as “short rapidfire montages,” or a “jumble of recognizable signifiers with a poignant tune.” 


Sophomore fashion merchandising student Sohaela Rojas described how at first, the videos took her by surprise and seemed out of place with the other TikTok videos on her feed. But after she watched more and more, she started to feel what the trend was about. They’re Gen Z’s audiovisual version of a collage or mixtape, and their purpose is to make you feel


“Corecore encompasses the TikTok community, and all of our shared experiences on the app are represented by the trend,” Rojas said.


Almost as an artful response to our shared trauma, many corecore video creators initially made their videos as a personal reaction to the stark realities of modern life. Eventually, they realized their creations actually resonated with people and helped life make more sense.

Corecore ironically uses the -core suffix to reject how the term has come to represent a shared aesthetic fueled by today’s trend driven lifestyle. It serves as an anti-trend, and writer Chance Townsend states it was “created out of users’ frustrations of the over-saturation with the concept of ‘-cores’” in his own article for Mashable about the topic. While other trends are eventually run into the ground, corecore seeks to draw out a feeling from viewers that will never go out of style, but writers such as Townsend are beginning to point out that even corecore is “arguably being ruined by its trendiness.”


The best of these videos effortlessly connect unrelated clips to an ultimately larger point like capitalism, overconsumption or environmentalism, but people have started to mock the emotional nature of the videos. Others show a reluctance to engage with the videos intellectually, demonstrating how aesthetic trends are more readily accepted than meaningful ones. Some videos are demonstrating ideas from anti-intellectualism to others containing incel ideologies. One YouTube creator points out he thinks the videos show Gen Z’s obsession with self-pity. He describes how repetitive the videos have become as they use the same music and the same clips to convey the same soulless themes. 

While trend hoppers are beginning to dilute corecore, it hasn’t yet reached its peak or its inevitable decline. Amid the washed out, meaningless videos, people are still creating meaningful videos that capture the existential beauty of the trend. A corecore community still exists and is full of people searching for a life devoid of endless consumption. 


So who knows, maybe these videos are good while they last, or maybe they’ll evolve into something entirely new. Or maybe they’ll end up like all the other trends, somehow turning into their own #corecore video.

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.