Apparel Merchandising Majors Reflect on Gen Z Fashion Trends

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Graphic illustration by Grace Everett | photo editor

By Kameron Brooke | Journalist

Fashion trends are the basis of the creations produced all seasonsand from there, customers add their own style and decide how to wear the garment.

Gen Z has never lived in a world where the internet didn’t exist, making them “a business force across all industries, brands and digital platforms.” according to Forbes. That’s why brands are very focused on marketing Gen Z the right way.

Business of Fashion Insights views Gen Zers as unique and crucial to the fashion industry because this generation expects a lot from fashion. Business of Fashion Insights said “Gen Z is the largest generation, representing approximately 25% of the world’s population, and has an outsized impact on culture and the economy.”

The fashion industry pursues young people because it knows they shape the culture.

“My field mixes the creative and business aspects of fashion,” said San Antonio senior apparel merchandising specialist Shawna Arriola. “We do a lot of financial calculations and assortment planning, but also more visual courses.”

Arriola said she learned about brands appealing to Gen Z and changing trends.

“I would say the No. 1 brand type is athleisure,” Arriola said. “They do a good job of introducing a lot of neutrals and minimalism. We just got out of the maximalism trend that was big in COVID because I think people wanted an escape; now people want simplicity.

Forbes magazine suggests that it’s more than the aesthetics of the clothes that appeal to Gen Z; rather, it’s “price, ease of purchase, online ratings and reviews, and easy returns.”

Plymouth, Minn., Brianah Lucky, Jr., said she believes brands such as Shein and Fashion Nova appeal to the majority of Gen Z.

“I think they like these brands so much because it’s quick and easy,” Lucky said. “A lot of Gen Z people value speed and efficiency. It’s affordable. These places let you buy a pair of jeans for $20 instead of $60.

Kingdom City, Mo., senior merchandising and apparel specialist Arika Shramek said brands such as Free People, Princess Polly, Zara and Top Shop appeal most to Gen Z.

“It’s a new fad for us,” Shramek said. “What I mean by that is that fashion is evolutionary, not revolutionary. These brands are creating looks that look like the early 2000s, and Gen Z is looking for those iconic looks with a modern element.

Shramek said he’s watched Gen Z take a different stance on business attire.

“I’ve seen Gen Z following the casual, business casual look trend,” Shramek said. “I believe most of us are at the stage in our lives where we want to dress mature, but fashionably.”

Gen Z cares about durability, but durability often means a higher price tag, and affordability is also something Gen Z values.

“I like ZARA, Altar’d State and Ragstock because the quality is better and you get what you pay for,” Lucky said. “I love Ragstock because it’s all upcycled clothing at an affordable price, so I think brands like that appeal to Gen Z because they get the best of both worlds.”

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