Why does the Gen Z only swear by wired headphones?

(ETX Daily Up) – Apple is worried: its AirPods are no longer popular with young people. They prefer the humblest wired headphones to them. These retro accessories are back in fashion thanks to celebrities like Lily-Rose Depp or Bella Hadid. A phenomenon that says a lot about our relationship to nostalgia.

They’ve been stored in the back of our drawers since 2016, when Apple made them out of date with the launch of Airpods. It is quite possible that we have to take them out again to be the cutting edge of fashion … even if we have to untangle them for that. Trend-makers like Lily-Rose Depp and Zoë Kravitz were recently photographed on the streets of New York, decked out in their prettiest headphones.

The phenomenon is such that an Instagram account dedicated to the most “connected” personalities was launched in October. Its creator, Shelby Hull, posts inspirational snapshots of how earphones and headphones have made their way into pop culture over the past three decades. A black-and-white portrait of Janet Jackson in a recording booth alongside more recent photographs of Dakota Johnson, Hoyeon Jung and Jennifer Lawrence, all hanging from their headphones.

Some even see it as a real retro trend. “Some girls are replacing AirPods with wired headphones. My theory is that wearing wired headphones exemplifies the aesthetics of listening to music. Listening to music was literally an aesthetic movement in the 2010s. Tumblr culture from that year is making a comeback, it makes sense for wired headphones to follow the same path, ”says TikTokeuse @thedigifairy in one of her videos. An analysis to which many Internet users seem to agree: the video accumulated more than 2.3 million, before being deleted from the platform on Tuesday, November 23.

AirPods, not so cool anymore?

However, the craze of the most affluent young people for wired headphones is not new. American journalist Liana Satenstein had already seen Bella Hadid’s interest in these accessories in 2019. “Whatever the reason, Hadid’s choice to sport these classic headphones seems oddly luxurious. This choice suggests that she is not. not bother to follow the latest technological innovations and that she prefers the simple things in life, which is, bizarrely, the true measure of success, “she wrote in Vogue.

But fashion hadn’t caught on at the time. Three years later, it has become essential. On Twitter, some members of Generation Z even claim to have abandoned their AirPods for their ancestor, now deliciously vintage. “Today I traded in my AirPods for my old wired headphones to give myself a Lily Rose Depp look when I walk around campus,” one of them said on Twitter.

In addition to the desire to emulate the casual style of some celebrities, the return of wired headphones attests to our change in perception of what is “trendy”. Just as “ugly” has become a strong claim in fashion, AirPods are now poles apart from “cool”. The reason ? They are too associated with the frenetic pace of life of the giants of Silicon Valley, who are always between two calls. Their price also plays a determining role in this growing disenchantment. Count 149 euros for Airpods (2nd generation) and 279 euros for the professional model. A luxury that few people, especially the youngest and most insecure, cannot afford.

Two sons of nostalgia

Apart from their more attractive price, wired headphones also surf on our nostalgia for the world before. “What people regret is the period when they had fewer worries, more innocent distractions, and greater emotional support in difficult times,” explained Krystine Batcho, professor of psychology at Le Moyne University. to Vox in 2020. “It was easier. Now there are all these choices. [Les réseaux sociaux] have become so complicated that they spoil some of our fun. “

The renaissance of vinyl, long held to be dead after the multiple technological transitions in the music industry, is part of this logic. These objects become relics of a bygone era, when listening to music was a true aesthetic experience and not a market controlled by streams and algorithms. If no turning back is possible, wired headphones give us the impression. This more than justifies the time spent disentangling them.