What is TikTok Gen Z Fashion Publication Rag Report?

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Style Points is a weekly column on how fashion intersects with the wider world.

What is balletcore? What is the “gold plated glamour” theme of the recent Met Gala? Which menswear brands are sustainable? Is Lizzo’s new shapewear product worth trying?

These are all questions that only TikTok fashion publication Rag Report is trying to answer. Launched last year, Rag Report, which has no landing page or web part but has 1.6 million followers, is part explanation and introduction to the new designer, and part zoomer exchange meeting.

Under the umbrella of Gen Z media company Kyra Digital, Rag Report has become authority by, counterintuitively enough, no claim to be an authority. “Originally was to be a source of Gen Z fashion content, but not in a sense where [we’re] who knows all about space,” explains Courtney Neal, editor-in-chief of Kyra Digital. The goal is to strike a balance between being “a credible source, but also a source for people to contribute.” Through call-to-action videos, pitch portals, and steady contributors, Rag Report somehow found a way to “make a path for [readers] to feel like they’re a part of this too, because that’s what TikTok is all about. It is a platform for content creators. It’s not conceptualized to be a platform for publishers.”

black and white image of a white woman with dark hair wearing a golden age style dress

Billie Eilish at the Met Gala. The show’s theme of “gold plated glamour” is the subject of the Rag Report explanation video.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Still, publish. And the way Neal and his colleagues think about publication is more rooted in tradition than you might think. As a millennial who grew up with teen magazines, says Neal, there are “a bucket of things I look forward to every month,” whether it’s the advice column or the person writing their story. He pursues that effect with mundane features, such as explanatory videos (“this is truly limitless, what you can describe in fashion.”) There are also opportunities for instant feedback—menswear and sustainability-themed videos created in response to comments on sustainable fashion post, asking about menswear brands. “Our audiences love to see themselves represented in our content,” he said. “Seeing their own comments being responded to makes them feel heard.” A recent video highlighting crocheters on TikTok brought many passionate comments from those featured. “They get excited because they are a small business owner or they are just making it in their own little bubble. They started sharing and tagging, and the next thing you know, our audience grew organically.”

a latina woman with bob hair in a white corset dress

Paloma Elsesser at the Met Gala. A video about the return of the corset is one of Rag Report’s newest features.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Gen Z, of course, is simultaneously passionate about the environment and one of the biggest consumers of fast fashion. Neal sums up the publication’s approach to all things green as “keeping it real.” While she believes nothing can be 100 percent sustainable, she feels that it is something “being a fashion publication, we have a responsibility to talk about.” Whether it’s greenwashing or the ongoing conversations of diversity and fashion inclusion, “we have to talk about those things. We have to have tough conversations and open up that dialogue. And we’ve seen that when we do that, in our comments section, people have a dialogue [among] self.” Sometimes that also means not shying away from, say, a video explicitly criticizing the environmental impact of a fast fashion brand: “As a publication, we stand for who we are. This is our tone of voice, and we will not bend or change. to make brands happy.”

dior ballet flat street style

Yasmin von Schlieffen-Nannen in Dior ballet flats. “Balletcore” was the theme of a recent Rag Report explanation.

Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

This season, the publication partnered with TikTok for fashion month, creating videos about, for example, the history of self-expression (which was the theme of the platform’s fashion month last season), highlighting lesser-known designers. “Of course it’s the pop culture stuff, the Kanye stuff, the Kim stuff, that catches the eye,” Neal admits. “We put Pete Davidson on something and it went crazy because that’s all that’s trending. But the strategy was to blend it… We didn’t want to go all the way into pop culture just because we knew it worked.” During Fashion Week, “we did this post about events that didn’t get press, events you might have missed because they didn’t get the headlines, big print or big picture on the cover page, but still good. Another topic of unexpected interest to Rag Report followers: the cross between fashion and mental health. In collaboration with Kyra’s mental health channel Glia, they have produced videos on topics such as “dopamine pads.”

The future of Rag Report may not be limited to the For You page. Neal said the publication plans to experiment with longer, documentary-style videos, now that TikTok allows 10 minutes of running time. It will host a TikTok-based competition for up-and-coming designers. But it also gets IRL on the move, looking to conduct face-to-face events and exchange meetings. “Ready for COVID,” he said. “What we are all about is building community, so we wanted to enable it in different cities and give these creators and designers the opportunity to interact with each other in real life.”

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