Gen Z hasn’t just made us self-conscious of our side-partings, it's also made us embarrassed of our skinny jeans and brought us the word ‘cheugy’ (Google it, if you dare go down that hole). But it's not all negative, this up-and-coming generation is also more politically active and socially conscious and has some big thoughts on fashion, especially when it comes to sustainability. But does that mean they dislike the trends that are coming up for autumn/winter 2021, and completely rejecting classic fashion brands?
As I’m very much a Millennial, born in the early ‘80s, this means that I’m unable to tell you what Gen Z actually thinks about the upcoming season, so I reached out to Depop to give me the intel. If you didn’t already know Depop, the re-sale site, now has over 26 million users and of those 90% are considered Gen Z. It is arguably one of the places to find out about Gen Z fashion. Depop reached out to five of their sellers and buyers and asked each one to review one of the big power fashion house collections for the coming season. Each one gave some interesting Gen Z takes on the runway looks, so keep scrolling for more.
Reviewing Prada is Tom, who runs Area Eighteen, a brand that advocates for gender fluid fashion by blurring gender lines across product selection and styling. He started out in 2018 selling cute vintage clothes in his nana's spare bedroom. Today, Area Eighteen now exists as a space to represent the underrepresented, as well as a source for the finest high-quality vintage.
As a brand that advocates for gender fluid fashion, we were over the moon to see a mixture and a balance of masculine and feminine silhouettes throughout Prada's A/W '21 presentation. Our eyes gravitated towards augmented shoulders, flowing skirts and bunched up ruched sleeves. In a post (mid?) pandemic world where work and loungewear have merged together, we feel like people are starting to consider what work clothing may look like once we’re all ‘free’.
Self-expression may be at an all-time high, similar to the roaring '20s after the 1918 pandemic and First World War, and it's highly likely that the population will be more inclined to dress more extravagantly for every day situations. What was a normal day is now a celebration and it feels like Prada is letting us know that faux fur and glitter jackets are a big mood for the Tesco shop.
This show was a collaboration with Raf Simons which is evident particularly in the slouchy, extra long trousers, careful layering and youthful touches. Skin tight mesh clothing on men is a trend Gen Z has picked up on recently and the longline coats with big balloon sleeves and intricate button detailing were pieces that really caught our attention in the show.
Depop seller @janettojo is reviewing Dior. She's 22 years old and just finished a degree in psychology and is now going to work on her shop full time. She feels most inspired when she's watching '90s and early '00s movies.
This collection is such an interesting spin on the Dark Academia aesthetic with muted grey and black tones running through the entire collection. It’s giving me Audrey-Hepburn-meets-preppy-schoolgirl vibes, which is a combination I didn’t know I needed to see but I adore nonetheless.
As a lover of headbands, silk scarfs and knee-high boots I was very pleased with the styling choices made. One of the biggest standouts for me is the grey two-piece suit—the flare of the pleated skirt reminds me a lot of the Dior ‘new look’ silhouette. The collection obviously draws a lot of inspiration from the aesthetic of Japanese schoolgirls with white shirts, pinafores and pleated miniskirts all being featured. I especially love the Kogyaru-inspired looks with the white socks, which is something I will definitely be incorporating into my personal wardrobe.
Next up is Olivia, a self-proclaimed Depop addict, who is reviewing Chanel. She is passionate about sustainable fashion and has her own Zine 'Mad About Doin' which promotes circularity in fashion and slow fashion culture.
The first thing that caught my eye with the Chanel A/W '21 show was the brown palette. It's been creeping in to our wardrobes for some time but I'm thrilled that it will still be a trend and much-loved colour choice for the season coming up. Plus, this palette teamed with bursts of pink and flashes of orange and blues proves just how versatile it is.
There is a chic yet very Gen Z approach to each look in Chanel's A/W collection. The wide-leg suit trousers, delicate collars and scoop necks, plus the cutesy slip dresses and cropped blazers, all with a slightly oversized feel, are exactly what Gen Z are looking for.
In terms of pieces, I'd love to strut through London on my way to work wearing the black and baby pink floor-length fur coat, which I’d pair with my chunky black ankle boots, a classic tote and a low bun. Putting a Gen Z spin on things, I would love to style the brown satin wide-legs trousers with my oversized white poplin shirt, a pair of fresh white Nike Jordans, a y2k brown shoulder bag and lots of gold chains and rings.
Reviewing Balenciaga is Molly, who is based in Brighton and initially built up her following as an Instagram influencer when she was just 17. She pivoted to using her creativity to rework, upcycle and sell vintage on Depop. Molly counts singer Beabadoobee as a top buyer and has actually styled her for her music videos. Her ultimate dream is to be a full time stylist.
Being sentenced to life in lockdown this past year has led to much being moved online. This extends to fashion shows as well. ‘Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow’, is a digitised snapshot of Demna Gvasalia’s future predictions of a life post covid. The show is extremely aware of its context: the covid experience has left many of us feeling as though the world we once knew has died, but the clothing suggests were ready to start fighting back.
The runway, to me, symbolises the stages of commercial to consumer, supply and demand, and its impacts on our ever-changing world. The way in which the clothes were styled and the contrast used in each individual outfit is striking but also extremely relatable to my generation. We are a generation who understands our purpose but lacks the respect from our elders to make the change we all so desire. Contrasting a suit of armour with with a floaty dress or an oversized jacket with flip-flops outlines this confusion.
I think it’s safe to say that lockdown has bought out the DIY side of us all, we’re moving in a more sustainable direction, and learning how to rework and customise our old clothing. Balenciaga’s collection comes through as forward-thinking, with looks made up of shorts sewed on top of jeans, old style workwear jackets and ripped denim and knitwear. It suggest that they’re taking a more sustainable stance using old fabrics to repurpose clothing which is sure to stand out to Gen Z.
Finally, Rumbi, 25 and based in Nottingham, is reviewing Hermès. Rumbi is heavily inspired by Y2K pop culture like Moesha, Girlfriends, The Fresh Prince, and Nollywood (Nigerian film industry). She loves dramatic pointed mules, little chiffon tops and G-strings with diamanté detail at the back.
At first glance, the collection has all the classic autumn/winter staples that one would expect to see: long sleeves, high necks, embroidered sweaters, and my all-time favourite staple: leather trousers. But of course, it would not be a Hermès collection without a unique, elegant twist on the classics and this collection definitely delivers. I was thrilled to see broad-shouldered jackets, mid-length dresses, trench coats tightly cinched at the waist and an array of elegantly androgynous silhouettes which conjure imagery synonymous with a chic femme-fatale aesthetic and that’s right up my alley.
Furthermore, the collection artfully draws upon my favourite traditional autumnal colour palette: from a rich, chocolate brown to a deep red as well as navy blue, midnight black and touch of beige for the ultimate nod to sheer luxury.
The pieces that stood out include the crisp dark denim trousers with fine stitching and leather trims, as well as the delectable, structured leather jackets. I’d definitely wear the chocolate brown jacket with contrasting panels and matching trousers with a pair of solid brown wellies and a tweed flat cap. I’d also be sure to wear matching leather gloves to keep the frostbite at bay and spice it up with a thick tortoiseshell resin ring over the gloves.
Want more? These are the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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