fashion

"I'm a Gen Z writer. And I'm here to defend our fashion choices."

Whether you like it or not, Gen Z fashion is having a moment.

A new and (dare I say it) improved y2k aesthetic, middle parts, and *not* skinny jeans have all been reclaimed by the tech generation - and not everyone is super happy about it. 

But, as a Gen Z writer here at Mamamia, I want to come to the defence of my people.

Side note: You won't be finding any of these pieces in our wardrobe. And for that, I think we should be on the same team. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

I know, I know, we're too young to know any better.

We weren't there for the first "mom jean" craze. You've seen this all before. *Insert any and all other comments about our inexperience here*.

But I'm here to argue that Gen Z's choice of fashion represents something broader than another passing clothing trend.

It's about self-expression.

It's about activism.

It's about comfort. 

And it's about rejecting the male gaze and embracing gender fluidity.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fashion cycles are said to repeat every 20 or so years, which explains Gen Z's ode to bucket hats, babydoll tees, butterfly clips, and phone charms of the early 2000s.

We're also playing with proportions and experimenting with colour in a new way. What we're wearing right now is quirky and nostalgic, but it also just works.

Take Crocs — the ultimate "ugly" shoe that experienced a huge surge in sales by 64 per cent in 2020.

It makes sense. They're comfortable and customisable, which is hard to come by in an age of oversaturation of trends.

ADVERTISEMENT


Social media has broadened Gen Z's circle more than any generation before them. 

We're not just connecting with friends and family, we're connecting with mutual acquaintances. 

We're connecting with celebrities - sure, as a millennial might have in their monthly instalment of Cosmo, but then we're also getting a constant feed of micro and macro-influencers' lives as they happen.  

Trends come and go as fast as any young woman with a few hundred thousand followers decides: so why try to keep up?

ADVERTISEMENT

Gen Z, while broadly following cultural trends, have had the opportunity to carve out our own individual style through thrifting, and looking to the past to inspire the fashion of the future.

We've shifted our values from what fashion fad is "in" to what long-term, unique pieces fit our values.

According to a poll conducted by social media video platform Yubo, 81.8 per cent of Gen Z Australians attempt to make more sustainable fashion choices, and almost three in four would pay more money for clothes that reflect that.  

You can see it in the uprising of online, second-hand marketplaces like Depop, and clothing rental services that not only reduce the cost to consumers, but the environmental impact of their clothing. 

Gen Z use fashion to mirror cultural conversations that have meaning. As society progresses to embrace diversity and reject traditional gender roles, Gen Z are leading the charge in expressing these shifts through their clothing.

Listen to Mamamia's fashion podcast, What Are You Wearing. Post continues below.


You can see it on TikTok at the moment, where young women share how their fashion has developed over time from, as they describe it, appealing to the male gaze to discovering what fashion appeals to them best.

ADVERTISEMENT
@livbolish #greenscreen ♬ SZAS VERSE KISS ME MORE - ✨ SZA FANPAGE ✨

Zoomers are the fastest growing fashion consumers of all the generations, and it's fascinating to watch how they use that power.

With influential celebrities like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles rejecting gendered fashion and its definitions, now more than ever, people are getting experimental with their style.

Androgynous fashion gives individuals the scope to express their gender identity as it ebbs and flows. And that makes a lot of sense to Gen Z, who are the most gender-diverse generation according to a Vice study.

41 per cent of Gen Z identified as neutral on the gender spectrum, while 48 per cent said they identify as something other than heterosexual.

It's why one of our style icons is rapper Lil Nas X, who is proudly out and a proponent of degendering fashion.

ADVERTISEMENT


Subversion is in Gen Z's nature and they look to their role models for inspiration.

The lines between masculinity and femininity are blending, and frankly, when historically our bodies and clothing choice have been so heavily scruitinised, I think that's worth celebrating. 

So cut Gen Z some slack. 

We're doing our best to lead the change over here.

For more from Emma, you can find her on Instagram @emma.gillman.

Feature Image: Instagram / @everyday.like.this, @champagnemani@celmatique, @charlidamelio 

Share with us! Complete this survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.