Born between 1995-2015, Generation Z is the first generation of digital natives and tech addicts. Unlike the previous generations, they have a good eye for bullshit. They are not exactly anti-company, but they know sponsored content once they see it. But, since every company is focusing on millennials, why should the fashion industry start thinking about the next generation? Well, Generation Z is changing the fashion industry, and they are changing it fast.
In fact, Aeropostale, one of the top teen retailers, have fallen from a valuation of $2.6B to $2 million. Similarly, traditional retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, and Gap have also faced the same dilemma. How did these famous brands fall from grace? Well, like their parents, fashion retailers have a hard time understanding Generation Z.
From what we have seen, today’s teens value comfort and function. Unlike their predecessors, they firmly believe that everyone (women, especially) should have the freedom to wear cozy outfits that make them feel relaxed all day. Gone are the days when sky-high heels and tight bodycon dresses were the only options. In today’s world, soft fabrics and oversized outfits are the new cool. After all, what is the point of looking good, if you do not feel good? But, what are these comfy trends in the first place? To make your life easier we gathered the four fashion trends, which are loved by Generation Z:
Rule #1: Athleisure is Top Priority
A study by Piper Jaffray found that teenage girls love a brand which sells athleisure outfits. In fact, this is the only similarity between popular brands amongst teenage girls. But, when we talk about athleisure, we're not talking about your high school gym clothes or oversized t-shirts. Think tech-infused outfits: yoga pants with sleek patterns, track pants with duster coats, and high-end sneakers paired with wide-leg trousers. For an outfit to be considered as a part of the athleisure trend, they should be good enough for both the office and the gym. So, rather than casual clothes for exercise, expect functional and comfy outfits that can look good in the board room.
Athleisure's popularity may be attributed to social media. Remember the fitness gurus all over Instagram and Facebook? Their pictures are the epitome of healthy living, and you have probably encountered them once, twice (or every day!). Recall Karlie Kloss showcasing her moves on Instagram. Or, Gigi Hadid's early morning workout. Their bodies are to die for, which is probably why their gym photos have gone viral. But, Victoria Secret models are not the only ones who have adopted the trend. A-list celebrities like Victoria Beckham tapped into the trend with her trainers. Moreover, designers like Alexander Wang collaborated with Adidas last NYFW, while Topshop collaborated with Beyoncé on its Ivy Park athletic wear collection.
Given that healthy living is all over social media, it is no surprise that Generation Z has caught on the trend. They love it because it is suitable for their fast-paced lifestyle. Plus, they can wear it anytime and anywhere. Just imagine working, shopping, and studying all throughout the day. It would be annoying to go back to your dorm each time in order to look appropriate for the occasion. With the athleisure trend, this is no problem. They can accomplish various tasks while looking fab.
According to the rules of Generation Z, athleisure is worn in a variety of ways. One way is to experiment with proportions. Try pairing off loose fitting trousers with a sleek crop top and a bomber jacket. Or, pull it off by matching your Adidas trainers with wide leg trousers. The key is to look luxurious but comfy.
Rule #2: Break Barriers with Gender Neutral Outfits
Gender is so out of style. Whoever even said that who you are and how you act, have to be defined by biology? It is the 21st century, so anyone should have the freedom to dress up in any kind of outfit. Enter gender neutral clothes, which are blurring the lines one collection at a time. The timeless style staple, promotes gender-fluid denim and unisex hoodies, jackets and t-shirts.
Gender Neutral is the future for retailers. With less than 50% of teens identifying as straight, they are looking to embrace freedom in fashion. This means suits for females and even skirts for males. Think Jaden Smith who donned skirts. The truth is that more and more members of Generation Z are not letting their genders dictate their style. Not surprisingly, major retailers have adopted the trend. From GUESS' His and Her Unisex collection, to Selfridges 'Agender' line— all the way down to Zara's 'Ungendered' line, it seems that heteronormative garments are the way to go.
When it comes to creating gender neutral outfits, abandon the notion that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. In this day and age, children need the option to experiment in rainbow palettes. In short, there should be less impositions and more options. Try for a mix of feminine florals in oversized bomber jackets, shirts, and unisex garments. The secret is to mix masculine and feminine fashion in such a way that you do not shove it down people's throats. Pick various trends and avoid judgement. Who knows? In the future, skirts, florals, and suits, will look stylish for any gender.
Rule #3: Embrace the Norm with Normcore
Normcore is a trend that celebrates the non-trend. Confused? Well, we are too. When it comes to the fashion world, you are probably used to thinking about must-haves and new accessories, such as fall trends or runway looks. After all, outfits should make you standout. Surprisingly, it is the opposite for normcore, which dictates that blending in is the secret to standing out. So, start pining for average looking clothes and forget designer outfits. This sounds ridiculous, but this is exactly what normcore is all about. Forget sky-high heels and cocktails dresses. Think unfashionable jeans, frumpy polo necks, white sneakers, and sweatshirts. For normcore lovers, the main priority is convenience and comfort.
For Generation Z, the trends popularity may be attributed to its functionality and convenience. We are talking about high school students, who could care less about how they look. Or, college students who are too busy completing schoolwork, rather than looking good. So, for this crowd, normcore outfits actually make sense. Ultimately, you cannot expect them to run to and from their college dorms just to dress up.
To understand the trend, let us take a look back at some of its most popular style icons— Steve Jobs. He tapped into the look with his signature black polo neck paired off with his unfashionable jeans and sneakers. But, if you're a fashionista aspiring for normcore then check out how Kendall Jenner has adopted the trend. At New York, she looked so simple with her astrology style jacket, white tee and blue jeans. However, in the end, you should just forget these icons and develop your own look. Remember that it is supposed to be casual, comfortable and convenient. In short, just pick the underdogs of your wardrobe.
Rule #4 Rock the Rocker Trend
When there is a concert or a music festival, one of the best ways to slay is to channel the rocker look. Its appeal might be the fact that it's both fearless, free-spirited and unexpected, which coincidentally describes Generation Z. Some go out in a variety of adventures and make unexpected decisions, while others enter the infamous rebellious stage. Or, they might just love rock music. Whatever the case, the trend is here to stay.
To pull it off, tap into the trend by wearing black leggings, leather shorts, and Kurt-Cobain-esque style plaid shirts. If you feel a bit hardcore, then try out metallic suits and ripped fishnets. The trick here is to look like a confident goth girl. No, we are not talking about the emo trend. These days the rocker chic look is all about showing off the fresh face and rockin it with a punky outfit.
For pointers, check out Bea Miller and Frances Bean Cobain. At the Liberatum Women in Creativity Series in London, Cobain wore black cut-off leggings that looked great with her dark lip. Meanwhile, Bea rocked the trend with her blue-green hair and leather motorcycle jacket. Some A-list celebrities have also embraced the trend. From Supermodel Cara Delevigne who pulled it off with her printed bomber jacket and black skinny jeans to Emma Roberts who dressed in a metallic leopard suit and black sandals last Comic Con— it seems that the rock chic style is THE trend for both Young Hollywood and Generation Z.
Now that you have a better understanding of Generation Z, it is time to adjust to their standards.
Got any more trends that you would like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below!