Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that it is Fashion Week in New York right now. Perhaps the most chaotic time of the year in the city, the air is filled with excitement, high energy, and a love of fashion. I took a stroll through the Lower East Side and ended up at a street-DJ event hosted by Zack Bia. A lowkey, intimate, relaxed gathering, all attendees showed up dressed to impress. Most of the people who showed up seemed to be between the ages of 18 and 25– the perfect spot for me to inquire about Gen Z’s fashion habits and thoughts on New York Fashion Week. 

Nearly every person I talked to seemed to have the most unique, authentic style. I asked a few different attendees how they would describe their personal style, and garnered answers such as, “Loud and obnoxious… but cute and functional”, “Comfort-first”, and “A reflection of my mood that day”. It’s clear that Gen Z very much expresses themselves through their fashion, and looks to dress ergonomically and practically, as well as make a statement about themselves through their clothing. 

When asked about their thoughts on NYFW, attendees had a lot to say. Some had nothing but positive things to say about the event, noting how fun the whole week was, from afterparties to fashion events. “The whole week is really fun. Everyone steps out fitted and is just excited to celebrate the art of fashion. I’m here for it,” one individual noted. 

Others pointed out some of the downsides to the week. “It’s fun for sure… but it all kind of feels like a big competition… what shows are you invited to? What afterparties are you going to? It’s all really exclusive so sometimes it bothers me,” an interesting take from another Gen Zer. 

My next question I went around asking was “Who are the Gen Z style icons?” Getting various answers ranging from “Bella Hadid”, “Billie Eilish”, and “Zendaya” to social media presences like Evita Nuh, Luka Sabbat, and Molly Blair, it became clear that our generation is drawing inspiration from a range of sources. “I get a lot of my fashion inspiration from social media, like TikTok and Instagram mostly,” one of the gals I talked to mentioned.

Trying to gauge more regarding what exactly matters to Gen Z when it comes to fashion, I asked those I was surrounded by to tell me what they look for in a clothing brand and what qualifies a brand as a place they would shop. The answer I received overwhelmingly was surrounding the importance of sustainability. Several individuals noted that their highest priority is making sure the clothes are sustainable and not fast fashion. “I try to stay away from fast fashion as much as I can… by thrifting or even making my own clothes, honestly. It’s just really important to me to do as much for the Earth as I can”. Pleased to hear about our generation’s enthusiasm for sustainable fashion, I packed up and left the event, with what I felt like was a bit firmer grasp on Gen Z’s thoughts on Fashion Week and fashion in general. 

This past week, I had the privilege of meeting up with a dear friend of mine, Ryan. About half a year ago, Ryan was in a ski accident that resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic wheelchair user. We caught up at her apartment, where she showed me her space, let me play with her new, insanely adorable puppy, and discussed various topics regarding accessibility. 

Previously a special needs teacher, Ryan’s perspective on accessibility shifted greatly when she, herself, became disabled. “Before my disability I really was non-confrontational, and this whole experience has turned me into someone who advocates for herself and other people as well as for what I want and need, because I should be valued just as much as other people in our society. I think a lot of people might find it obnoxious, but it’s just how I need to be.”

Ryan brought up the issue of isolation when it comes to ADA spaces. “Accessibility is making sure people can get to all places in a building or in a park, and they can join all of the other people instead of being separated”, Ryan explained to me. “For example, in arenas and sporting events, there is an ADA section, but what if you want to go down and be with all of your friends? You’re separated from everyone else and you can’t access parts of the space and be a part of the group.” 

We then discussed the topic of living spaces for disabled persons. Ryan explained the nuances of finding a home as a person in a wheelchair. “There’s a lot that goes into finding a living space that people don’t think about,” she noted. “[In a wheelchair] you’re just lower than everyone else, and people don’t think through where light switches are, or where thermostats are, or if you can get under the sink or if you can even reach the kitchen sink.”

When it comes to representation of disabled people in the media, Ryan expressed how she hopes to see more narratives surrounding disabled people’s lives, rather than how inspiring they might be. “The goal would be to tell a story that’s not all about one’s disability but rather just one’s life and experience,” she explains. 

See more of Jamie’s Photography @Jamiepixx & www.jamiepixx.com

⬆Last Week’s Ztat In last week’s Ztat, we wanted to learn more about how Gen Z thinks about travel. Here’s what we learned:Not so independent: Our respondents travel solo 6% of the time, compared to 86% who travel with a few close friends (45%) or family (41%). Nearly half of respondents reported discounted stays would keep them coming back, followed by free amenities like WiFi and Parking (37%). TLDR; free = loyalty.
  
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WTF is The Weekly Ztat?!  Every Friday we’ll send you a short survey (usually one to four questions) to get your thoughts on a current trend. From pop culture to politics and everything in between, we want to hear from YOU. Plus, in every Ztat newsletter, we’ll share the results from the previous survey question so you can see what community members thought. Insights may be featured on JUV socials, in trend reports, and even client work, so remember just how far your voice can go. 
⬆ Get That Bag! Shoutout to Xuanthe Nguyen for winning last week’s raffle prize. We appreciate you! Keep filling out our Weekly Ztat survey for a chance to win!