gen-z & fashion

by Marissa
October 22, 2021

Fashion trends come and go, but there is something about the digitally native generation that has been defining and re-imagining fashion. It is easy for anyone to go online and see what the up and coming fashion trends are, but that accessibility also means that it can be hard to follow fashion trends without being seen as ‘basic’. Gen-Z’s response? Upping their style in creative and unique ways - some have done it so well that they have even made a name for themselves by sharing their fits on social media. Gen-Z possesses an influential buying power that can dictate trends, and with social media, style-inspo is just a tap away, enabling Gen-Z’s to define the fashion scene in iconic ways. Here are some popular fashion trends among Gen-Z you should keep an eye out for:

Rethinking Gender-Specific Clothing

There are generations of people who have been redefining what gender means in fashion and style. From Dennis Rodman to Harry Styles to Zendaya, people have been bending what ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ means within the fashion industry. Even though this is not new news, Gen-Z has been in the spotlight for embracing styles that redefine the relationship between gender and style because they are normalizing it. As this generation continues to accept and be more fluid with their gender and sexual identity, Gen-Z is not afraid to express themselves through fashion and style even if it’s not ‘traditionally’ for their gender … and we’re here for it!!!

Harry Styles + Alessandro Michele in Gucci @ Met Gala 2019

Dennis Rodman wore a sparkly top to the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards.

Dennis Rodman @ 12th Annual VMA Awards

Jaden Smith for Louis Vuitton 

Daya by Zendaya - Her gender-neutral clothing line 

Fast Fashion Ethical Fashion

Gen-Z is the generation of social warriors who care deeply about our environment and how our actions can impact our planet. As consumers, we have been more aware of our shopping habits and the effects it has on the environment, especially when it comes to buying clothes. Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries, and Gen-Z is not about that. According to the Forbes 2019 The State of Consumer Spending report, 62% of Gen-Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands, and 54% state they’re willing to spend 10% or more for sustainable products. So there is no surprise that sustainable and ethical brands like AllBirds and Patagonia are doing better than fast fashion brands. Vintage and thrift shopping is also a more affordable way for Gen-Zs who want to shop sustainably. Second-hand shopping has seen a rise in popularity among Gen-Z over the years (ahem, thank you miss Emma Chamberlain). Not only can we find cool and unique clothes for a cheaper price that will help us stray away from being ~basic~, but it reduces the amount of energy and resources required to make brand new clothes. Before I let you go to the next section, I wanted to suggest that you read up on the gentrification of thrift shopping! Here is an IG infographic and article

Image of a Patagonia’s “don’t buy this jacket” advertisement

Patagonia Don’t Buy This Jacket Ad

Sustainable Shoe Brand Allbirds Releases Carbon Footprint Details For All  Its Products

AllBirds Carbon Footprint Report

Emma Chamberlain


Speaking of reusing and recycling clothes, let’s talk about how Gen-Z’s style is bringing back iconic fashion statements from each decade. Back when I was 13, I was freaked out by what my mom chose to wear. Now I’m 22 and raiding her closet every time I go home to try and find any ~vintage clothes~ (and yes I scored some iconic pieces). From the bulky Dr. Martens and high-waisted mom jeans from the 90s, to flare pants from the 70s (ILY WISDOM KAYE!!!), to alternative fashion from the early 2000s, today’s styles are huge inspirations from what was iconic in the past.  

Wisdom Kaye




My bae <3 There is something about my baggy pants, a cool graphic tee or hoodie, and my Nike Air Jordan 1s, or 11s, or Air Max 90s, or Vapormax, or… so sorry am I rambling about shoes again? Streetwear is a mixture of Californian skate culture (that’s your Stüssy, Thrasher, Zumiez vibes), hip-hop fashion (DMC, OFF-WHITE, Bathing Ape), and high fashion (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada). The streetwear style presents a cool and casual look that’s clean and holds a lot of room for experimentation. Streetwear has been at the forefront of fashion trends (while adding a little twist, of course) but it will always be timeless! Maybe it was the pandemic, but for the Fall/Winter 2020 season, we will be seeing a lot of streetwear designers focus on functionality, versatility, and comfort in their clothes. Comfort has always been important in streetwear, but sweat suits and sweatpants are going to be a staple for the Fall/Winter 2020 season. During the fall and winter months (if you live in a cold enough place) match your sweatpants with a hoodie of the same color and a cute trench coat over! Oh, and don’t forget to match a nice pair of sneakers with them.  

The Hundreds F/W 2020

Fear of Good F2020 Essentials Collection

Men’s Streetwear Fashion 


Masks have been a subtle streetwear trend especially in Asia even before the pandemic. But since mask-wearing has been more common and very much mandatory due to COVID-19, many brands and individual designers have been producing trendy masks that don’t ruin your entire outfit. In the beginning of the pandemic, people would use anything but an actual mask to use as a face shield. Now, our options are endless and people are trying to find ways to make mask wearing a lot less boring. From having cool attachable chains, to having masks made out of boujee material, here are some of my favorite masks: 

Gold Facemask Chain

Patterned facemask with chain

Image may contain Bag

Silk facemasks



Let’s talk about upcoming trends for the F/W 2020 season. Remember when flare jeans were a trend? Well, we’re bringing back fringe to complete the look, baby! Well.. kind of. Fringe is commonly seen on Western-inspired fringe jackets for a rocker-chic look, but this fall, fringe will be more about “refinement or clever accents”1. Fringe was a popular trend during this year’s fashion month in March and it is making its way to street style… like five months after the trends hit the runway. If you don’t trust Bottega Veneta, Prada, or Boss, maybe you’ll trust Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, or Beyoncé who has incorporated fringe into their style for the last few months. 

rihanna harper's bazaar september 2020

Rihanna in Bottega Veneta for Harper’s Bazar September 2020 issue

Kim Kardashian West

Image may contain Clothing Apparel Human Person Sunglasses Accessories Accessory and Sleeve
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Beyoncé in Black is King

Beyoncé in Black is King

Bottega Veneta - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021
Bottega Veneta - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021

Bottega Veneta F/W2020 @ Milan Fashion Week 2020

Boss - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021

Boss F/W2020 @ Milan Fashion Week

Prada - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021

Prada F/W 2020 @ Milan Fashion Week