With every generation comes a new set of trends, even if that list sometimes includes trends from generations past. But beyond the typical fashion fads like tie-dye and tiny glasses, the young people of Generation Z have expanded their wardrobe’s horizons to include brands and individual garments that take philosophical stands; that represent something beyond how they look. Gen-Z values sustainability, inclusivity, and comfort, while never sacrificing the overall look. More than ever, the styles of today’s youth have crept their way into fashion week runways and on designer’s radars, and that has never been more apparent than during recent fashion weeks. Check out The Untitled Magazine’s take on some of the biggest fads, brands, influencers, and styles that define Gen-Z, and how they are influencing the world of high fashion.
Unisex, Gender Fluid, and Gender-bending Fashion
The notion of binary gender has thankfully been slowly disintegrating in the hands of the Gen-Z zeitgeist, and fashion is one of the biggest ways in which the generation has expressed that. Skirts and florals and sharp suits can be for anyone states their philosophy, and 2020 runway collections from the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele showcased looks free of gender, with suited up women and skirted and crop-topped men galore. Even smaller brands like Kirrin Finch and Wildfang make a point to highlight their mission statements as gender-inclusive and androgynous.
Billie Eilish & Zendaya
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) September 23, 2019
Who better to trend set amongst Generation Z than its most prominent faces? Thousands of young influencers flood our Instagram feeds and do their titular jobs by repping their own personal styles and favorite brands. If we had to pick two that really stand out as Gen-Z fashion icons, we would have to go with Zendaya and Billie Eilish. Zendaya has taken the fashion world by storm with many an iconic look, like her Christopher John Roger fall/winter collection look for the virtual 2020 Emmys, or her several looks styled by frequent collaborator Law Roach (like her Armani polka dot dress from the same Emmy night or her oft-copied The Wiz-inspired Vera Wang look from the 2019 Emmys). Meanwhile, Eilish succeeds with her distinct oversized style by rocking iconic looks inspired by labels like Prada, Burberry (complete with tartan nails) and Gucci.
The ongoing lockdown has all been about crafts, DIY, and really anything to keep us busy while we are stuck at home this year. Homemade sourdough starter and other baking ventures may do it for some, but for Gen-Z it’s been all about the tie-dye. The trend has seen a reemergence in a big way in the last few years on the runway, with looks from Comme des Garçons, Alyx, and Louie Vuitton all making splashes. There is also Raquel Allegra, for whom tie-dye never really went out of style, as evidenced by her 2021 Spring and Resort collections.
Athleisure & Sportswear
In the same vein as lockdown attire, Gen-Z fashion, particularly in 2020, has been all about comfort, and that means lots of athleisure and streetwear. Nike, Adidas, and Supreme consistently top surveys of favored fashion brands among Gen-Z, while sportswear and comfort-first apparel has infiltrated more and more runway presentations in unexpected ways. The last half-decade has seen high fashion interpretations of the trend with Stella Jean’s sports jerseys, Tommy Hilfiger’s oversized sweatshirts, Stella McCartney’s new sportswear category plans and the plethora of reinvented spandex from Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga.
In a society where clothing brands incessantly drill into our heads the idea that we always need to keep our fingers on the pulse — to be constantly swapping out our wardrobes with the newest and trendiest brands — what a groundbreaking (and far less stressful) idea that the newest trend be exactly the opposite. The mainstream of normcore is to eschew trendiness entireness and blend in the crowd as the means to stand out. Logoless, improvisational, and deliberately average, normcore is certainly one of the more accessible fashion fads of Gen-Z. It has certainly made its way to high fashion as well, just look at A.P.C.’s recent collaboration with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
Socially Conscious Clothing
If there is one thing about their collective identity that Gen-Z has managed to fluidly incorporate into all areas of their culture, from their music to their TV shows and social media use, it is their nature as hungry for social justice and sustainable practices. Many high profile brands have taken a stand for justice in the wake of the fashion industry’s reckoning with systemic racism. Milan Fashion Week had a dedicated event for Black Lives Matter Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God released a collaborative T-shirt, the proceeds of which going to organizations fighting for racial justice. Eckhaus Latta committed to match donations for The Bail Project, while Behno pledged to refund 40% of all purchases to encourage the flow of that money to Black-owned businesses. Even smaller brands like NY-based 18 East and Born X Raised have joined the fight, and Gen-Z is listening.