Apparel merchandising majors reflect on Gen Z fashion trends

Graphic illustration by Grace Everett | Photo Editor

By Kameron Brooke | Reporter

Fashion trends are the foundation for the designs that are produced every season, and from there, customers add their own style and decide how to wear the garment.

Generation Z has never lived in a world where the internet has not existed, which makes it “a force in business across industries, brands and digital platforms,” according to Forbes. This is why brands are very focused on marketing to Gen Z in the right way.

Business of Fashion Insights regards Gen Zers as unique and crucial to the fashion industry, because this generation expects much from fashion. Business of Fashion Insights said “Gen Z is the largest generation, accounting for around 25 percent of the world’s population, and has an outsized impact on culture and economy.”

The fashion industry chases youth because it knows they shape culture.

“My field blends the creative and business sides of fashion,” San Antonio senior Shawna Arriola, an apparel merchandising major, said. “We do a lot of financial math and assortment planning, but also more visual classes as well.”

Arriola said she has taken notice of the brands attracting Gen Z and how trends have changed.

“I would say the No. 1 type of brand is athleisure,” Arriola said. “They’re doing a good job in 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 aesthetic of the clothing that attracts Gen Z; rather, it’s “price, ease of purchase, online ratings and reviews and easy returns.”

Plymouth, Minn., junior Brianah Lucky said she thinks brands such as Shein and Fashion Nova are attracting 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 prioritizes speed and efficiency. It’s affordable. These places let you buy a pair of jeans for $20 instead of $60.”

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

“It’s a new fashion to us,” Shramek said. “What I mean by that is fashion is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Those brands create looks that resemble the early 2000s, and Gen Z is looking for those iconic looks with a modern element.”

Shramek said she has observed Gen Z taking a different stance on business wear.

“I’ve been seeing Gen Z following the trend of the laid-back, casual business look,” Shramek said. “I believe most of us are at the milestone in our life where we are wanting to dress maturely, but fashionable.”

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

“I like ZARA, Altar’d State and Ragstock because the quality is better, and you are getting what you pay for,” Lucky said. “I love Ragstock because it’s all recycled clothes for an affordable price, so I think brands like that attract Gen Z because they’re getting the best of both worlds.”