You’ve seen the headlines, but here our Senior Account Executive Daisy shares the breakdown.
Francis Bourgeois shot to fame as a TikTok trainspotter in 2021. He rose to fame during lockdown when he posted joyful videos of him quite literally squealing with delight during trainspotting adventures around the UK. His videos brought a smile to people’s faces for their simplicity and his natural love for his whacky hobby, resulting in a huge 2.2million following on the social media site. Bourgeois’ love for trainspotting developed when he was younger and would go to Willesden Junction to see the trains pass by. Despite receiving cruel comments at school for his hobby, he took it up again in lockdown, where millions of us scrolled through his content to see him get the train to ‘toot’ – it’s the simple things.
Since he’s grown a following, people started to accuse Bourgeois and his hobby as being inauthentic and a façade for TikTok. In response, he posted a heartfelt video onto his TikTok page explaining where his love for trainspotting came from and how he rediscovered during lockdown. The 20-year old’s video has now reached 1.1million likes and comments from the likes of Joe Jonas congratulating him for standing up against trolls and for saying what he loves.
And so the saga continues, at the beginning of December Joe Jonas made the surprise trip from America to the West Coast railway line in Milton Keynes to meet up with his friend. What does a multi-million record selling American celebrity do with a 20-year-old Brit who loves trains? Go trainspotting. The two posted two TikToks of their meeting, collectively reaching over 3million likes with the majority sitting on Bourgeois’ page – the power of TikTok quite literally turning normal people into stars.
Fans of Bourgeois thought that their love for him and his hobby was contained within the TikTok platform, until major fashion brand Gucci and The North Face recently announced the trainspotter as their face of brand in the new collaboration campaign. The hype around this campaign has been huge; reported in the media in the likes of Tatler, NME, Metro and even across social media pop culture pages such as @greatbritish.memes (1.6M).
In the second part of the brand collaboration, the exclusive ad was shared on Highsnobiety where Bourgeois plays a train conductor and checks people’s tickets who are sat relaxed head to toe in the legendary collection. They said “With the bold collection focusing on exploration and outdoor activities, there’s no one better than Bourgeois to bring it all to life”. With TikTok trainspotting stars becoming the face of Gucci x The North Face, we’ll be staying tuned to see who they choose next.
I love the hype, demand and legacy that this campaign has created and that will live on.
Go get em’ Francis!
Words by Daisy Hobbs, Senior Account Executive, The Fitting Room