Generation Z’s unique style and bold personality have shaken the fashion landscape. Gone are the days of squeezing into skinny jeans and tight tops to achieve a petite silhouette (thank goodness!). Gen Z prefers comfortable and expressive clothing like loose-fitting jeans, crop tops, and oversized pieces.
Born between 1997 and the early 2010s, Gen Z accounts for 30% of the world’s population. With the oldest members turning 26 this year, the group has a purchasing power of about $360 billion in the US alone. And they prefer spending on fashion more than any other type of entertainment.
Gen Z fashion is bold, expressive, and unapologetic. The world is shifting from idealism to realism thanks to the new generation. No more pretending to be perfect or trying to achieve impossible beauty standards. Gen Z values honesty and humanity, which also appear in their fashion trends.
Wondering how you can elevate your wardrobe to keep up with the youthful aesthetic? Or how to start a clothing brand that’ll attract the younger generation? Let’s talk about Gen Z values and fashion trends you can incorporate into your style or market to Gen Z fashion enthusiasts.
The first step to understanding Gen Z fashion trends is to get into the minds of Gen Zers. The think tank Business of Fashion Insights partnered with Gen Z-owned consulting agency JUV to determine Gen Z’s habits and behaviors. They distilled the Gen Z demographic into 6 personality clusters: forgers, signatures, satellites, rebels, explorers, and idealists.
Source: Business of Fashion
Each Gen Z personality cluster has a combination of core values. Let’s discuss how Gen Z’s moral code influences their fashion choices.
Information. Gen Z is a pragmatic, socially conscious, and trend-focused generation born with information at their fingertips. They like engaging with brands and prefer brands that actively share info on social media.
Identity. Gen Z fashion is about creating your own style and rebelling against fashion norms. The younger generation values self-expression. Instead of following fashion industry trends, they strive to set them.
Improvement. Gen Zers value personal growth. They want to own nicer things and make better decisions. That means they favor ethical fashion practices and aim to buy items that are either sustainable or created by niche designers.
Ideology. This value speaks to Gen Z’s level of activism. They expect companies to back up their words and aren’t afraid to call them out on their lies. The new generation is all about body positivity and size inclusivity in fashion.
Introspection. Gen Z prioritizes mental health and well-being, and they’re raising awareness about mental health issues once considered taboo.
Informality. Generally, Gen Zers prefer when brands communicate with them in a casual, natural, community-forward way. They’ve also relaxed dress codes, favoring comfort and convenience.
Now that you know how these youngsters think, let’s dive into Gen Z fashion trends.
From athleisure and elevated minimalism to techwear and hot pink Barbiecore, Gen Z is rewriting the fashion playbook. In the past years, the fashion industry has seen 3 major shifts: the move towards timeless (classic wardrobe pieces), practical and wearable, and circular fashion.
Let’s explore the current trends and how to incorporate them into your style or brand.
Environmental consciousness is one of Gen Z’s core values and appears in their fashion choices and trends. A 2020 survey revealed that 66% of Gen Z shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable or environmentally friendly products.
Any clothing or accessories made from recycled materials or following sustainable practices are a big yes. Check out Printful’s customizable eco-friendly products you can add to your wardrobe or online store.
Creating unique custom-made clothing is also better for our planet than fast fashion. Print-on-demand companies like Printful fulfill products only when customers place orders. This approach helps avoid overproduction, keeping excessive products out of landfills. At Printful, we value sustainability and responsibility and constantly seek to improve our services.
Gen Z also loves thrift shopping. The global secondhand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching a value of $350 billion. Thrift shopping is good for the environment and allows shoppers to find unique styles and clothing choices.
Gen Z streetwear fashion trends are inspired by the ’90s and early 2000s hip-hop, sports, and rave culture. It’s all about wearing what you want, mixing styles, and representing inclusivity, diversity, and equity in fashion. A typical Gen Z streetwear outfit consists of oversized clothing, such as custom t-shirts, baggy pants, custom hoodies, and chunky sneakers.
Nike is one of the companies that have taken notice and are catering to the needs of young people. As a result, they rank at the top of Gen Z’s favorite brands.
Interested in entering the streetwear fashion scene? Check out this article for tips on starting a streetwear clothing brand, even without experience.
Gen Z is bringing back ’90s grunge, ’70s boho chic, and ’60s mod aesthetics, driving the revival of vintage clothing. But they’ve added their own touch.
The cool thing about vintage fashion is that it doesn’t just give you freedom of expression—it’s also good for the environment. You can find vintage pieces at thrift stores, consignment shops, or yard sales. Or simply ask your parents if you can borrow their older clothes.
Play with textures, layering, and prints to create a vintage outfit. Oversized jackets, tie-dyed prints, psychedelic patterns, and flared pants are trendy retro components for everyday outfits that work well with contemporary garments. Add different colored baguette bags to your outfits, and you’re all set!
Gen Z is bringing back the early 2000s style with a modern twist, and they call it Y2K. Think low-rise jeans, multiple belts, newsie hats, tie-dye tracksuits, neon prints, cargo pants, butterfly clips, and platform sneakers—all coming back from the dead. Y2K fashion is about being daring and adventurous, and it’s adaptable enough to suit anyone’s style.
Graphic tees, anything with a logo, and bold accessories are all game. You can find plenty of Y2K outfit inspo on social media platforms. There are many videos of millennials having fun with this trend by throwing Y2K-themed parties.
This girl on TikTok made her friends dress up in Y2K fashion for her birthday, and they nailed it.
Gen Z is at the forefront of the gender-fluid fashion movement, which embraces gender flexibility and inclusivity. Gender-fluid or gender-neutral fashion challenges societal norms of masculinity and femininity by offering clothing options that are free from gender restrictions. This fashion trend promotes unrestricted self-expression and undermines the dichotomous notion of fashion.
This movement isn’t just about fashion but about creating a more inclusive society. You, too, can wear gender-neutral clothing to support the movement. Choose companies with diverse sizes. Try defying gender stereotypes and remember fashion has no bounds.
For gender-neutral outfit ideas, start with well-fitted baggy jeans, an oversized t-shirt or blazer, sneakers, and light makeup and accessories. Look for adaptable, simple designs with large silhouettes and color schemes that break gender norms. Shop in both the men’s and women’s sections, and don’t be afraid to borrow your friends’ hoodies and t-shirts.
Gen Z’s love for fitness and pursuit of comfort led to one of the most prominent Gen Z fashion trends—athleisure.
This trend combines comfy athletic clothes with stylish elements for a look that works both at the gym and out and about. Think leggings, sports bras, oversized sweatshirts, and sneakers. Athleisure is more than a trend—it’s a lifestyle. It allows you to conquer the world while looking effortlessly fashionable.
With the rise of this trend, popular brands like Lululemon and Adidas have totally nailed the athleisure game, offering fashionable yet functional options.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) and customized garments and accessories allow Gen Zers to express their unique stories and highlight their individuality. Personalized fashion also allows Generation Z to break free from store-bought clothing.
Many Gen Zers are into making their own accessories and clothes by thrifting and doing DIY projects. They add personal touches like slogans, graphics, patches, and stitching to showcase their personal style.
But what if you don’t have any graphic design or sewing skills? You can create customized clothing and accessories using print-on-demand services. Upload any design you wish to place on a garment or use Printful’s free clipart in the Design Maker to create stunning designs in minutes.
Many current fashion trends focus on chaotic colors and prints, but some Gen Z fashion choices lean towards minimalism. However, the new minimalism is different from what millennials know from 2014. Gen Z infuses minimalism with individuality and personality, and it’s anything but basic.
Gen Z minimalist fashion is characterized by clean lines, neutral colors, and simple silhouettes. It emphasizes wardrobe staples such as white shirts, oversized blazers, black trousers, and minimalist accessories.
Gen Z minimalism has multiple expressions, but one recent trend worth mentioning is the coastal grandmother (CG). A term coined by TikTok user Lex Nicoleta, the coastal grandmother is essentially Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. Think oversized jumpers and wide-legged trousers or flowy pants.
Nicoleta explains that coastal grandmother is more than a Gen Z fashion trend—it’s a lifestyle. If you love coastal vibes, home cooking, cozy interiors, and hosting dinners, there’s a good chance you may be a coastal grandmother. And no, you don’t have to be a grandma to be a CG.
Techwear fashion fuses technology and function into everyday wear, drawing from urban and futuristic styles. Garments are characterized by high-tech materials, utility-focused designs, and a minimalist or cyberpunk aesthetic.
Gen Z has adopted techwear to showcase its relationship with technology, sustainability, and functionality. This personal style perfectly adapts to their dynamic lifestyle and makes a bold statement in the process. Techwear outfits are a sure way to stand out from the crowd.
Techwear items often feature integrated technology like LED lights, smart fabrics, and wearable tech, catering to the generation’s love for tech integration. Gen Z’s preference for a futuristic and sleek look shows up in their choice of monochromatic colors like black, gray, and white.
Gen Z highly values individual expression and views accessories as a powerful way to communicate their identity. Plus, statement accessories can transform a basic outfit, offering a cost-effective way to refresh their look.
Thrifting and reusing accessories align with Gen Z’s eco-conscious mindset. Vintage or secondhand statement pieces reduce waste and add a touch of history to their style.
Fashion influencers on social media platforms can also influence Gen Z’s interest in statement accessories. Accessories are often visually striking and photograph well, making them popular outfit choices for social media posts.
Gen Z tends to lean towards brands prioritizing uniqueness and limited production runs rather than mass-produced items. Statement accessories, especially from independent or niche brands, often align with this desire for exclusivity.
Cottagecore is a Gen Z fashion trend that’s recently soared on TikTok. It’s most popular among young women who romanticize farm life. Cottagecore fashion typically includes loose-fitting, flowy dresses and skirts often reminiscent of housework wear from the 1900s–50s. It’s also inspired by the English upper class from those times, as in the movies based on Jane Austen’s novels like Pride and Prejudice.
The clothing is usually layered and features big pockets, puffy sleeves, and button blouses. Common patterns in cottagecore fashion include stripes, paisley, faded floral, and gingham. Embroidered designs of plants, animals, and insects are also popular.
Add some hand-crafted accessories like simple jewelry and knitted hats, socks, and outerwear to your outfit to complete the look. Other common elements of cottagecore fashion include shortalls/overalls, lace, laced corsets, and bodices.
Dark Academia is a popular style inspired by Gothic 19th-century fashion with modern refinement. It combines a vintage feel with sophistication and high society. Think of Jo March in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women or Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in the fourth season of You.
The Dark Academia aesthetic exudes a sense of mystery, sophistication, and knowledge. You can achieve the style with soft knits, earthy tones, wire glasses or leather accessories, long coats, dress shoes, and tasteful knits.
You don’t need to be a scholar to pull off the look. But Dark Academia fashion fans are usually into literature, old movies, and fine arts, among other vintage passions.
Fashion is constantly evolving, and the younger generation introduces many new styles. Gen Z fashion trends reflect the generation’s values and beliefs, emphasizing the importance of individuality, sustainability, and self-expression.
From vintage and retro styles to oversized clothing and sustainable fabrics, the Gen Z fashion movement embraces uniqueness and celebrates diversity. Keeping up with Gen Z fashion trends is not only fashionable but also a way to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Which Gen Z fashion trend is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa
Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.