Gen Z’s Take on Style, Trends, and NYFW

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. 

Jamie Pearl

Jamie Pearl is a 23-year-old photographer and creative from Seattle, Washington. Having recently relocated to NYC, she has focused her efforts on photography, social media marketing, and other various creative pursuits. Jamie has shot imagery for Pinterest, Getty Images, Goldenvoice, and a plethora of musical artists, from Macklemore to Odezsa. Jamie is an avid runner, music and pop culture guru, and lover of anything bright and colorful!