The generation after Millennials, also known as Gen Z or iGen, is already making waves with their fashion and beauty trends. As the digital natives continue to have a growing impact on the global fashion industry, the new generation has taken it to a whole new level with their unique and edgy personal style. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, Gen Zers are bringing some fresh ideas to the table when it comes to fashion. Whether they’re being called “selfie-aware” teenagers who prefer simple T-shirts over designer labels or “lazy Gen Z” millennials who dress in sweats all day long, they’ve made quite an impression so far. And we think their influence will only grow stronger as time goes by.
What to Expect From Gen Z Fashion Trends in 2022
First off, don’t expect Gen Z fashion trends to be drastically different from what we’re seeing now. Gen Z fashion is a natural progression of Millennials. And while Millennials aren’t the ones who can predict what will happen with the course of fashion in the next five years, Gen Z is the next generation that is well on its way to making their mark. As Gen Z is growing up, their fashion and beauty trends will be shaped by their own experiences. We don’t expect drastic differences between the generations, but we do expect to see some interesting variations on the Millennial themes. As Gen Zers grow up, they’ll have their own ideas about what makes a great outfit. They’ll have different priorities when it comes to fashion, and they’ll be influenced by a different set of cultural and technological trends. So while you can’t predict exactly what the fashion trends will be in five years, you can make some educated guesses based on what’s happening right now.
Why Gen Zers Are Dressing Differently
One of the most significant fashion trends for Gen Z is their embrace of more casual styles. This generation has rejected many of the traditional fashion rules that their predecessors followed.
- Shorter Hemlines – One of the most significant trends in menswear is the shortening of hemlines. The rise of shorter hemlines is a major fashion trend that is being driven by Gen Zers.
- Minimalist Footwear – Sneakers have become more popular as a fashion item, while boots and formal shoes have become less so. The style of footwear that you wear can be a major indicator of your fashion choices. The rise of minimalist footwear among Gen Zers has led to less interest in fancy party shoes.
- Comfort Over Social Status – Millennials were known for wearing designer labels to show off their social status, but Gen Z is much more interested in comfort than in impressing others. Gen Zers have shown a marked disinterest in brand names and designer fashion. This trend has led to a greater interest in simple T-shirts, as well as in athletic-inspired clothing such as leggings and yoga pants.
- Less Intimacy with Designers – Millennials idolized a few select designers. They collected their clothes and bought as many items as they could from these top brands, working to acquire as many designer items as possible. Gen Z has shown less interest in designer brands, leading to a drop in designer sales for many companies. This opens up room for new, unique designers, especially ones that make custom, one-of-a-kind clothing that’s sustainable.
Gen Z Tastemakers: Influencers and Shoppers
The social media-savvy Gen Zers have inherited the mantle of Millennial style influencers, with even more power over the rest of the population thanks to social media and e-commerce.
- If Gen Z Likes It, They Buy It – Thanks to Influencer marketing, what Gen Z likes, they buy. This generation is largely responsible for taking the selfie trend to the extreme and using extreme filters.
- Natural and Organic Trends – Gen Zers have also pushed the natural and organic beauty trend to new heights, as well as the health and wellness trend in general. The rise of narcissism and selfie culture has also impacted Gen Zers, who are now more likely to take selfies, post photos of themselves online, and spend money on “experiences” rather than physical goods.
Gen Z Fashion: Basics and Basics-Plus
What’s popular in fashion is always changing, but there are always a few constants. No matter what decade it is, certain pieces will always be in style. Gen Zers have embraced the basics, adding a few trendy twists.
- Basic Pieces in New Ways – While Gen Zers are wearing basics, they’re wearing them in new ways. And they’re taking the basics to a whole new level with the “basics plus” trend, wearing more items layered together.
- More Utility Pieces – Utility pieces are also going strong, including boots, hoodies, and denim. Denim is actually growing in popularity in many parts of the world, while silk and cashmere basics are becoming more common as well. In fact, the only “basic” that’s declining in popularity is black clothing.
Gen Z Beauty: Natural Is Always in
Traditional beauty ideals dictate that women should wear a lot of makeup and unnatural-looking cosmetics, but natural beauty is going strong, led by Gen Zers.
- Fewer Beauty Products – Gen Zers are spending less money on beauty products, with less interest in unnatural-looking cosmetics.
- Less Makeup – More people are spending less time on their makeup and wearing less of it as well.
- More Definition – People are wearing more eyebrow products and putting more effort into contouring their faces.
- Growing Interest in Curly Hair – Curly hair is gaining popularity among Gen Zers, while straight hair is declining in popularity. Gen Z has also led an increased interest in natural hairstyles such as braids.
Gen Z Fashion Brands: Don’t Bet Against Millennials
Many fashion brands are worried that they’ll lose business as Gen Z continues to grow up, but they shouldn’t panic just yet. Gen Z’s fashion trends are largely a continuation of millennial trends. Millennials are the largest population segment right now, and they’re the ones who are going to continue to shape the future of fashion. We recommend that fashion brands not bet against Millennials. They should continue investing in Millennial marketing and Millennial product development. This is especially true of major fashion brands like H&M, Gap, and Zara, who have been courting Millennial customers for years. As Gen Z grows up, these Millennials will be the customers these brands are used to dealing with.
More Gender Diversity and Diversification
While Millennial fashion trends have tended towards a more gender-neutral and gender-diverse approach to fashion, Gen Zers have been even more extreme in this direction. Gen Zers’ trends in fashion and beauty are leading to a more gender-diversified global population.
- More Gender-Neutral Clothing – More people are choosing clothing that is less clearly masculine or feminine, like unisex t-shirts, unisex hoodies, and sports-inspired clothing.
- More Gender-Neutral Makeup – More products are being marketed as “gender-neutral” for both men and women.
- Transgender Rights – Transgender rights have become increasingly important and visible in recent years. This has led to more discussion about gender fluidity, as well as an increase in LGBTQ fashion brands.
Expect to See More Self-Discovery in Fashion
The most significant trend that we expect from Gen Z is a greater self-awareness and self-expression through fashion. The generation is showing an increased interest in how clothes can express their personality and mood, and they’re seeking out new ways to do this. More people are interested in customizing their own clothes and designing their own clothing. This trend has led to an increase in DIY fashion items such as custom T-shirts, custom hoodies, and more. This trend among Gen Zers is likely to become more popular in the future, leading to more self-discovery and self-expression through fashion.