May 10, 2021

My Korean Life!

A Look Back at Trends that Summed Up 2020

5 min read

By now, I know we all want 2020 to end and I imagine everyone saying that with a deep, heavy sigh and slumped shoulders. I mean, this has been a very exhausting year – physically and even more so, mentally. From months of lockdown to Zoom burnout and now that we’re exiting 2020, Corona decided to up its game with another strain. It’s like “New Year, new me!” — will it ever end?

But I think we can agree that while it has been a year full of plot twists, 2020 has also been a chock full of interesting trends and ideas – even to a point of weirdness as some would phrase it. So before we say “Cheers, 2021!” and click our champagne glasses hoping for a better year ahead, let’s revisit the top 5 trends that defined 2020.

TikTok

trends

TikTok (formerly known as musical.ly) was first launched in 2017 and this year, it has definitely dominated the social media arena. This video sharing platform allows its users to create, share, and discover 15 second videos of any topic – from choreographed dances to duet acting and singing to home renovations to life hacks. Or just about anything creative and fun. 

Since we’ve all got so much time and distracted energy in our hands (thanks, Corona), everybody jumped into the bandwagon. And even though there were a lot of security issues with this Chinese app (Douyin) owned by ByteDance, there was nothing that could stop people from using TikTok. 

Among the famous TikTokerists that you probably already know whether you use the app or not are Charli D’amelio (with over 100 mil followers making her the most followed account on the app), WAP Queen Addison Rae, and Digital Magician Zach King. As of November, Zach King holds the number 1 spot on the most viewed TikTok video with his Magic Broomstick which has now over 2.2 billion views. 

In South Korea, BTS’ official TikTok account is the most followed celebrity account with 26.5M followers and almost 500M accumulated likes. In fact, BTS Jimin also snatched the most liked TikTok by an individual in South Korea with over 9.6M likes when he danced to Boy With Luv in a funny filter. 

Jongmin Oppa is the third most followed South Korean TikTok account and the most followed non-celebrity South Korean account with over 10.5M followers which features daily life in South Korea captured as funny clips that his viewers can enjoy. 

TikTok trends have been so viral that it actually made its way through other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So whether you have an account or not, you cannot escape TikTok. 

Dalgona Coffee (Whipped Coffee)

Dalgona which means “honeycomb toffee” in Korean is an instant coffee mixture which when whipped up creates a foamy beverage that makes your coffee look very instagrammable and at the same time gives you that coffee-shop fix. 

It first trended in South Korea last January thanks to actor Jung Il-woo who tried this coffee on a mukbang trip in Macau for a show called Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant. In the clip, a two-to-two ratio of instant coffee and sugar is whipped 400 times before it is turned into a light brown mixture which is then poured with hot water and later on added ice. 

After South Korean youtubers caught a whiff of this coffee trend, it caught the name Dalgona (or 400 stir coffee) and soon trended worldwide. Trend analyses showed that Dalgona Coffee searches spiked by March and it was nicknamed as “TikTok Coffee” in the US. Since it’s viral moment, many have also tried their hand at making different versions of Dalgona like Matcha and Milo.  

If you haven’t tried making one yet, you can follow this simple tutorial

Folklore

“Not a lot going on at the moment,” she said. Then a few months after, she just dropped a whole album and surprised everyone. She must probably be the most productive individual during the quarantine period and don’t even get us started that she just recently dropped “evermore”. I mean, girl?! How can you function? But anyway, we love you and thank you for this album.

Her album which gained a lot of attention (and I, myself, have not yet gotten over ‘exile’ – someone please tell me I am not alone?) for its musical concept has also inspired the resurgence of cottagecore aesthetic (self-styled braids, a white lace dress, and poses under trees shot in black and white) to the point that youtubers are making tutorials on how to achieve it. 

Well, if this isn’t the perfect vibe this year, we don’t know what is. 

Among Us

Among Us is an online multiplayer social deduction game published by American game studio InnerSloth and first launched in 2018. Identifying the impostor within the group is sure as heck fun especially during the quarantine where people were left without so much social interaction and this game was the next best thing… although it may have temporarily destroyed friendships. But seriously though the impostor is like 2020 doing a plot twist on us. 

It has become so viral that even celebrities and politicians like AOC have jumped into the game (which she also used as a platform to encourage voting for the November 2020 Elections!). 

And in the recent 2020 Game Awards, Among Us finally received recognition and grabbed the Best Multiplayer Game and Best Mobile Game. 

Mask

There is no more defining trend for 2020 than face masks. Since it is mandatory for health and safety (Please, always wear your masks! The pandemic isn’t over yet.), many have tried doing their own creative takes like Danielle Baskin, cofounder of Dialup—a voice-based social network that connects friends serendipitously in phone calls, who made a viral mask design that mimics the face which will surely make you double take whether the person is wearing a mask or not!

And there’s also the rise of designer masks to up your ootd game because… why not? In the era of a fashion forward society, masks as a necessary accessory needs to be updated with the fashion trend. Although this might cost you a few more bucks. After all, you’re wearing the brand. 

But probably the weirdest face mask trend are the “unnecessary” embellishments on the mask that were designed more for the aesthetic rather than the function like this $185 luxury face mask from Belgium. But after all that has happened this year, if you can afford it and you’re down for it then you do you. I don’t think we’re going to do second takes for weird things now because it has been quite normalized. As long as you’re wearing one and it’s protecting you! 

Bonus:

Whether we like it or not, BTS has definitely stamped their name in the industry and they have grown more ferociously, globally popular during the quarantine with people discovering and trying new things like music. 

If you’d like to ease your worries a bit, groove to BTS’ Dynamite and let your mind and body be one with the music! 

Shining through the city with a little funk and soul

So I’ma light it up like dynamite, whoa (light it up like dynamite)

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