The fashion industry continues to evolve with each generation, and one generation that’s emerged as a
driving force of change is Generation Z or Gen Z. Consisting of people born roughly between the late
1990s and the early 2010s, Gen Z represents the newest wave of consumers with distinct values, tastes,
and preferences. In terms of fashion, members of Gen Z like comfortable pieces that can show off their
individuality and serve as an extension of what they believe in. This is also a generation that’s proficient
with social media when it comes to creating and supporting trends.
As an influential demographic, Gen Z is helping shape the future of fashion. People who work in the
fashion industry or who are passionate about fashion would do well to understand the choices and
priorities of Gen Z shoppers, beginning with what encourages them to support certain fashion brands.
1) The Intersection of Comfort and Style
Many Gen Z consumers consider comfort a priority when it comes to fashion. They prefer pieces that
offer practicality without compromising on style. This preference has led to a rise in styles like athleisure
among this generation. A portmanteau of “athletic” and “leisure,” this type of style blurs the lines
between workout attire and everyday clothing. Just think of leggings for women, joggers, sports bras,
and sneakers that seamlessly transition from the gym to the streets.
Due to Gen Z’s preference for these comfortable clothing styles, fashion brands have leapt to
incorporate elements of athleisure into their collections. It’s now quite common for brands to use
performance fabrics or include athletic-inspired details such as stripes, drawstrings, or ribbed cuffs on
2) Sustainability and Ethical Business Practices
One of the most striking aspects of Gen Z’s fashion choices is Gen Z’ers’ commitment to sustainability
and ethical business practices. Perhaps unlike previous generations, Gen Z consumers are deeply
concerned about the environmental and ethical implications of their purchases. They actively seek out
brands that prioritize sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing processes, and a reduced carbon
footprint. These conscientious shoppers often research brands’ supply chains and production methods
to ensure that these align with their values.
3) Sustainability and Price Points
While some people may assume that sustainability in fashion equates to higher prices, Gen Z shoppers
are proving that eco-conscious choices can (and should) be budget-friendly. Partially as a result of Gen
Z’s demands, many sustainable fashion brands now offer affordable options, debunking the myth that
ethical fashion is prohibitively expensive.
Additionally, some well-known fast fashion brands have made efforts to make sustainable fashion
accessible to a wider audience by offering affordable, yet environmentally friendly clothing options. Gen
Z understands the long-term cost-effectiveness of sustainable choices, and many Gen Z’ers support
brands that share this perspective.
4) Authenticity and Brand Transparency
Authenticity is another core value for Gen Z fashion enthusiasts. They appreciate brands that are
genuine and transparent in their communication and actions. In an age where information is readily
accessible, Gen Z consumers are quick to detect insincerity or inauthenticity. Gen Z’ers favor brands that share their true stories, values, and missions. They also won’t hesitate to drop their support for a brand
if they spot inconsistencies in how they communicate with consumers or fail to deliver on their
Knowing that, many brands are consciously practicing heightened transparency in their marketing
efforts. Some of them will go as far as disclosing the cost breakdown of their products, while others
make it a point to build a community of customers who’ll share their unfiltered experiences with the
5) Inclusivity and Diversity
Gen Z is highly attuned to issues of inclusivity and diversity, and they expect fashion brands to reflect
these values. They appreciate campaigns and collections that showcase a wide range of races,
ethnicities, body types, and genders. Brands that embrace inclusivity and celebrate diversity in their
advertising and product offerings are more likely to resonate with this generation.
Some beauty brands have adapted this approach by offering an extensive range of foundation shades
catering to all skin tones. Many clothing brands, on the other hand, are also acknowledging that every
customer is unique. As a result, more offer a wider range of sizing options for various body types.
6) Digital Engagement
Gen Z’ers’ intimate relationship with technology and social media has a profound impact on their
fashion choices. That’s because they use social media platforms to discover trends and engage with
brands. They value brands that aren’t just active on social media, but also those that respond to user
comments and messages and share user-generated content.
As such, some brands have leveraged this generation’s active social media engagement by collaborating
with popular athletes and influencers, among others. This kind of strategy helps generate buzz and
drives brand loyalty among younger consumers.
7) Personalization and Customization
Lastly, Gen Z shoppers appreciate personalized and unique experiences. They support brands that offer
customization options, allowing them to tailor products to their individual preferences. The option to
personalize pieces also fosters a sense of ownership and connection with the brand.
To cater to the youngest generation’s preferences, some brands have integrated customization tools
into their websites. This enables customers to design their own pieces, choosing everything from colors
Gen Z consumers aren’t just setting new trends in fashion. They’re also bringing a fresh set of values and
expectations to the fashion industry. They prioritize sustainability, authenticity, inclusivity, and
personalization, among others. When brands make the effort to align with these values and
expectations, they have the opportunity to build lasting relationships with members of this influential
demographic. This ultimately translates to more than just a better bottom line, but active participation
in the innovation and betterment of the industry.
*This is a collaborative post in partnership with Germaine Ignacio She is a freelance writer. As a Psychology major, she is interested in how investing in personal growth and happiness can improve professional productivity. See our full disclosure about guest posts and partnerships here.