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The Debrief | Fashion’s Gen-Z Obsession

The BoF Insights team shares details from their recent report on why these young consumers are so crucial to the success of the fashion industry — and what brands can do to woo them.
Fashion's Gen-Z Obsession The Debrief with Lauren Sherman
Fashion's Gen-Z Obsession
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Gen-Z, or those born between 1997 and 2010, accounts for 25 percent of the world’s population. With the oldest of the generation turning 25 this year, the group has already come into its own with a purchasing power of about $360 billion. Fashion brands have always chased youth, but Gen-Z brings a whole new set of marketing challenges. Having grown up in the midst of rapid technological advancement, a worsening climate crisis and global movements like Me Too and Black Lives Matter, Gen-Z has been characterised as more pragmatic and socially aware, while also being trend-fixated. The contradictions are endless.

“This state of the world is set to continue for Gen-Z, it drives a lot of a Gen-Z psyche… That Gen-Z spending power is particularly tricky to unlock because the cash is really hard won and this generation has really different values,” said Diana Lee, BoF’s director of research and analysis, on the heels of publishing BoF Insights’ latest report “Gen-Z and Fashion in the Age of Realism.”

Key Insights:

  • Sometimes, Gen-Z contradicts itself. For example, top fashion brands including Nike and Gucci were among the general group’s favourite brands — but smaller focus groups said they wanted to support underrepresented designers. As well, fast fashion brands like Shein are popular, but the group says they care about sustainability.
  • Gen-Zers increasingly impact the economy. However, the group will come into its own with more financial insecurity than those before it.
  • BoF Insights distilled the demographic down to a few key personas with distinct characteristics to understand its habits and behaviours: the forgers, signatures, satellites, rebels, explorers and idealists.
  • Generally, brands should communicate with Gen-Z in a casual, natural, community-forward way. The group is less beholden to traditional tastemakers, and trends move fast.

BoF Insights is the new data and analysis think tank from The Business of Fashion, arming fashion and luxury professionals with the business intelligence they need to make better strategic decisions. For more insights, please see BoF Insights’ archive on topics like designer bags, resale, digital fashion, and fashion’s supply chain.

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